DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly

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DHQ Style Guidelines

>> Print Guidelines

All formatting and presentational details will be governed by the DHQ publication stylesheets and are not typically under the control of the author. The formatting of non-XML submissions should be internally consistent, to allow for ease of encoding. However, if your submission contains idiosyncratic formatting which is textually significant, please indicate this in your submission, and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

If you would like to prepare your submission in XML using the DHQ schema (a TEI customization), please use the DHQ author template. The DHQ schema, encoding documentation, and ODD file are also available.

Notes and References

Notes should be used only for comments, not for simple bibliographic citations. Notes should be numbered consecutively throughout the text, and their anchor point in the text should be clearly identifiable. If you are not submitting in DHQauthor format (or another DHQ ML format in consultation with us), all notes should be gathered together at the end of the article. (If you are submitting in DHQauthor format, you may encode notes inline, and they will be extracted by a stylesheet.)

Bibliographic references should be made inline and the works cited should be listed in a section at the end of the article headed "References". The list should be in alphabetical order by reference label (the citation string). Where an author has more than one publication, they should be arranged in chronological order, and if there is more than one publication within a year, they should be alphabetically ordered by title and labelled a, b, etc. (e.g. 1989a, 1989b). Note that reference labels may contain spaces (e.g. [Sperberg-McQueen 1995]). Single-author works precede co-authored works. Please follow the examples given below for bibliographic layout.

If you are submitting in DHQauthor format, full bibliographic references may be encoded in line (where they are cited). These will be extracted by a stylesheet and collected into a References section automatically.

Heading styles

DHQ draws on a broad range of humanities and social science disciplines, and recognizes that stylistic practices vary widely. While we do not seek to homogenize these practices, we do offer some guidance here to ensure legibility across the journal and across readership communities:

  • Headings should be used for major sections of the article, to signal the important segments and turning points in the argument. They should not be used to outline every minute point in the article. Heading levels beyond two or at most three layers are not necessary except in very long articles. Headings that govern a single paragraph are unnecessary and should be avoided.
  • Headings should provide useful guidance to the reader concerning the subject of the section they govern. They should not be purely numeric. DHQ also strongly advises authors to avoid numbering/lettering headings (e.g. "3. Methodology" or "D. Further Issues") unless the inclusion of numbers will materially assist readers in following the argument.
  • For consistency, DHQ may normalize the numbering/lettering and capitalization of headings as part of the copyediting process.

If you use multiple heading levels in your article, please ensure that the different heading levels are absolutely clear and consistent in their formatting. Ideally, please use an actual heading style (e.g. using MS Word styles) rather than simply selecting the text and applying a bold/underline/italic font. Formal heading styles substantially increase the accuracy and efficiency of our encoding process.


DHQ permits the use of regional spelling variants (such as US vs. Commonwealth English spelling). Please use the system which you are most accustomed to using, but be consistent.


DHQ will accept figures in any of the the following web-ready formats: PNG, JPG, GIF, and SVG. Image files can be embedded in the submission file for the peer review process, but for final submission of accepted articles, high-quality versions of all image files should be uploaded separately to OJS. All image files should be named consistently based on their order of appearance: figure01.jpg, figure02.jpg, etc. To ensure accurate placement of images, include a reference to the filename of the graphic in the text where the graphic should be included.

All figures will receive an automatically generated heading ("Figure 1", "Figure 2", etc.). You may also include a more specific label or descriptive caption, which will follow this initial label. Descriptive captions may be the length of a short paragraph, but should not include complex internal structures. This label/caption should not be included in the image file, but should be part of the article text.

All figures must also be accompanied by a description suitable to serve as the alternative text for accessibility purposes. This text will become the content of the "alt" attribute for the image in the DHQ web publication, to support accessibility tools and assistive technologies. The figure description is not the same as the caption, and to provide good accessibility support the description should follow these guidelines:

  • The figure description should be short: from a short phrase to a sentence in length in most cases
  • The description should convey the image’s meaning or purpose in the context of an article. It is not an exhaustive description of the image, but rather a description that enables the reader to understand the rhetorical or evidentiary function the image was performing.
  • Avoid lengthy descriptions of the visual qualities or materiality of the image, such as color or medium, unless they are key to the function of the image within the article and are not mentioned in either the caption or the accompanying article text.
  • Avoid the use of words like “image” or “graphic” in the description, as most screen readers already say when there is an image.
  • Do not reuse the text from the image caption, as the repetition is not necessary for visual or audio access to the article.
  • For graphs, focus on the meaning or outcomes of the data, rather than what the chart looks like. Consider the following template by Amy Cesal as a beginning point: “[chart type] of [type of data] where [ reason for including chart]”. You may need to deviate from this form to avoid redundancy or provide the most appropriate description for the context.

Depending on how an image is being used, it may require a different description in different contexts. Here are some examples:

An image of a cat, serving as a sample image
  • A possible general description: A cat with a blanket.
  • For a study on the behavior of a particular cat: Esther kneading a soft surface in the evening.
  • For a treatise on cat breeds: A mature Nebelung cat.
  • For an article about personal photography and consumer electronics: A photograph taken in low light on an iPhone 12.

Mathematical Expressions and Formulas

DHQ represents mathematical expressions and formulas using TeX or MathML. Simple mathematical expressions and formulas can usually be converted automatically as part of our initial conversion routine using OxGarage. More complex formulas may cause problems for conversion. For the initial submission, it is fine to include formulas directly in the article. If the article is accepted, we will ask you to submit a finalized version in which the formulas are indicated in the text with a label (e.g. "formula 1"), and with the actual formulas submitted in TeX or valid MathML in a separate document, so that they can be inserted into the XML at the appropriate places.


Examples may include code samples or other text that is treated as an example (rather than as a quotation). Like tables and figures, they may have labels and descriptive captions.


Initials should be followed by a full point and a space, e.g. E. M. Forster, W. H. Auden.

& should be written out as 'and'.

Use a % sign for 5%, 25%, etc.

No apostrophe in 1920s, 1950s, etc.

Decimal point should be on the line: 5.2, 3.9, etc.

Common abbreviations such as et al., viz., and similar should not be italicized.

Numbers below 100 and vaguely expressed numbers should be spelled out.

Precise numbers, units of measurement, and numbers above 100 should be in figures.

Abbreviations should be spelled out the first time they are used.


Cross-references in the text should be represented as follows, using capitalized names written in full:

  • see Section 2.5
  • see Appendix 1
  • see Figure 1

Do not abbreviate "sec." for Section, "fig." for Figure etc.

Note: if you encode your paper using DHQ ML, such cross-references (with their formatting and numbering) can be auto-generated from tagging, just as we will do it (saving all of us work).

We will support cross-referencing to the following: sections (div elements), figures, examples (which may have labels and captions) including code examples, tables, bibliographic listings, inset texts (xtext) and appendices. Cross-references will be normalized, but may reference by title or label as well as by number. Numbering will be auto-generated from implicit links in the document source, so try to get your cross-references right (because errors here may survive document conversion).