Additional manuscript guidelines for authors

Last updated 22 July 2020


Style and spelling

  • Use the Seventh Edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Style Guide 7th edition) as your primary style guide for your article.
  • You may also refer to this online APA Style Guide for quick assistance:
  • For spelling, use Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition or online edition.


  • Use the Oxford comma (comma in a series): a, b, and c
  • After a period at the end of a sentence, use only 1 space, not 2.
  • After a colon, use 1 space, not 2.
  • Whenever possible, don’t do not use contractions.
  • When appropriate, properly hyphenate adjective-and-noun compound terms. Note the difference between “problem solving” vs. “problem-solving skills”; “twentieth century” vs. “twentieth-century librarianship.”
  • For more hyphenation examples, see Table 4.1. Guide to Hyphenating Terms (p. 98) in APA Style Guide 6th edition.

Capitalization and word usage

  • Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth, the Keystone State, and PA are acceptable ways to refer to Pennsylvania.
  • In general, avoid PA in the first full reference; you may use it in subsequent references after first using Pennsylvania (PA).
  • Our journal is known as Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice (with an ampersand, not the word “and”). It is abbreviated as PaLRaP. PaLRaP is italicized.


  • Follow APA Style for proper in-text, parenthetical citations.
  • Check all citations carefully to make sure they adhere to proper style.
  • Check all citations carefully to make sure they are accurate. 
  • Note: If a manuscript does not use proper style for citations or the citations are inaccurate, the manuscript will be returned to the author for corrections.
  • Do not use “http://”  for hyperlinks in parenthetical citations in the body of the manuscript. For example, use “” or “” (minus quotation marks) for these parenthetical citations.

Reference list

  • Be sure to follow proper APA style for items in your reference list.
  • When available, include a DOI (digital object identifier) for items in your reference list.
    • For DOIs, there should be no space between “doi:” and the actual DOI. doi:10.1016./j.acalib.2010.06.002
    • There should be no period after the DOI either.
  • If no DOI is available,
    • For a website or web document/report, the URL should be cited.
    • For an electronic version of a print publication that is accessed in a database, no URL is needed. Just cite as if you were using the print version.
    • For an electronic-only journal (such as PaLRaP), most of the articles should use a DOI. If not, include the URL to the article.
  • Use “http://”  (minus the quotation marks) to indicate URLs in reference lists.
  • Use the phrase “Retrieved from” (minus the quotation marks) to list URLs in reference lists. Note that there is no period at the end of the URL.
  • See APA Style Guide 7th edition 9.35 “Format of DOIs and URLs” for more information on DOIs and URLs in reference lists.