Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. Greetings. I am a copyeditor of academic books. One reviewer of my work recently challenged a decision of mine to expand “NYU Press” as “New York University Press.” Is there any rule in CMOS that requires spelling out a university’s name when it is abbreviated in the publisher’s name? I have normally tended to expand publisher’s names when they are not that well known. I leave MIT Press alone.

A. Normally, the cited form of a book publisher’s name should match what appears on the title page. A brief survey of books published since the 1990s suggests that “New York University Press” is how that publisher presents its name on its title pages. Here’s how it appears at the bottom of the title page in a 2022 book by Lilie Chouliaraki and Myria Georgiou:

Publisher's imprint at the bottom of a title page: Logo, New York University Press, New York

That book would be cited in a bibliography as follows:

Chouliaraki, Lilie, and Myria Georgiou. The Digital Border: Migration, Technology, Power. New York: New York University Press, 2022.

And though “NYU Press” would be fine for mentions in the text—after all, that’s how that press brands itself at its website—it’s usually best in source citations to record a publisher’s name as it appears in the source itself. But you don’t always need to use every word. Books published by the MIT Press include an initial “The” in the publisher’s name, as at the bottom of the title page in Gender(s), a book from 2021 by Kathryn Bond Stockton:

Publisher's imprint at the bottom of a title page: The MIT Press | Cambridge, Massachusetts | London, England

Chicago would omit the The and style the citation as follows:

Stockton, Kathryn Bond. Gender(s). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2021.

In sum, follow the title page, within reason. And rather than automatically spelling out a publisher’s name if you find it abbreviated in a source citation, it’s usually best to check what the source itself has.