Title capitalization issue in APA

I just discovered the feature in Zotero that can transfer title case to sentence case. I really believe the develop could make it much better. The current transformation won't recognize the first letter in the first word of the subtitle, which is also supposed to be capitalized in APA. Since it is the one right after ":" , I believe the develop can simply add some code to let the transformation recognize it (since the title will only have one ":" ). In addition, the transformation won't recognize some common words that should always be capitalized, such as a country's name. I wish the develop can build up a lexicon or something to recognize them as well. The current transformation tool just simply keeps the first letter capitalized and makes the rest of letter lower-case. I love Zotero and it's pretty much perfect. I just hope the developer can make some progress on this issue, which is the only problem I have with it now.
  • edited February 22, 2017
    Not all styles require the first letter after the colon to be capitalized, so you should store the items with the word in lowercase and then install the Propachi Uppercase plugin (http://juris-m.github.io), which will capitalize the first letter of the subtitle. This will be the most flexible setup (and the least work because you won't have to manually change all of the subtitles to uppercase). A future update to the CSL language that controls reference formatting will add APA-style subtitle capitalization without the plugin.

    A dictionary of always-capitalized words might be nice.
  • @bwiernik Thank you so much for the instructions. The thing is that I'm a Chrome user and is there any alternative for Chrome?
  • the plugin works in Zotero Standalone as well.
  • @adamsmith thank you for the clarification. I just installed it in Zotero Standalone (Windows), but it doesn't seem working. Is there any more detailed instruction you could offer? Thanks in advance.
  • The plugin determines what is the title and subtitle using the Zotero Title and Short Title fields. To get the subtitle to uppercase, enter the data for the item like this:

    This is the title: this is the subtitle

    Short Title
    This is the title

    When the part of Title before the colon matches the Short Title field, the processor recognizes the subtitle and will capitalize it appropriately.
  • Hi, @bwiernik. I just double-checked and actually the part of Title before the colon does match the Short Title field. But when I right-click the Title field and transfer the text to sentence case and the first letter in the subtitle still won't be capitalized. Is there another explanation for that?
  • The capitalization happens when you generate a citation, ether in the word processor or by generating a bibliography in Zotero, not in the data stored in Zotero. It appears to be working correctly and as expected for you.
  • Hi, @bwiernik. I just tried multi sources I stored in Zotero with a subtitle and generated a bibliography and none of them was capitalized. I tried both in word and Zotero per se. Is there any any change in settings I have to make?
  • What versions of Zotero and Propachi Upper are you using? Can you export a single item as CSL JSON or BibTeX and paste it here?
  • Hi, @bwiernik. Here's the information.

    Propachi: monkey-patch for Zotero CSL processor (Uppercase subtitles version): 1.1.74

    "id": "http://zotero.org/users/3777474/items/KD5U6T65",
    "type": "article-journal",
    "title": "Engendering Racial Perceptions: An Intersectional Analysis of How Social Status Shapes Race",
    "container-title": "Gender & Society",
    "page": "319-344",
    "volume": "27",
    "issue": "3",
    "source": "CrossRef",
    "URL": "http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0891243213480262",
    "DOI": "10.1177/0891243213480262",
    "ISSN": "0891-2432, 1552-3977",
    "shortTitle": "Engendering Racial Perceptions",
    "language": "en",
    "author": [
    "family": "Penner",
    "given": "Andrew M."
    "family": "Saperstein",
    "given": "Aliya"
    "issued": {
    "date-parts": [
    "accessed": {
    "date-parts": [
  • You need to store the titles in sentence case. Zotero assumes that if you store a word capitalized, you want it to always be capitalized (e.g., proper nouns).

    Store as:

    Engendering racial perceptions: an intersectional analysis of how social status shapes race

    Short Title
    Engendering racial perceptions
  • @bwiernik Thank you so much buddy. It finally works!
    I just found another small issue that the bibliography I created no longer hanging indentation once I copy it to word. I can simply adjust it in word but I just wonder if there's any settings I can change to automatically have a hanging indentation at the same time having a capitalized subtitle? lol
  • Word doesn't handle the clipboad in a way that works well for hanging indentations, so that doesn't work correctly when copying from Zotero.
  • @adamsmith word actually offers three different kinds of copying format and you can actually copy the text and keep your source format at the same time. The reason I'm asking is because the hanging indentation disappears after I installed Propachi. but not a big deal and i'm just curious.
  • I'm stuck with a similar issue. I feel like I'm close but something is missing- I've tried all the suggestions and here's where I am. Here is my title: Understanding the science experiences of successful women of color: science identity as an analytic lens. It's stored as sentence case, and in Short Title I have the following text: Understanding the science experiences of successful women of color. I installed the Propachi add-in, version 1.1.76. Zotero is the standalone version

    I'm exporting my library as a biblatex file and then compiling it using APA 6 formatting in Texmaker. science is lowercase no matter what I do within Zotero. If I edit the .bib file directly to put science in braces it works fine, but that gets over-written every time I export the library again. It feels like there should be an easier fix. Am I missing something about the export process?

    I'd appreciate any suggestions people might have.
  • Remember that Zotero is not, primarily, a bibtex frontend, so you shouldn't assume that anything citation-related that doesn't mention bibtex explicitly has any application for you. In this case, the propachi add-on is entirely irrelevant for you.

    I'd start by installing better bibtex https://github.com/retorquere/zotero-better-bibtex/wiki
    which has done more careful work on getting casing right. But you may also just hit a limit of what Zotero can do, since I assume BibLaTex relies on the subtitle field for proper casing in APA, but Zotero simply doesn't have such a field.
    I'd just cave and capitalize the S of science.
  • @adamsmith Thanks a ton, much appreciated!
  • For anyone who is interested, this is what worked for me (courtesy of @adamsmith).
    -better bibtex
    -Use sentence case for the title, but capitalize the first letter after the colon
    -leave the short title field blank
    Good luck!
  • @adamsmith Zotero seems to have no problem to decide the short title automatically. what I do for APA now is:

    1. install the add-on of Propachi first
    2. I transfer both title and short title filed into sentence case for each item
    3. I insert the bibliography in Word (instead of generating one in Zotero then copy and paste it to Word)
    4. Word has a grammar checker. If a word that should always be capitalized is not capitalized, it will underline it. Just simply right-click it and replace it with the right form provided by Word.

    That's it. BTW. thanks for being so help!
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