Content Style Guide: Naming Conventions

One of the best ways to ensure that our website is user-friendly is to follow industry best practices, keep the content focused on key user tasks, and keep our content up-to-date at all times.

Use established naming conventions.


  • First reference: Grand Valley State University
  • Optional second reference: GVSU
  • Unacceptable: GV, GV University


Formally, we are the Grand Valley State University Libraries. However, within the context of the library website, less formal options are preferred:

  • Most preferred: The Libraries
  • Preferred alternatives: The GVSU Libraries, University Libraries
  • Unacceptable: GV Library

When not referring to the institution proper, don’t capitalize (for example, “library materials”). Also, please note that "University Libraries" refers to the organization, and so is singular.

Catalog (aka LOCATE)

Within the context of the library web presence:
Library Catalog

Formal and full name outside the library website:
Grand Valley State University Library Catalog
GVSU Library Catalog
⊗ Don't refer to it publicly as:
FOLIO Search
WebPAC Pro
GVSU Catalog


General term:
Subject Guides

Specific guide types:
Course Guides, Subject Guides
⊗ Avoid referring to it on the website as:
Research Guides
Resource Guides
Class Guides

Other Location Names

  • Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons. Per Institutional Marketing: "Use full name on first reference. Following the first reference, Mary Idema Pew Library is acceptable." Do not refer to it as Mary I or MaryI.
  • Allendale Service Desk: Service Desk (on subsequent references), not Circulation Desk, Circ Desk.
  • Document Delivery or Interlibrary Loan: Always use Document Delivery, not DocDel or ILL or Interlibrary Loan or ILLiad
  • Library Chat, not Ask a Librarian or Ask Us.
  • University Archives, not Archives.
  • Steelcase Library: Steelcase Library, not Pew Library or Downtown Library.
  • Frey Foundation Learning Commons or Frey Learning Commons, not CHS, CHS Library, Frey, Frey Library, DCIH Library, etc.
  • Curriculum Materials Library: CML (on subsequent references), not CML Library
  • Other location naming conventions around campus can be found in the Institutional Marketing Writing Standards.

Other Services and Resources

  • GVSU Username not GVSU ID or Network ID or Network Login
  • Databases and Journals, not Database A-Z List, not Link Resolver or 360Link (360Link went away in January 2021.)
  • Library Search not EDS or Summon (Summon went away in January 2021.) Find It! Box is also acceptable in a Subject Guide or instruction, but not on the main website.
  • Knowledge Market when referring to the location or umbrella services
  • Library Research Center when referring to library Knowledge Market services (not Knowledge Market Research Consultants).
  • Research Consultants when referring to the student employees.

Other Common Words

  • Don’t capitalize librarian, university, professor, or administration (unless used as a proper noun “Professor Smith”).
  • Don’t capitalize website. GVSU's Institutional Marketing recommends that you capitalize "Internet." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Wireless network (not wifi or wi-fi).

Gender-fair language

Please make every effort to use gender-fair language whenever possible. This may require revising sentences. Refer to the National Council of Teachers of English Guidelines for Gender-Fair Use of Language and the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association Stylebook for guidelines.

Diverse Populations

Please refer to the GVSU Inclusive Writing Guidelines for tips on writing for diverse populations.


  • The same rules apply to all words beginning with an “e-” prefix.
  • Use e-book (not E-book, e-Book, eBook, or Ebook)
  • Use e-reserves when talking about electronic course reserve materials
  • As a header, use E-Book.
  • At the beginning of a sentence, use E-book.

Your friendly Web Services Librarian

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Matthew Reidsma
116A DEV
(616) 331-3577


Guide content originally created by Suzanne Chapman for the University of Illinois Libraries. Licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons By 4.0 license.

  • Last Updated: Apr 17, 2024 11:25 AM
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