Style Guide

Purpose of this Guide

This style guide is intended to (a) to ensure a unified voice and style for all Lead Pipe articles; (b) provide clarity and support for guest authors; (c) empower new editors to understand and embrace Lead Pipe’s style and approach; and (d) to provide the most transparent experience possible for authors, editors, and readers of In the Library with the Lead Pipe.


In the Library with the Lead Pipe is a peer-reviewed journal that, over the past several years, has developed a unique voice in library publishing. Articles at Lead Pipe are forward thinking, and while frequently offering criticism, they are intended to help improve our library community. Those articles that offer criticism also offer solutions or ideas that are intended to help our communities move toward improvements.


Lead Pipe prides itself on publishing well-written articles that use a less formal tone than many other peer-reviewed journals. Nevertheless, the quality of our content is comparable. The Editorial Board and authors at Lead Pipe are encouraged to write with their own voice. Editors remain cognizant of this, and will help authors write articles that fit with this style guide while still remaining true to the author’s unique voice and ideas.

We avoid writing in the passive voice whenever possible and, for many articles, encourage authors to write in the first-person.

Inclusive Language

Your word choice matters. Lead Pipe requires the use of inclusive language. This includes avoiding describing gender as binary (instead of men and women, use people), avoiding racist, sexist, transphobic, ableist, classist language, and using people-first language when describing disabilities.

For more information see: Reduce Bias in Language and the GLAAD Media Reference Guide, especially the Transgender Glossary of Terms.

Personal Pronouns

In line with the use of inclusive language, Lead Pipe requires the use of a subjects’ preferred pronouns when known. For general singular personal pronouns Lead Pipe requires the use of singular “they” and “their” (or rephrasing so as to not use a singular pronoun).

Geographic Centricity

Lead Pipe is an international publication. Where possible, incorporate a global perspective in the context and arguments of articles (e.g., by considering what the broad international profession should do, not just what the American Library Association or U.S.-based librarians should do). It is acceptable for an article’s focus to be on one geographic region, but this should be made clear in the article, and avoid phrases like “across the country” without mentioning which country.

Where there are spelling differences, Editors should defer to the standard of the country of the author(s) (e.g., color/colour or realise/realize).


We encourage our authors to read widely and across disciplines as they make their arguments, to be cognizant of the perspectives and positionalities of the sources they reference, and to critically consider perspectives and positionalities that are not reflected in their scholarship.


There is no uniform citation requirement for articles at Lead Pipe. However, each article should use a consistent citation style within the piece. Articles should contain a list of references, though well chosen links may complement this requirement or even serve as a substitute in some instances, and authors should provide attribution for direct and indirect quotations.


Footnotes are a good way to include parenthetical statements. To create a footnote, insert the footnoted text into double parentheses )) ** at the point where you’d like the footnote number to appear. A linked number and footnote will be automatically created. See

Punctuation & Grammar

Authors should use appropriate grammar and punctuation, but also avoid writing sentences in which structural elements like punctuation, tense, or subject-verb agreement are likely to draw attention to themselves.


If using acronyms, first use the spelled out acronym and place the acronym as a parenthetical afterwards. Throughout the rest of the article you may use the acronym. For example, “College and Research Libraries News (C&RL News) published its first article in 2008. C&RL News has since published numerous articles each year.”


Lead Pipe uses Oxford/serial commas.


Using numbers should be consistent. Generally we ask that numbers less than 10 should be spelled out. Larger numbers are expressed with numerals. If you’d like to read more about using numbers in your writing take a look at the guidelines outlined by Grammar Girl.

Paragraph Length

Paragraphs that consist of a single sentence can be effective if used sparingly. Long paragraphs should be avoided.


Lead Pipe follows the following punctuation rules outlined by Grammar Girl: “In American English, periods and commas always go inside the closing quotation mark; semicolons, colons, asterisks, and dashes always go outside the closing quotation mark; and question marks and exclamation points require that you analyze the sentence and make a decision based on context.”


Tense should be consistent within each paragraph, though tense may change from paragraph to paragraph.

Formatting for the Web

In Brief

Each article begins with an “in brief” abstract around 50-100 words in length but no more than 200 words. These statements are currently formatted as a block quote.

Images, Graphics, and Tables

Every infographic, chart, or other data visualization requires a full text-based equivalent (i.e. an html table or list, in addition to brief alt text) that makes the information contained in the image perceptible for all readers, including users of screen readers and those with other visual disabilities. To ensure accessibility, html tables will be used instead of images of tables. The final format of these text-based equivalents will most likely be html tables or lists included as appendices below the article’s References section, with links from the figure’s caption to the textual equivalent and back. The Editorial Board can help create these perceptible equivalents.

Images should be no wider than 550 pixels, and should generally be between 400 and 500 pixels wide. If necessary, use an image editor to change the original image’s size before including it in your article, and also use the editor’s “save for web” feature to decrease its file size. Using HTML to resize the image or posting an image whose file size is larger than it needs to be will slow down the website.

Each article begins with an image that is meant to complement its theme. Please be sure to use only images you are allowed to include, and please give credit to its creator. To comply with Lead Pipe‘s overall licensing, images should be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license or a license with even fewer restrictions. Many Lead Pipe authors make use of the Creative Commons-licensed images that have been posted on Flickr. Note: In order to search Creative Commons-licensed images, use the link labeled “see more” at the end of each license’s section, not the search box at the top of the page.

Be sure to credit the image. CC BY 4.0 requires that:  “You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made.” See past articles for examples.

Using Flickr has an added advantage, because Flickr provides direct access to pre-sized images that can be served directly from Flickr (and Flickr has faster servers than Lead Pipe). From the Flickr page for a Creative Common-licensed image, such as this image entitled “Library Bookshelf,” check the license linked at the right of the screen to verify its license, then select Actions followed by View all sizes at the top of the screen. On the resulting “All sizes” screen, the appropriate image is labeled “Medium 500 (375 x 500).”


Use headers to delineate sections of text. Headers are important for the look of articles, but are also an important component to making web published documents readable by accessibility software such as screen readers. Start with Header 3 and then use headers sequentially after that, i.e., <h3>, <h4>, <h5>, and <h6>.


Since Lead Pipe is written for the web, using hyperlinks is appropriate and encouraged, especially when readers may not be familiar with the concept being discussed, or its particular context. Give hyperlinks unique names and make them descriptive, a practice that is helpful for all readers that also dramatically increases accessibility. Hyperlinks should not replace formal references.

Hyphens, N-dashes, and M-dashes

The hyphen found on standard computer keyboard is appropriate when authors wish to use a hyphen. If you are using the HTML View within WordPress, please use &ndash; when an n-dash is appropriate, and &mdash; when an m-dash is required. Within WordPress’s Visual editor, use the punctuation page on or copy and past the appropriate punctuation from within a word processor, such as Word or Google Docs. As a style note, we believe that using m-dashes to set off ideas can be effective once or twice per article, but most sentences are clearer without the use of m-dashes. For more information on the use of n-dashes and m-dashes see Punctuation Matters.


When publishing on the web, only a single space is used after periods.

Block Quotes

Block quotes are used for quotations that are several lines long. They are NOT used to highlight or reiterate portions of text. Block quotes do not use quotation marks. The “in brief” section is currently visually delineated by using block quotes formatting.

Peer-review Acknowledgement

At the end of each article, authors acknowledge their peer reviewers and Lead Pipe Editors. The acknowledgement section should be italicized and should appear after the article but before the list of references.


When referring to your writing on Lead Pipe, refer to it as an article. When first discussing Lead Pipe, use the journal’s full title, In the Library with the Lead Pipe. This title should be italicized. Subsequent mentions of the journal may be abbreviated to Lead Pipe as has been done throughout this style guide.

Be consistent when referring to individuals. Introduce individuals with first and last name, or simply last name. If you wish to refer to individuals by their first name, first introduce them with first and last name. Also give some context as to why you are introducing this person.

Ignore the category fields in WordPress.