It seems bibliography styles override whatever case written on the "title" field except for those parts protected with braces.

What would be the best case to use for writing the "title" in the source bib-file?

Is it only an arbitrary choice? (because of overriding)

Simply to put, which one is preferable to use across, in writing the bib files:

title={This is my title {Protected} }


title={This is My Title {Protected}}


title={THIS IS MY TITLE {Protected}}


Please note that the query is about "consistency" & knowing a future-proof style for writing bib-files, as I find both styles of "title-case" and "sentence-case" being used in practice.

I am a researcher in Telecommunication Engineering, if that helps in any way related to specific styles.

( Note: Its not a duplicate of question: BibTeX loses capitals when creating .bbl file )

  • @Jon Thanks for the comment. My main query is to know whether should I write title={... Rules of Title Management} or title={... rules of title management} consistently across my bib files. We will anyway protect the parts which must appear in some specific case. Mar 3, 2015 at 3:15
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    My advice is to use "title case": it is much easier for a style to "lowercase" something if needed than to intelligently "uppercase" things when needed. If you start with {... rules of title management},, it is unlikely that you can easily get to {... Rules of Title Management}. And if you have a super-idiosyncratic title, then double-brace it: title = {{This iS my TItlE WHicH may not be changeD}},
    – jon
    Mar 3, 2015 at 3:46
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    @jon I agree with your advice about title case, but just wanted to point out that, the \titlecap macro of the titlecaps package can be used to create title case from a lower-case input (including exceptions on words like "of"). However, as one would have to tweak the BibTeX style to access that macro, it certainly is easier to enter the data directly in title case. Mar 3, 2015 at 5:41
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    @StevenB.Segletes -- Neat package! Had I known of it earlier, I would've modified my advice. (Off-topic: my understanding is that verbs should be capitalized, even 'small' ones like 'Is'.)
    – jon
    Mar 3, 2015 at 15:11
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    @Harish -- I still prefer using "Title Case", I think, but it is good to know that Steven's titlecaps package exists insofar as it can do the conversion intelligently. Mico's answer is worth considering, depending on the discipline you work in. In mine (humanities), it wouldn't work without a heavy reliance on Steven's package. In my opinion, (1) starting off in Title Case is the best baseline approach because lowercasing is the easiest to do; and (2), the bibliographical style should be left in charge as much as possible with lowercasing where needed.
    – jon
    Mar 3, 2015 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


the rules vary by publisher, but you want to enter the information so that it will survive whatever variations any publisher will apply.

some good general guidelines were laid out by Ellen Swanson in the guide "Mathematics Into Type". guidelines for bibliographic information are on pages 70 ff. (pages 81 ff. in the pdf file).

one difference from what is described in this manual, as practiced by mathematical reviews / mathscinet: for a book title, capitalize the first letter of all nouns, verbs, a word following a colon, and the last word in the title.

if a non-first word in a title must remain capitalized (e.g. a proper name), it must be enclosed in braces to survive automatic case-changing.

obviously, any acronym or other special abbreviation or logo should be brace-protected.

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