Title Subtitle separation

I've noticed an issue with how publishers separate a journal article's title from its subtitle. Sometimes, on the printed page, this is handled with the point size of the characters and/or a new line and without punctuation. Sometimes punctuation is used without a new line. The publisher may present a different separator (or no separator) in its metadata. Sometimes the publisher omits the subtitle from its metedata.

Although I haven't been able to find a specific rule, it is clear that Medline editors add punctuation (:) to separate title from subtitle when the publisher doesn't. Web of Science seems to sometimes actually change a publisher's punction from ":" to m-dash (or from a dash to a colon).

Zotero uses a mechanism to automatically parse a short title from a full title. I'm puzzled about how that is accomplished.

Further, I wonder if different style guides provide rules about how to separate title from subtitle when the actual printed (or Pdf-ed) article does this without a punctuation mark.
  • Zotero parses short titles up to the first colon.
    Colons are also the standard in all English styleguides (UK and US) as delimiters between title and subtitle.
    In cataloging (not sure following which standard, but it is one) the title-subtitle delimiter is actually space-colon-space.
    In other languages, there may be other delimiters. I believe in German, e.g., you often see periods between title and subtitle.

    Ideally Zotero would have separate fields, but we've never come up with a proposal that's robust and versatile enough to convince everyone.
  • Thanks for all your great work!

    For a German scientific research project publishing in German and English we are in the process of setting up a database, considering Zotero for this. However, there are a few issues that might prevent us to do so, one of them being the punctuation between titles and subtitles.

    It has been discussed above and in other threads before (e.g., https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/8077/separate-fields-for-title-and-subtitle, https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/59217/punctuation-between-title-and-subtitle, https://forums.zotero.org/discussion/66299/title-subtitle-separation) and I just want to confirm that there is no solution yet, right?

    As you can guess, the main concern is that we do not want to end up manually changing the delimiter, i.e., colon between title and subtitle (when publishing in English) to periods (when publishing in German). Any hope for an elegant solution in the near future? Thanks!
  • edited July 20, 2020
    CSL 1.1, planned for release in the next few months, will support normalizing punctuation like this when generating citations. So, support is on the horizon, but it may take some time until CSL 1.1 support is added to Zotero/its citation processor.
  • Is this possible yet? This is definitely an issue in German speaking countries. I'm currently implementing the citation style of an Austrian Journal and they specifically require a dot between title and subtitle. (https://sprache.univie.ac.at/richtlinien.html)
  • It’s in CSL 1.1 which will be out this year
  • I'm also interested in this feature, for other reasons (exports to CSV files).

    My 2 cents: as in German, French customarily separates titles & subtitles with a period mark (.). This is not however always the case, as more and more publishers are using colons (:).

    Personally, I prefer using period marks : colons are sometimes inserted into the main title (an imaginary title would go like that: "BANKS: the big scandal. An investigation into finance." or "1789: la Révolution française. Un événement qui bouleversa l'histoire.")
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