Headlines and Titles of Works

Q. Some years ago my advisor in college drummed into my head that the titles of tables appear above the table, and titles of figures should go below the figure. Can you verify this? Thanks.

A. Partly. Chicago style puts the table title at the top (please see chapter 3) because often tables have other matter that appears below (sources, notes). Often, too, qualifying information essential for interpreting the table (measures, dates, etc.) appears in the title, so it makes sense to put it at the top where the reader will see it first. A figure caption can go above, below, or on the side of the figure. Its placement is usually a design decision, not an editorial one.