The title of a book, or any other published text or work of art, is a name for the work which is usually chosen by the author. A title can be used to identify the work, to place it in context, to convey a minimal summary of its contents, and to pique the reader's curiosity.
Some works supplement the title with a subtitle. Texts without separate titles may be referred to by their incipit, especially those produced before the practice of titling became popular. During development, a work may be referred to by a temporary working title. A piece of legislation may have both a short title and a long title. In library cataloging, a uniform title is assigned to a work whose title is ambiguous.
In the music industry album titles are often chosen through an involved process including record executives.
Most English-language style guides, including the Chicago Manual of Style, the Modern Language Association Style Guide, and APA style recommend that longer or complete works such as books, movies, plays, albums, and periodicals be written in italics, like: New York Times is a major American newspaper. These guides recommend shorter or subsidiary works such as articles, chapters, and poems, be written in quotation marks, like: "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" is a poem by Robert Frost. The AP Stylebook recommends that book titles be written in quotation marks. Underlining is used where italics are not possible, such as on a typewriter or in handwriting.
Titles may also be written in title case, with most or all words capitalized. This is true both when the title is written in or on the work in question, and when mentioned in other writing. The original author or publisher may deviate from this for stylistic purposes, and other publications might or might not replicate the original capitalization when mentioning the work. Quotes, italics, and underlines are generally not used in the title on the work itself.
- Billboard - 20 Oct 1958 - Page 5 "First, it apparently represents a simplification of the involved processes whereby record men would come up with a title for an album. At one time in the not too distant past, the market was being glutted with such titles as "Music for Hip Lovers "...
- "APA Formatting and Style Guide". Purdue OWL. March 1, 2013. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
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- Adorno, Theodor (1984), "Titres", Notes sur la littérature, Paris
- Ferry, Anne (1996), The Title to the Poem, Stanford University Press, ISBN 9780804735179
- Fisher, John (December 1984), "Entitling", Critical Inquiry, 11 (2): 286–298, doi:10.1086/448289
- Genette, Gérard; Crampé, Bernard (Summer 1988), "Structure and Functions of the Title in Literature", Critical Inquiry, 14 (4): 692–720, doi:10.1086/448462, JSTOR 1343668
- Hélin, Maurice (September–December 1956), "Les livres et leurs titres", Marche Romane, 6: 139–152
- Hoek, Leo H. (1981), La marque du titre: Dispositifs sémiotiques d'une pratique textuelle, Approaches to Semiotics [AS], 60
- Kellman, Steven G. (Spring 1975), "Dropping Names: the Poetics of Titles", Criticism, 17 (2): 152–167
- Levin, Harry (October 1977), "The Title as a Literary Genre", The Modern Language Review, 72 (4): xxiii–xxxvi, doi:10.2307/3724776, JSTOR 3724776
- Levinson, Jerrold (Autumn 1985), "Titles", The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 44 (1): 29–39, doi:10.2307/430537
- Mulvihill, John (April 1998), "For Public Consumption: The Origin of Titling the Short Poem", The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 97 (2): 190–204, JSTOR 27711639
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- Shevlin, Eleanor F. (1999), "'To Reconcile Book and Title, and Make 'em Kin to One Another': The Evolution of the Title's Contractual Functions", Book History, 2: 42–77, doi:10.1353/bh.1999.0011
- Sullivan, Ceri (July 2007), "Disposable Elements? Indications of Genre in Early Modern Titles", The Modern Language Review, 102 (3): 641–653, doi:10.2307/20467425, JSTOR 20467425
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