Headlines and Titles of Works

Q. Dear CMOS: In chapter 8, you indicate that I need to capitalize regions in the United States such as the Northwest, East Coast, etc. What do I do when attempting to indicate specific regions in a particular county of a state? Do I write the North Central region of Contra Costa County, or do I lowercase north central, etc.? I believe that it should be the latter form, but I am not sure. Can you shed some light on this problem? P.S. I think you are gods! (If that will help get a quick response!! Thanks for your help :-)

Q. Dear CMOS, As a religious writer I am struggling with a recent (apparent) change. With the advent of computer spell-checkers, the term “biblical” when referring to the Holy Scriptures is no longer capitalized. Turabian seems to indicate that proper adjectives should be capitalized, whereas even older editions of the Oxford American Unabridged Dictionary (for instance) do not. It would seem to me, since the term “bible” when not capitalized can refer to a number of authoritative books in various fields, that the reference to the Holy Bible as a proper noun should be capitalized in its adjectival form. What say you? Thank you.

Q. My organization holds a lot of events, and we refer to them often on our website and in our member newsletter. Some are large programs (Last Remaining Seats film series); others are one-time events (Haunted Scavenger Hunt). In trying to determine how to format event titles, the closest comparison I found in CMOS was titles of exhibitions, which should be italicized (our events are more like museum exhibitions than world’s fairs). Would you agree that we should italicize all events, regardless of their size or duration?

Q. Can you please confirm the correct spelling of “TIME magazine”? CMOS 8.171 has Time magazine. However, TIME customer service tells me that TIME Magazine is correct. I think “magazine” should be lowercased, since it does not appear anywhere on the cover, and I do not think it is part of the official name of the magazine, even though they capitalize it on their website. What do you think?

Q. I am copyediting a website that includes testimonials from authors of various books. If this were a print publication, there would be no question that the book titles would be italicized. However, since it is a website, are the rules different? The Yahoo! Style Guide, which deals specifically with digital content, recommends enclosing book titles in double quotation marks. Several other style guides I have come across recommend using italics. I am the person expected to create the style guide for the organization. What do you say?

Q. Lately, more and more titles are styled in lowercase—the Broadway show bare , for example, and Ann Hamilton’s 2001 installation the picture is still. When this sort of title appears in a headline or at the beginning of a sentence, would you allow authors to retain the lowercase styling? It sure looks weird, but people do love their high-maintenance names. (Yes, Ke$ha, I am talking about you.)

Q. Should the word “nature” be capitalized in this sentence? “My research goal is to advance a global energy solution copied from Nature itself: artificial photosynthesis.”

Q. According to CMOS, the honorific title First Lady should be capitalized in all instances. Does that mean that the phrase “the president and First Lady” is correctly capitalized?

Q. I’m helping a French writer edit a book he has written in English. I’ve been following the convention of writing French words and phrases in italics and also using italics for movie titles, book titles, etc. Now I come upon a French song title, and I can’t figure out what to do with it. Here is the phrase: He called it “La non-demande en mariage.” Do I keep the quotation marks? Do I italicize the French song title? Both?

Q. I see in CMOS that civil titles, such as “secretary of state,” should be lowercase unless appearing as, for example, “Secretary of State Smith.” What about titles such as “assistant secretary of state for bureaucracy and obfuscation”? Should “bureaucracy and obfuscation” be lowercase to match “assistant secretary of state” or should it be capitalized as the name of a specific department?