I’m working on a 13-page bibliography for a biblical commentary that I am writing with a friend. Hours spent scrutinizing every entry, every comma, colon, period, and parenthesis; searching out missing publishers and page numbers; and remembering the hanging indent has taught me the following truths about myself.
Last name, first name, period. This is the way I grew up. Every adult was Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. LastName. And I followed this convention for all the years that I worked at a newspaper. Which often surprised the person I was addressing, as well as any of my colleagues within earshot. I think I imagined that the person I was speaking to was mildly flattered, even grateful, and would respond with courtesy. Today it’s FirstNames, often as OnlyNames. I kind of Ms. That Formality.
Title of work in italic, unless it’s part of a larger book. Then, it’s in Roman type, “enclosed in quotation marks,” followed by a period. Then comes a fragment in Roman and italic type: In Title of Larger Work. I’m thinking this is like my life -- “A Series of Smaller Lessons and Discoveries.” In What I’ve Learned in a Lifetime.
But, if the larger title was edited by someone else, which -- let’s face it -- most of our work is, the Title is followed by a comma, and then the phrase (in Roman type): edited by first and last name of editor(s). As in, What I’ve Learned in a Lifetime, edited by My Parents, My Teachers, My Mentors, My Family, et al. Et al., is an abbreviation used for multiple editors. Then the Title-edited-by phrase ends with a period.
City of Publication: Publisher, year. After wading through the first part of an entry, especially when it includes multiple languages, both ancient and modern, this is like a reward. Every detail is pretty easy to track down if the writer hasn’t included it in a footnote. I have, on occasion, been guilty. Thank heaven for Google. My publication information: Tiny Idaho Town: Haughts, 1954.
And finally, the hanging indent. The first line of an entry starts flush left and runs across the page. Subsequent lines of an entry are supposed to be indented, like this one.
I have no idea how I just did that.
Hanging indents are a ridiculous, multi-step process on this friggin’ computer program, which has threatened my last shreds of patience and concentration for the past four days so that I finally had to take a break or brake. There now. That is all.