Titles Ending with a Question Mark

If an title that belongs in quotation marks ends with a question mark, it should not—at least in many styles—get a period or comma in a footnote or bibliography.

However, Zotero produces this:

Baltzer, Klaus. “Jes 40:13–14—ein Schlüssel zur Einheit Deutero-Jesajas?.” Biblische Notizen 37 (1987): 7–10.

and it should be this:

Baltzer, Klaus. “Jes 40:13–14—ein Schlüssel zur Einheit Deutero-Jesajas?” Biblische Notizen 37 (1987): 7–10.

Is this a known bug? I searched the forums in vain for it. It's a problem both in CMOS and SBL. It may be a problem in others as well, but I haven't checked.
  • edited March 16, 2009
    This seems to happen whenever the title is enclosed in quotation marks (i.e. in MLA and CMOS but not APA). This needs to be fixed in Zotero globally.
  • edited March 13, 2009
    Yes. Good call. It happens only for titles that get quotation marks, not for those that are italicized. (I edited my original post to reflect this.)
  • When will this problem be addressed? Should we file a bug report for this?
  • this will be addressed with the new CSL processor - scheduled to be included in Zotero 2.1 - will still take some time as first the final release of 2.0 will be rolled out.
  • Thanks, Adam!

    Is there a way to fix this issue locally in the mean time? I have a project deadline coming up soon and if possible I would like to ensure the correct citation.

    Thanks again,
  • edited January 8, 2010
    Why not just fix it immediately before submitting?
    Simply do a search and replace for ?. to ? and you're done. maybe you'll need to remove Zotero field codes before (remember to save a zotero and a non-zotero version in that case.)
  • I know this was like four years ago, but I'm still encountering the same problem!
  • do you have an example? Which citation style?
  • With SBL, here's one I'm seeing:

    T. C. Skeat, “The Oldest Manuscript of the Four Gospels?,” New Testament Studies 43, no. 1 (1997): 1–34.
  • I'd have to check, but I don't think we're suppressing commas against question marks and exclamation points. I see that the first poster in this thread mentioned both periods and commas as proper targets. Would that be correct, everywhere (regardless of whether quotes are involved)? Or should commas be suppressed only if they fall inside quotes, as in the example?
  • For what its worth, now and then PubMed has journal articles with semi-colons or colons following a question mark to indicate a subtitle. This is likely in the metadata provided by the publisher. (it is in the metadata the publisher provides for export to individuals.) The printed article title doesn't include these marks.
  • edited May 7, 2014
    The processor won't touch commas inside the title field. I'm mainly just curious about whether conventions vary in for the case where a title ends in a ?, and the style would ordinarily set of the title with a trailing comma. It seems to me that without a comma in that case, it might be easy to mistake what comes after ? as a subtitle. But I don't know how copy editors handle these.
  • edited May 7, 2014
    From http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/about16_rules.html:
    The title of a work that ends in a question mark or exclamation point should now be followed by a comma if the grammar of the sentence would normally call for one or, in source citations or in an index, if a comma would normally follow the title. 6.119, 8.164, 14.105, 14.178, 16.54.
    so the current behavior is correct for CMoS 16th ed., though likely not for other styles, many of which are still loosely based on the 15th ed. So unfortunately no easy fix. We may have to add a cs:style attribute for this.
  • edited May 7, 2014
    If there isn't a hard and fast, well-argued divide between editors over it, I would favor just keeping the current behaviour, since there is a risk of information loss (or at least communication loss) if the comma is removed.

    Even if we make that choice, though, the SBL example is still an issue. Since the quotes show where the title ends, the comma really is superfluous there. Shall I look into removing it? That is, to do something like this:
    Remove a comma after a question mark or exclamation point only when the comma is immediately followed by a quotation mark.
  • no, please don't remove it. My general rule for CSL questions is "when in doubt follow the Chicago Manual".
    Said manual is unambiguous about this, e.g. from 14.178:
    Batson, “How Social Is the Animal?,” 337.
    So I'd say either we keep thing as they are or we add an option, but I'd be opposed to making any change that makes CSL produce wrong CMoS citations.
  • Great -- thanks for checking at source, and it's good to hear that doing nothing is the better solution.

    (Would have checked at this end, but my CMoS subscription expired at the end of last month, and I haven't gotten around to renewing.)
  • I just assumed it was an oversight, but now I see the CMS has flip-flopped and now favors the extra comma, so it's not at all clear that anything should be changed. Thanks for looking into it, everyone.
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