Capitalisation of English language book titles

I have been changing book titles listed in all capitals to title case, however as there doesn’t seem to be any guidance on this subject, a user could rightly dispute my edit.

I prefer title case which broadly means the first letter of each word is capitalised except for short prepositions, articles, and short coordinating conjunctions. For example: Little House on the Prairie, A House for Mr. Biswas, etc.

It might sound confusing but there are online conversion tools available (just be aware they are not always accurate). One of my favourites is

These rules do not apply to other languages which might have their own set of conventions.


Yep. I think we should largely stick with the MusicBrainz style guidelines for consistency across the *Brainz:


Thanks. I have just read the Guidelines in respect of English and they conform to title case rules.

I wasn’t sure if MusicBrainz had adopted Discogs’ Silly Standard Capitalization Rule.

This is one of the rare cases where we do have guidelines written for this subject:

There really isn’t much at all over there (yet!) but the English capitalization page should be pretty complete.


Better still! I always like guidelines that agree with my way of thinking.

For anyone like me that wondered where the style documentation for BB can be found it is on the Help page.

Admittedly, it could be more prominent, but I figured I might wait until there is a bit more content on it before really pushing it.
Ultimately, we’ll probably want to add link to various parts of the guide right in the help text for the entities edit pages.

By the way, if anyone feels like helping with the guidelines, you’re very welcome to do so !
The docs are on Github and open to public contributions. The Github website itself is pretty easy to use and has a decent text editor, but if you’re not feeling comfortable with editing on Github I can certainly format the text for whomever.

I think it is in the right place, I just didn’t search hard enough!

There is related matter that is not mentioned in the BB style documentation and that is the use of a standard separator for subtitles when it is not stated.

Standard library practice is to use a colon, e.g.

Zuleika Dobson: Or, An Oxford Love Story
Dark Emu: Aboriginal Australia and the Birth of Agriculture

Note: there is no space between the last letter and the colon.


I support this too, plus it’s in agreement with the already quite well established MB guidelines. The more common practices we have the easier it is. I reckon we will see quite some relationships added between the different *Brainz eventually.


I saw you were typing a reply and I remembered the MB guidelines link that you provided. So I had a look and the topic of using a colon for subtitles is explained in detail. That information could be modified to suit BB without too much effort.

When I remember correctly, Mr. Monkey mentioned that a separate field for the subtitles is planned.
And since articles of magazines tend to have quite long subtitles I think this is unavoidable.

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If that is correct, then it raises the question just how will the subtitle and separator be displayed. Because there are different forms: explicit and assumed.

I came across this Work yesterday: ALENE - Forsvinningen. When I looked at the image of the book according to the ISBN data, I found it is written as Alene - Forsvinningen as per

I made the title change, only to find the OS @ApeKattQuest_MonkeyPython has reverted the edit commenting: “now this is not an edition, but a work. In the copyright page of the edition however, it is written as such. once we get cover ars up and running, I will upload the scan of those pages”

According to the MB Norwegian style guidelines Main rule: “Only the first word and proper names (Edvard Grieg, Bergen, Norway etc.) should be capitalized.”

My question: is stylised capitalisation permitted on BB?

At the risk of mixing cats and curiosity which can have a lethal outcome, there seems to be two users with the same name: and

Are these two the same person?

Yes, it’s the same awesome cat who knows about all the instruments and has been around in the MB universe since like forever :smiley: I think the @ApeKattQuest_MonkeyPython alias is no longer in use, but @ApeKattQuest_MonkeyPython can for sure say better.


Looks like the Cat takes the old alias out for a spin every now and then, because that was the username that reverted my edit. I might be able to resurrect AgathaCrustie and use it for special occasions.

No, actually I am CatCat on MusicBrainz, CatQuest, the Endeavouring Cat! on BookBrainz, and “CatQuest” here
The origin on all my names is a convoluted story I won’t bore you with here 😹
But initially I split my community to another user because I needed to have different gmails for them - because of the way gmail showed the links I had to have a split on the "show individual/show conversation (which is an option which is accountwide, go fig :roll_eyes:) to make it work sanely.

Fast forward to now and I am using fastmail, and different aliases that eventually go to the same account, but now I’m stuck with this configuration, and I already made too much work for the com-devs and whatnot to ask to have it reversed again 😳


OK, I was slightly confused when I referenced your username as I knew it was CatQuest then all of a sudden it was CatCat. I wasn’t sure if I was dealing with the same person.

My question still remains unanswered: is stylised capitalisation permitted on BB?

Is this rule just there for window dressing?

På norsk

Første bokstav og egennavn skrives med stor bokstav. Men: I egennavn som består av flere ledd skrives normalt bare den første bokstaven stort. Se [1] (nederst).

In English

Main rule: Only the first word and proper names (Edvard Grieg, Bergen, Norway etc.) should be capitalized.

Well yes, that is true. but artist intent outweighs all.
artist (or in the case of bb; Author ;)) intent isn’t always easy to figure out,
But intentional caps in a title, where not the entire title is capitalised can be a good indicator. I’ve noticed that in both the Norwegian *and* French titles “ALENE” and “SEULS” are capitalised. I don’t know 100% that’s intentional for the work or not, for now I am adding these from books borrowed at the library - the two latest, 6 & 7 both have the words ALENE and SEULS capitalised on the copyright page, but only these words, the rest of the title isn’t, and that smells of intent to me.

In any case it doesn’t harm to have it capitalised for now. We can always rename these later.