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.
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