Style Requirements

Rintze M. Zelle edited this page Mar 28, 2017 · 34 revisions

Before submitting your style to the CSL style repository, please make sure it follows our requirements:

1 - Title Abbreviations

The style name in <title/> should be written out in full. To store a title abbreviation, use the <title-short/> element, e.g.:

  <title>Modern Humanities Research Association</title>
2 - Title Diacritics

Don't remove diacritics from the style title. E.g. use <title>Associação Brasileira de Normas Técnicas</title> instead of <title>Associacao Brasileira de Normas Tecnicas</title>.

3 - Style Locale

If your style is meant to be used in one particular language, set the default-locale attribute on <style/> to the appropriate locale code. For example, CSL styles for English-language journals should typically be set to US English ("en-US") or British English ("en-GB"). For a list of languages and their locale codes, see

When using default-locale, add the chosen locale to the style title, unless the language is English. An example:

<style xmlns="" class="in-text" version="1.0" default-locale="de-DE">
    <title>Zeitschrift für Soziologie (German)</title>
4 - File Name

The file name of a style should be based on its title. However, file names may only contain lowercase roman letters (a-z), digits (0-9), and single hyphens (-), and must end with the ".csl" extension. To create the file name from the title:

  • replace capitals with lowercase letters
  • replace ampersands with "and" (e.g., "Arts & Health" becomes "arts-and-health.csl")
  • replace spaces and apostrophes with hyphens (e.g., "Documents d'archéologie française (French)" becomes "documents-d-archeologie-francaise.csl")
  • drop diacritics (e.g., "für" becomes "fur", not "fuer")
  • drop text between parentheses (e.g., "Ugeskrift for Læger (Danish)" becomes "ugeskrift-for-laeger.csl")
  • avoid abbreviations (e.g., use "modern-humanities-research-association.csl" instead of "mhra.csl")
  • add the ".csl" extension

You can use a 'slugify' tool like to quickly lowercase titles and replace spaces by hyphens, although you may have to make some more changes by hand.

5 - Style ID

The style ID must be "", with "file-name" representing the style's file name without the ".csl" extension. E.g., "" for "modern-humanities-research-association.csl":

6 - "self" Link

The style's "self" link, which tells where the style will available online, must match the style ID:

  <link href="" rel="self"/>
7 - License

The style must be licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. Use the exact text below, without any hard line breaks for <rights/>:

  <rights license="">This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License</rights>
8 - "template" Link

If you started from another CSL style, delete the original style authors and contributors, and point to the original style with a "template" link:

  <link href="" rel="template"/>
9 - ISSN and eISSN

Journal styles should list the journal's print ISSN (<issn/>) and online ISSN (<eissn/>), if available:

10 - "documentation" Link

Independent styles should have a "documentation" link that points to a description of the style's citation format. For journals this is typically the "instructions to authors" webpage. If a style guide is only available in print, provide a URL that allows us to locate a paper copy.

  <link href="" rel="documentation"/>
11 - XML Indentation

Indent the style's XML with 2 spaces per level. Some text editors support automatic indentation of XML. Alternatively, use our style formatter tool.

12 - Validation

Make sure your finished style validates against the CSL schema.

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