APA 6 document titles should be italicized, but are not

I'm using Zotero 2.0.3 on a Mac OS 10.5.8 and NeoOffice 3.1.1 Patch 1 with Zotero OpenOffice Integration 3.0a8. And I love everything about how seamlessly Neo pulls in citations and bibliographies. I have found one format problem I cannot fix. I'm using APA 6th style format.

The APA 6 manual calls for titles of documents to be in italics, but Zotero is pushing them in plain.

Is there some deep setting I can toggle, or is this beyond the user level and in the realm of the developer gods?

  • edited August 5, 2010
    No gods, but it's a little more complex than toggling a setting. The style is here. This is the template that determines title formatting:

    <macro name="title">
    <if type="report thesis" match="any">
    <text variable="title" font-style="italic"/>
    <group prefix=" (" suffix=")">
    <text variable="genre"/>
    <text variable="number" prefix=" No. "/>
    <else-if type="book speech manuscript" match="any">
    <text variable="title" font-style="italic"/>
    <text variable="title"/>

    So in English, it's saying if you have a report or thesis, italicize and put some descriptor in parentheses after it, if you have a book, manuscript, or speech, just italicize. Everything else, just print as is.

    This isn't the best macro rules, so feel to offer suggested changes (and make sure you're positive about the APA rules before making the suggestion; would be good to include a page number to it for reference).
  • edited August 5, 2010
    Thanks for the quick reply. Looking the link, I got a knot in my stomach. Code makes me queasy.

    I will get the chapter and verse from the APA 6 manual, the second printing has many of the corrections now becoming infamous.

    Should I offer suggested changes via this forum, or is there somewhere more appropriate?
  • here is fine
  • Thanks,

    The APA 6 format for "Non-peridocal title: Books and reports" also works for many documents that are not books or reports. For example,

    Joint Committee on Standards for Education Evaluation (JCSEE). (2008). The program evaluation standards. Retrieved from http://www.jcsee.org/program-evaluation-standards

    This is not really a report, but a document listing the program evaluation standards written by the Joint Committee....

    To see what happened, I changed the item type for this entry in my library from Document to Report and the refreshed reference list entry was perfectly italicized.

    Maybe the problem is really with how I select item types. Now that I know "report" makes the title in italics, I'm more likely to use it more wisely.

    As far as the macro, might it work to change the line

    <if type="report thesis" match="any">
    to read
    <if type="report thesis document" match="any">

    Anyway here are the particulars from p. 185 of the APA guide (section 6.29 Title)

    Nonperiodical title: Books and reports.

    • Capitalize only the first word of the title and of the subtitle, if any, and any proper nouns; italicize the title.
    • Enclose additional information given on the publication for its identification and retrieval (e.g., edition, report number, volume number) in parentheses immediately after the title. Do not use a period between the title and the parenthetical information; do not italicize the parenthetical information.

    Development of entry-level tests to select FBI special agents (Publication No. FR-PRD-
    94-06). [Note: I can't get this forum editor to italicize the title in this example]

    • If a volume is part of a larger, separately titled series or collection, treat the series and volume titles as a two-part title (see Chapter 7, Example 24).
    • Finish the element with a period.
  • edited August 5, 2010
    yeah - I think the style does this correctly - to me what you're citing above is a report and APA calls it a report explicitly.
    As far as the macro, might it work to change the line

    <if type="report thesis" match="any">
    to read
    <if type="report thesis document" match="any">

    this doesn't work, because document is the generic fallback category and can't actually be tested for.
    That's another reason that one should use "document" very sparingly as an item type.
  • Shouldn't we change the macro to first say that any items with X characteristics gets italicized, then add a rule that deals with descriptor detail for books and reports? In other words, all titles in APA either get italicized, or they don't. How do we most efficiently describe which is which? Do we really need types, or could we use variable logic instead (like every that has a "container-title" does not get italicized)?
  • Thanks. Just learning that "document" is the generic fallback made this thread worth it for me. It's all about adjusting the neurons.

  • Don't get too used to the fallback though; that behavior is going away soon.
  • Bruce - good thought. I think it almost works but not quite and it's kind of a judgement call what to do about it.

    A couple of examples to illustrate:
    Dean, J. (2008, May 7). When the self emerges: Is that me in the mirror? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.spring.org.uk/

    has no container title and no italics - that's for "online communities" which include blogs, newsgroups, message boards.

    On the other hand:
    Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of document. Retrieved from http://Web address

    is for pretty much any regular webpage, so here the current APA would get things wrong unless it's saved as a report.

    I'm not sure what works best - I'm somewhat inclined to prefer your version, because it's more elegant and I can think of more likely cases that it gets right (plus I think the rules for no-italics (which btw. also include computer-software) are stupid. On the other hand I think changing a very popular style requires a strong rationale, because people are going to be unhappy when they adjusted to it working one way and then it "switches" on them.
  • Hello Adamsmith:

    I've recently upgraded to Firefox 4 and Zotero 2.1.1

    My references in APA v6 format no longer show with titles in italics (journal names, book names, etc.)

    After my software updating, I began working on an existing document and when inserting new references, it gave a warning that I had to update the document. However, the insertion was still giving errors. I determined it had something to do with the custom APA v6 format that I've been using for a year or so. I switched over to the Zotero-provided APA v6 format, and there are no italics to be found in my new references page.

    Any insight? Has this already been brought up? (I didn't find it in a search of the forum.)
  • Can't confirm this, but for what it's worth, try the updated apa style here:
  • Thanks for the response. I double checked this installation.

    In a new document, the references print correctly. But in my existing document, the italics don't appear.

    It seems to be a problem with the upgrade of the document, not with the style csl file.

    Any suggestions on how to repair a document in light of the 2.0 upgrade?
  • start a new thread - that's an entirely different issue and you want to attract the right expertise (=not me)
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