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METS Style Guide

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METS Style Guide

(Updated June 1, 2019)


METS house style generally follows that of Medieval Institute Publications (MIP), which in turn is adapted from the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style: METS makes minor modifications to adjust for the specific needs of editing medieval texts. When submitting files, use Microsoft Word and create separate files for each numbered section below. Make sure that your filenames include the section names and date of submission (ex: Intro 11-30-18).


Keep in mind that METS editions have a wide readership, and are used by both scholars and students. Assume that some of your readers will include students encountering Middle English for the first time. Be sure that your glosses are thorough and that your explanatory notes cover general medieval context as well as more detailed scholarship for advanced readers. See individual sections below for more detail.


NB: This Style Guide pertains only to print editions. METS digital editions, available at, reproduce the content of print editions, but formats them slightly differently for user convenience online. 


Table of Contents


Transcription Practices

  1. Introduction
    1. Sections
    2. Citations
    3. Modern English Style
  2. Text
    1. Poetry
      1. Glossing
      2. Submission Instructions
    2. Prose
      1. Glossing
      2. Submission Instructions
    3. Translation
      1. Submission Instructions
    4. Drama
  1. Explanatory Notes
    1. Formatting
    2. Citations
    3. Submission Instructions
  2. Textual Notes
    1. Formatting
    2. Submission Instructions
  3. Bibliography
    1. Sections
    2. Types of Sources
  4. Glossary
    1. Formatting
  5. Submitting Visual Material
  6. Reference Texts


Transcription Practices[1]

Middle English texts are lightly modernized for reader convenience. Editorial apparatus is largely invisible in Texts (except for text divisions and glosses). Critical apparatus is, instead, relegated mostly to the Textual Notes.



  • Do not use Middle English characters (thorn [þ], edth [ð], yogh [ȝ], and wynn [ƿ]). Transcribe them into modern sound equivalents.
  • Regularize i/j and u/v spellings (e.g., have rather than haue).
  • Use the modern spellings of of and off to distinguish clearly between the two words.
  • Regularize initial ff to single f or capital F.
  • To distinguish the second person pronoun from the definite article, add an -e to the (i.e., thee rather than the).
  • For words ending in single e, where the vowel is long with full syllabic value, mark it with an acute accent (e.g., charité, maugré).
  • Silently expand all abbreviations in manuscripts. Be consistent in deciding whether to expand strokes or consider them otiose.



  • For poetry, capitalize the first letter of the first word of every line.
  • Otherwise, use modern capitalization conventions.
  • Capitalize personal pronouns referring to Christ or God. You may also capitalize religious words like Cross, Rood, Lord, Savior, Mass, etc., but do so consistently throughout your text.



  • Use modern punctuation and word division.
  • We assume that the vast majority of the punctuation in your Text is editorial. If you follow the base text’s punctuation, say so in the Editorial Practice section of your Introduction (see Introduction section below)
  • Use double quotation marks to mark direct speech; single quotation marks belong only within double quotation marks (e.g., “This is the ‘best’ way.”)



  • Spell out Arabic and Roman numerals in their Middle English equivalents, following your text's usual spelling practices. Transcribe Roman numerals only if the surrounding text is in Latin.
  • Gloss numbers over one hundred. (See Glosses in Text section below)


Insertions and Omissions

  • Do not indicate insertions from witnesses other than your base manuscript with brackets or different font. Inserted text is not marked at all in the Text section; instead, insertions are noted in the Textual Notes.
  • Indicate lost, missing, or otherwise unreadable text with dotted lines and a (see t-note) tag. Be sure to include a Textual Note for all instances of missing text. See the Poetry section of Text below for details on numbering missing text.


  1. Introduction
  1. Sections

An introduction should give a basic overview of your text(s). If you have multiple texts and would prefer to give multiple introductions — one per text — you may, but also include a General Introduction. At minimum, your introduction(s) should include a brief synopsis of your text, authorship (if known), dating, and historical/cultural context.


Include a section about the text’s manuscript history and provenance, in which you clearly identify and justify your choice of base manuscript. Describe its physical appearance, including size, binding, collation, hand, scribe(s), if known, and any relevant signatures and other identifying marks. For early print editions, identify the printer, typeface, date, and any running titles/headers. Discuss other major witnesses and modern editions, and identify those you have consulted in your transcription and collation of Textual Notes.


The final section should explain your Editorial Practice. Describe your rationale for emendation and, if appropriate, your choices for large-scale text divisions, stanza forms, etc. If applicable, discuss your treatment of extra-textual elements (i.e., marginalia, images, etc.). If you translate your text into English, provide a brief discussion of your translation philosophy. (Are you prioritizing, for example, accuracy of meaning? Or reproducing the original language’s meter/rhyme scheme? etc.)


  1. Citations

All references in the Introduction should be footnoted, not parenthetical. The only exception to this rule is that quotations from your own edited text may be cited parenthetically, by line number(s). Use line or lines; do not shorten to l. or ll.


Footnoted references should follow the template below. Short titles should match the punctuation given in its bibliographic entry and page numbers should be preceded by p. or pp.:


For secondary sources: Author’s surname, short title, page number(s)

                        Ex.       Carruthers, The Book of Memory, pp. 60–65


Most primary sources tend to be editions of primary texts, in which case:

                                    Author’s surname (if known), short title, editor’s surname, page number(s)

                        Ex:       Le Fèvre, Le respit de la mort, ed. Hasenohr-Esnos, p. 113


If the author is not known, replace with editor’s name. Use ed.:

                        ex.       Ed. Harvey, The Court of Sapience, p. 20


All cited sources must appear in the Bibliography. See Bibliography section below.


  1. Modern English style conventions:



Spelling should conform to American practice and follow Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition. When Webster’s gives variants of a spelling (e.g., catalog and catalogue, use the more globally recognized spelling — here, catalogue).


Be consistent in transcribing foreign names. Spellings should conform to the Biographical Names section at the back of Merriam-Webster’s. As a general rule, use the native form of place-names. In some cases, the English form can be retained: Prague, Vienna, Florence, The Hague.



  • Place single words or short phrases in a foreign language in italics; direct quotations or more substantial quotations in roman.
  • In the case of foreign words, an English translation may immediately follow in normal type, in parentheses — e.g., “the distinction between exhortatio (exhortation) and praedicatio (preaching) became very important in thirteenth-century discussions about lay preaching.” For block quotes and longer translations, place English translations in brackets.
  • Use italics for titles of books and journals; titles of articles or essays should be placed between double quotation marks.
  • Bold type may be used for section headings. But otherwise the use of bold type is discouraged.



On the whole, CMS 17 prefers a “down” style, or a sparing use of capitals. Some of the exceptions are noted below. When in doubt, consult chapter 8, “Names, Terms, and Titles of Works.”

  • Nationalities and nouns deriving from people or languages are capitalized (e.g., Latinate, the Lombards), as are nouns and adjectives of movements derived from proper nouns (e.g., Christian, Platonism).
  • Historical periods are capitalized (e.g., Middle Ages, the Reformation), but a descriptive designation of a period is usually lowercased except for proper names (e.g., the medieval era, ancient Greece, the baroque period, antiquity; but the Victorian era).
  • Books of the bible are capitalized but not italicized (e.g., the book of Genesis, the Gospel according to John, the First Epistle to the Corinthians); also note biblical, not Biblical; satanic, not Satanic; the Eucharist but eucharistic.
  • Named prayers, canticles, creeds, etc., are capitalized but not italicized (e.g., the Ten Commandments, Kaddish, the Nicene Creed). Parables and miracles are lowercased (e.g., doxology, the parable of the prodigal son, the miracle of the loaves and fishes).
  • Unique events and periods take capitals (e.g., the Last Judgement, the Peasants’ Revolt).
  • Note that church is generally lowercased, unless it is part of the official name of a denomination or building, or unless it refers to the whole body of Christians in all times and places.
  • References to particular parts of a book are not capitalized (e.g., chapter 1; appendix 2; part ii, figure 8).
  • Seasons of the year are not capitalized (e.g., spring 1349); nor are points of the compass (north of England, northern England), except when they indicate an official name or specific concept (South America, the Western world).
  • Civil, military, religious, and professional titles are capitalized when they immediately precede a personal name and are thus used as part of the name (e.g., the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Wilberforce). When following a name or used in place of a name, a title is normally lowercased (e.g., the president, the bishop, the pope).


In most European languages, titles of books and other publications are set in sentence-style caps, with just an initial capital. English-language titles are set in headline-style caps, following these basic principles:

  • The first and last words in titles and subtitles are capitalized.
  • All nouns, pronouns (except the relative that), adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions are capitalized.
  • Always capitalize the first element in a hyphenated compound. Capitalize any subsequent elements unless they are articles, prepositions, coordinating conjunctions, or such modifiers as flat or sharp following musical key symbols. If the first element in the compound could not stand by itself as a word (i.e., anti-, pre-, etc.), do not capitalize the second element unless it is a proper noun or adjective.
  • Do not capitalize: articles; prepositions; and the coordinating conjunctions and, but, or, and nor; to, whether as a preposition or as part of an infinitive; as in any function; and parts of proper names that would be lowercased in text, such as de or von.
  • For journals, follow the preferred capitals style of the journal.




  • Series (“Oxford”) commas should be used: commas should appear before the final and/or in a list of three or more items (e.g., truth, grace, and beauty).
  • Use double quotation marks; single quotation marks belong only within double quotation marks (e.g., “This is the ‘best’ way.”) Translate quotation marks from different systems or languages (e.g. « … » or „…“) into the forms here (“ ”).
  • All quotation marks should be curly, not straight.
  • Punctuation goes inside quotation marks, except for colons and semi-colons that separate items in a list.
  • Footnotes go outside the final punctuation mark: e.g., Smith said that “this was the best way.”15
  • A single space (not two) should follow periods at the end of sentences, as well as commas, colons, and other punctuation marks.
  • Do use a space to separate each initial of an author or editor’s surname (e.g., B. C. Cummings, not B.C. Cummings).
  • Ellipses should have a space before and after; if the beginning of the sentence is omitted following the ellipses, begin with a capital letter. Do not use ellipses at the beginning of a quotation or at the end, unless there is a specific reason such as a purposely incomplete thought or sentence.
  • Possessives almost always take the ’s. This includes names ending in s or another sibilant (e.g., Jesus’s, Berlioz’s), and names with es endings (e.g., Moses’s leadership, Sophocles’s plays). When the singular form of a noun ending in s is the same as the plural, the possessives of both are formed by adding an apostrophe only (e.g., politics’ true meaning). The same applies for the name of a place, organization, or publication if a plural form ending in s, even though the entity is singular (i.e., the National Academy of Sciences’ new policy).
  • Hyphenation is used where the first of two or more words is used adjectively (e.g., a tenth-century manuscript versus in the tenth century). You may find these referred to as compound adjectives or compound modifiers. Where one of the words is an adverb ending in –ly, do not hyphenate (e.g., a handsomely bound codex).
  • When using em-dashes (—), put a space before and after (Vernagu fulfills the typical function of a giant in a Western European medieval narrative — that is, to represent the Other — and, in being defeated, to reinforce the supremacy of those belonging to dominant categories.)
  • See the Numbers section below for use of the en-dash (–).
  • In quotations, slashes separate lines of poetry. Put a space before and after a slash. (“He came / And saw the day rise before him.”)
  • Use the Merriam-Webster dictionary (available free online at as guidance for hyphenation, particularly at ends of lines.




  • Numbers from zero to one hundred should be written out as words (so, nineteen but 345), and all numbers pertaining to even hundreds and thousands. You may depart from this rule when numerals or numbers form the main part of the text.
  • Follow the Chicago Manual of Style for inclusive pairs of numbers (e.g., 96–97, 101–04, 246–48), except for spans of years, which repeat the century (1014–1103). Use an en-dash between number ranges, like date ranges and page ranges.
  • Decades should be written as 860s, not 860’s.
  • Use Arabic for volume numbers (whether of journals, series, or multivolume works) and for sections of medieval texts. Roman numerals are used for front matter, manuscript shelfmarks as per library usage, and in titles.
  • Set dates in month day, year format (February 19, 2018).




Abbreviations and symbols are most appropriate in tabular matter, explanatory and textual notes, bibliographies, and parenthetical references. The use of less familiar abbreviations should be limited to those terms that occur frequently enough to warrant abbreviation — roughly five times or more within a chapter or section — and the terms must be spelled out on their first occurrence.


The following conventional abbreviations may be used:

  • ca. [not ca. or c.]
  • b. (birth / born), d. (died), r. (reigned), fl. (flourished)
  • Use full-stops / periods after Mr., Dr., ad., vols., eds.; and with e.g., i.e., vol., fol., no., ed., vol., chap., pp., n., trans., and so on. Other than Mr. and Dr., these abbreviations should not be used in running text.
  • Do not omit the period after abbreviations such as “St.” except in titles that themselves omit it. French place names containing “Saint” are normally spelled out, and the hyphen is essential: “Saint-Denis.”
  • Avoid starting sentences and footnotes with abbreviations. Use For example, not e.g.


2. Text


  1. Poetry

Verse texts are laid out in three columns on the page. The leftmost column is for line numbers, the middle column for the text itself, and the rightmost column for glosses.


Number every 5 lines beginning with 5. Do not use automatic numbering. Every line should begin with a tab, and where the lines are numbered, the numbers should precede the tab. Incipits and explicits should not be included in the line count. Folio numbers must also be indicated in the leftmost column. Use the abbreviation “fol.”, Arabic numbers, and r/v to indicate recto and verso leaves. (If your copy-text includes multiple columns per folio, include a/b/c/d designations.) Where folio numbers and line numbers coincide, folio numbers take precedence. Number the next line.


              Yif ye wyle yef ham of your good without beggyng,                                  
              Thai wold nowther begge ne borou, thus dare I say;

              And fynd hem here household and here housyng,

               Nouther by ne byld — I red ye away![2]                  

fol. 35v    Behold, syrys, apon here chyrche, now I you pray,

461          Apon here bellys, on here bokys, and here byldyng,                              

               Apon here prechyng, here prayes, her reverent aray;                 prayers
               Thai pase ale other men in here goveryng —                            surpass; their governance

                               I whot hit is no nay!                                                      know it is undeniable

465               Thai play not the fole,                                                          fool (i.e., honest truth-teller)

                      Contenualy thai gon to scole;                                              school

                         Lordys worchip han thai wole,                                           Lords’ worship they wish to have

                             And poton folys away.                                                  put foolishness

                Dignus est mercenareus mercede sua. Ego autem mendicus sum et pauper.[3]


Indicate missing or lost lines with dotted lines. If you know how many lines are lost, include the correct number of dotted lines and include them in the line count. If it is unclear how many lines are lost, include only one dotted line and do not count it in the line numbering. In the rightmost column, include a (see t-note) tag to draw readers’ attention to a relevant Textual Note discussing the missing lines.


Use footnotes only when glossing an entire line, not for notes. See Glossing below for more details.


Text divisions, like books, chapters, parts, or fits, should be indicated in bold type and Arabic numbers (i.e., Book 1). Place incipits and explicits in italics. Place single words or short phrases in a foreign language in italics; direct quotations or more substantial quotations in roman.


  1. Glossing

Gloss liberally, keeping in mind that readers may be encountering Middle English for the first time. For words that appear frequently, you may gloss just the first few instances. If you think variations in spelling may be confusing for a reader, gloss them. For reference, consult the Middle English Dictionary:


Place all glosses in italics.

Capitalize the word if capitalized in the text.                                      Lords' worship

Place any variations in meaning in parentheses.                                 fool (honest truth-teller)

Place inserted words in brackets.                                                        If you [good Christians]

Separate glosses with a semicolon, unless they occur side-by-side.  surpass; their governance

Maintain original punctuation where relevant.                                  beg nor borrow, thus I dare wager

Gloss Roman numerals over one hundred (c) in Arabic numbers.    2150

Gloss any foreign language words or phrases.                                  Hail Mary


If the gloss is too long to fit on the line, use a footnote that glosses the whole line. (See lines 45659 of the sample passage above.) Italicize the gloss. Follow the line breaks (using slashes with a space on either side), punctuation, and capitalization in the Middle English text. Include line numbers at the start of the footnote only if multiple lines are glossed. 


If, in a multiple-line footnoted gloss, the Middle English syntax does not easily match modern English, gloss it as prose, without indicating line breaks. Footnotes should be used only for long glosses, not for notes or source citations.


Keep (see note) tags to a minimum. Include them only if the reader would not understand the literal meaning of the text without the note.


  1. Submission Instructions

Bold the title of the text at the top of the page

In your Text file, glosses should be flushed right of the line, in italics. If you cannot flush right, set off the glosses with three asterisks:

ex. And poton folys away, ***put foolishness


Indicate any special indentations or stanza forms as best you can. If stanza forms change frequently, inform your METS contact.


Count line numbers carefully. Misnumbered lines are the most common error in first drafts.



  1. Prose

Prose texts differ from poetry texts in layout: prose is laid out in two columns, one for line numbers and another for the text itself. All glosses are footnoted.


As with poetry, number every 5 lines beginning with 5 (do not use automatic numbering), including folio numbers. NB: the lineation will change as we format the text, but it is important to have a reference point in your original text.


  1. Glossing

Follow the same principles as for glossing poetry. But when submitting glosses, see Submission below.

  1. Submission Instructions

Prose texts should be submitted in two separate files, one for the text itself and one for glosses. In the text file, underline the words needing glosses. In the gloss file, copy and boldface the Middle English word or phrase that you want glossed, add a comma, and give the modern English gloss. NB: You may include line numbers in the gloss file to help us collate, but know that the lineation will change as we format.


In Text File:

That tyme when the right happy wele of pease flowrid for the most parte in all Christen realms, and that moche peple dyde moche peyne to gadre and multyplye vertues, reigned in Fryse a kynge of right benewred and happy fame, loved doubted and well obeyed of his subjecttis, right habundaunt of the goodes of fortune; but private and voyde he was of the right desyred felicité in marriage, that is to wyte of lignage or yssue of his bodye, whereof he and the queen his wyffe were sore displeased.


In Gloss File:

1 wele, well-being. 3 benewred, happy (OF ben eurez, bien heurex). 4 felicité, happiness.


METS staff will collate the glosses to the text during formatting, rendering glosses as footnotes. We will also renumber the lines in our files, and collate those to the glosses and notes. To see what glossed prose looks like on the page, see our edition of William Caxton, The Game and Playe of the Chesse, ed. Jenny Adams (2009).



  1. Translations

For both poetry and prose, METS formats translations as facing page: the original language appears on the verso page and the modern English on the recto page. To format, follow the guidelines for poetry or prose, described above. Collate line numbering in the modern English translation to that of the original language.


METS accepts only complete translations of texts. Do not partially gloss a foreign language text.


  1. Submission Instructions

Translated texts should be submitted in two files, one for the original language text and the other for the modern English translation. Include line numbers in both files and check that they are correctly collated. Prose translations may be tricky to collate; the modern English may be longer or shorter than the original language. In those cases, do your best to collate. If the original text and translation begin to misalign, re-align at the next paragraph or relevant text break. Again, line numbering will change once we format it and our staff will do our best to align the two.



  1. Drama

Drama texts should mostly follow the poetry, prose, and translation guidelines above. Each play (including individual plays within a cycle) should begin with a list of dramatis personae, listed in order of appearance. If the names are given in Latin, gloss them in parentheses, e.g., Imperator (Emperor); II Miles (Second Soldier). If different names are used to refer to the same character, indicate it with an or (e.g., Shipman or Nauta).


In the text itself, capitalize and boldface all speaker names. Italicize stage directions. In drama cycles, number each individual play, using Arabic numbers, and include them in the titles of each play.


For an example of drama texts following these guidelines, see The Digby Mary Magdalene Play, ed. Theresa Coletti (2018); for a drama cycle, see The Towneley Plays, ed. Garrett Epp (2018).



3. Explanatory Notes


It is common practice for METS texts to include the following types of explanatory notes:

  • Specialized ME terminology (e.g., legal, liturgical, feudal contexts), usually citing the MED
  • Proverbs or proverbial phrases. We recommend citing Whiting. See Reference Texts below
  • References to other texts or figures (Classical, Scriptural, historical), including source texts
  • References to the Middle English canon
  • Genre conventions – verbal tags, or tropes like the disguised knight or the Nine Worthies
  • Place names. If your text includes many locations, consider identifying their modern analogues


In addition to these, we encourage you to discuss any thematic elements pertinent to your text.


  1. Formatting: When formatting your notes, include an abbreviations list at the beginning identifying any primary or reference sources that are frequently cited. List abbreviations alphabetically, and specify any editions or translations of primary texts. Common abbreviations include the MED: Middle English Dictionary; DMF: Dictionnaire du Moyen Français; ODNB: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography; CT: Canterbury Tales. Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Pro­verbial Phrases. See the Reference Texts section below.


Each individual note should be indicated by line number(s), followed by a tab. Then copy the catchword/catchphrase in italics, followed by a full stop, after which the note begins. Use relevant abbreviations from the abbreviations list. 


4393    A sory beverage there was browen. Proverbial: breuen a bitter (sory) beverage,             denotes “inflict[ing] great harm” (MED, breuen (v.), sense 3a). Compare Whiting B529. [Whiting and MED should appear in the abbreviations list.]


Include catchwords/phrases from your edited text whenever possible. If your note spans multiple lines/sentences, the catchphrase should include the first 2 or 3 words, a four-point ellipsis, and the last 2 or 3 words. Three-point ellipses indicate omission within a single line/sentence.


It is up to you how much secondary material you would like to use, and how deeply you engage with that scholarship. We would encourage you to cite some scholarship, especially major scholarship that could be considered fundamental “Further Reading” for non-specialist readers.


  1. Citations

All citations in the Explanatory Notes should follow the same format as those in the Introduction (see Introduction, b. Citations section above), EXCEPT that they should be parenthetical rather than footnoted. ex.         (Carruthers, The Book of Memory, pp. 6065)


When quoting a note (footnote or endnote) from another work, list p., the page, n, and the note number without spaces or periods

            ex.       (p. 193n9).


Separate book and line numbers with a period for a poem or similar work. Do not use line (line, lines) or page designations (p., pp.) in this case:

            ex.       Troy Book 2.479–768.


Separate volume and page numbers with a colon.

            ex.       Minor Poems of John Lydgate 2:695–98.


Cite entries from the Middle English Dictionary by word, part of speech, and definition (using “sense” to indicate a specific definition). Entries from other dictionaries should also follow this format.

            ex.       MED, wer(e) (n.5), sense 3a


For a Canterbury Tales reference, use the Riverside Chaucer model of citation [e.g., CT I(A)1655–57], that is, fragment number in Roman numerals, (group indicated by letter), and line numbers in Arabic. If the citation appears in parentheses, replace parentheses around the group identifier with square brackets. Capitalize the titles of individual tales, but do not otherwise punctuate them:


            ex.       In The Knight’s Tale (CT I[A]165557), Chaucer compares Arcite and Palamon respectively to the tiger and the lion; see also Troy Book 3:5246 and 3:796.


For all biblical citations, use the Vulgate for chapter and verse numbering, the titles of books,[4] and the names of individuals. If there is potential confusion (most prominent in Psalms), make your reliance on the Vulgate clear. All translations should be from the Douay-Rheims.

            ex.       Apocalypse (not Revelation) 21:1; Isaias (not Isaiah) 42:18; Zacharias (not Zachary or Zachariah); see Psalm 71:2 in the Vulgate (not Psalm 72:1 as it is listed in RSV): “Give to the king thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s son thy justice.”


Write out biblical titles in full; separate chapters and verse numbers of the Bible with a colon:

ex.       Matthew (not Matt.) 25:16.


Cite Patrologia Latina by volume and column, separated by a period.

            ex.       PL 93.487.


When listing numbers, repeat the last two digits unless a previous number changes, then list the whole number.

            ex.       pp. 124–79; 224–379; fols. 196r–97v.


For web citations, list the author (if known), “title of a specific webpage,” title of website (if applicable), and URL.

            ex.       (Ainsworth, “Jean Froissart: Chronicler, Poet and Writer,” The Online Froissart,

            ex.       (Klein, “Arm Reliquary of the Apostles,” Treasures of Heaven,

            ex.       (“Wills and Testaments,” National Records of Scotland,


For digital facsimiles of a manuscript, give the institutional website’s title, “title of MS”

            ex.       (British Library, “Landsowne MS 757”)

            ex.       (Biblioteca Nacional de España, “Libro de horas de Carlos V”)


For online dictionaries or encyclopedias, give the website’s (abbreviated) title, “title of a specific webpage”

            ex.       (ODNB, “Lydgate, John”)

            ex.       (Catholic Encyclopedia, “St. Martin of Tours”)


When referring to a section of your volume, capitalize but do not italicize:

ex.       See the Introduction (pp. 6–9) for more about the historical background of the poem.


  1. Submission Instructions

Explanatory Notes should be in a separate file from the Text (and from the Textual Notes). Do not format explanatory notes as endnotes in your Text file.



4. Textual Notes


Textual Notes document variant readings among your witnesses. Where your emendations do not follow any witnesses, provide a brief justification (like Emended for sense or Emended for rhyme). If your base text includes damaged or lost leaves/passages, include notes explaining how much is missing (if known) and — where possible — reconstructing the sense of the lost content from other witnesses. If your base text has multiple scribes, include notes on where the hand changes. NB: Readings in Textual Notes (unlike the rest of the volume) may contain Middle English characters like thorn [þ], edth [ð], yogh [ȝ], and wynn (ƿ).


It is up to you whether or not to document visual or extra-textual material like enlarged or rubricated capitals, marginalia, illustrations, etc. However, if you do document such elements, do so consistently — that is, if you have a note about one enlarged capital, include notes for all enlarged capitals.


  1. Formatting: Like explanatory notes, include an abbreviations list at the beginning identifying MSS and editions you cite in the notes. For manuscripts, use commonly accepted sigils and spell out the city, institution, and shelfmark (S: Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Selden Supra 53). It has been common practice to use the abbreviation “MS” for the base MS. However, if your base text is commonly known by a different sigil, you may use that abbreviation. For editions, it is common practice to use the editor(s)’ name (Herrtage) or initial of his/her surname (H) as the abbreviation. List abbreviations alphabetically.


Each individual note should be formatted like an Explanatory Note, with line number(s) and italicized catchphrases. Immediately after the catchphrase, indicate readings that exactly follow the catchphrase (your edited text) with So (see below). Then, list any variant readings. All readings should be italicized. Each note MUST contain the reading from your base text; this usually means most catchphrases are followed by So MS.


NB: If the only difference between your catchphrase and a variant reading is a Middle English character (gestes vs. ȝestes), this does not count as a variant. Do not include such notes.


If there are multiple instances of your catchword in the given line, indicate which instance you mean with a subscript. If, for example, hir appears three times in the relevant line and you mean the second instance, list the catchphrase as hir2.


27       jestes. So W. MS: ȝyiftys. B: geste. L: gestes. [Here, MS is the base manuscript. W, B,  and L are abbreviations for manuscripts or editions that should appear in the abbreviations list.]


375       hir2. So MS. R: his. A, H: omitted.


396–426 To the . . . . hym drowe. For D’s version of these lines, see Löwenherz, pp. 98–101n.


495–96   The aventurous . . . . knyght betydde. Absent in MS, these lines are supplied from W.



  1. Submission Instructions

Textual Notes should be in a separate file from the Text (and from the Explanatory Notes). Do not format textual notes as endnotes in your Text file.


If your base text is not a manuscript, but rather an early print edition, it may be possible that you have very few Textual Notes. In these cases, we allow the Textual Notes to be combined with the Explanatory Notes, and for that file to simply be called “Notes.” Alert your METS contact if this is the case for you.



5. Bibliography


  1. Sections

Include three sections in the Bibliography, in the order below. List all sources alphabetically in each section.

  • Manuscripts
  • Primary Sources (including modern editions/facsimiles)
  • Secondary Sources



  • For medieval names with particles, alphabetize by first name (Geoffrey of Monmouth under G, not M; Chretien de Troyes under C, not D or T)
  • For modern names with particles, take into account the individual’s preference (if known), as well as traditional and national usages. (Charles de Gaulle, for example, is sometimes listed under D and sometimes G.) Merriam Webster’s Biographical Dictionary is a guide for well-known persons long deceased; library catalogues and encyclopedias are also of assistance. Alphabetize those names as appropriate.


  1. Types of Sources

For listing a manuscript:

City of holding institution, institution title, manuscript shelfmark. Online at URL (if digitized).

Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, MS Advocates 19.2.1. Online at


For listing a book:

Author [last name, first name — if known]. Title. Ed. or trans. [first, last]. Vol. [either vol. number or number of vols. in the series]. Name and number of series. City of publication:[5] Publisher, year.


Geoffrey of Monmouth. The History of the Kings of Britain. Trans. Lewis Thorpe. Baltimore: Penguin, 1966.

Lydgate, John. Lydgate's Fall of Princes. Ed. Henry Bergen. 4 vols. EETS e.s. 121–24. Washington, DC: The Carnegie Institution of Washington, 1923–27.

Pearsall, Derek. Gower and Lydgate. Harlow: Longman, Greens, and Co., 1969.


For listing an EETS edition (note that editions are listed by their original author, if known, otherwise by editor). NB: include o.s. (original series), e.s. (extra series), s.s. (supplementary series).

Lydgate, John. Lydgate's Troy Book. A. D. 1412–20. Ed. Henry Bergen. 4 vols. EETS e.s. 97, 103, 106, 126. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., 1906–35.


Editions with unknown authors appear just as book entries, replacing the author’s name with  the editor’s name, using ed.

Herrtage, Sidney J. H., ed. The English Charlemagne Romances. Part I: Sir Ferumbras. EETS e.s. 34. London: Oxford University Press, 1879.


For listing a multi-volume work:

Dunbar, William. The Poems of William Dunbar. Ed. Priscilla Bawcutt. 2 vols. Glasgow: Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1998.


For listing an essay in a collection of essays:

Author [last, first]. “Title of article.” In Title of Book. Ed. [first then last]. City: Publisher, year. Pp. [page numbers].

Watson, Nicholas. "Outdoing Chaucer." In Shifts and Transpositions in Medieval Literature. Ed. Karen Pratt. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1994. Pp. 291–303.


If two or more essays from the same collection of essays appears in the bibliography, add the collection of essays as a separate bib entry and shorten each individual essay entry as follows:

Author [last, first]. “Title of article.” In Name of Editor(s), Short Title. Pp. [page numbers].

Larson, Wendy R. “The Role of Patronage and Audience in the Cults of Sts Margaret and Marina of Antioch.” In Riches and Salih, Gender and Holiness. Pp. 23–35.


Elsewhere, the full collection of essays appears as a separate entry:

Riches, Samantha J. E., and Sarah Salih, eds. Gender and Holiness: Men, Women and Saints in Late Medieval Europe. London: Routledge, 2002.


For multiple entries by an author:

List all entries chronologically, oldest to most recent, including monographs, edited volumes, and co-authored texts. Do not list them alphabetically. After initial entry, replace author’s name with three em-dashes, and complete the bib entry. If an entry after the first is one in which the author plays a different role (editor or translator), add a comma after the three em-dashes and his/her new role.

Skeat, Walter W. The Chaucer Canon with a Discussion of the Works Associated with the Name of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1900.

— — —, ed. Early English Proverbs, Chiefly of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries, with Illustrative Quotations. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910.


For listing an article in a journal:

Author [last, first]. “Title of article.” Journal Title issue number (year), page numbers.

Pearsall, Derek. "The English Romance in the Fifteenth Century." Essays and Studies 29 (1976), 56–83.


For listing a dissertation:

Author [last, first]. “Title.” Ph.D. Dissertation: Institution, year.

Eleazer, Ed. “The Gast of Gy: An Edition of the Quatrain Version with Critical Commentary.” Ph.D. Dissertation: Florida State University, 1984.


For listing an online dictionary or encyclopedia:

Title of Dictionary or Encyclopedia. Publisher, Date of Publication. Online at URL.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2018. Online at


For listing a website:

Author [if applicable]. “Title of webpage [if applicable].” Title of website. Owner or sponsor, date of publication [if known]. Online at URL.

“Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts.” The British Library. Online at


METS generally follows the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style. For additional questions, consult the latest edition of CMS.



6. Glossary

If your text is a Middle English text, include a glossary. For definitions and grammatical information on specific words, consult the MED: Foreign language texts do not require a glossary, because that text is fully translated.


Because readers could very well be encountering ME for the first time, you should include “false friends” (ME words that have a different meaning from their modern counterparts) in your Glossary, as well as common words that may look unfamiliar. We recommend including personal pronouns (and their variant spellings), unusual verb forms, prepositions with multiple meanings, and words with intensifiers (like words with the for- prefix). You may also want to include thematic terms (chivalric, religious, feudal, etc.) important to your text.


All entries must include the word’s part of speech. Some editors, especially those dealing with early Middle English, specific ME dialects, or Older Scots, choose to include more grammatical information, though we leave that to your discretion. To see Glossaries with grammar-heavy entries, see The Katherine Group (MS Bodley 34), ed. Huber and Robertson (2016) and The Palyce of Honour 2nd edition, ed. Parkinson (2018).


  1. Formatting

Alphabetize all entries.


Bold the ME word, put the part of speech in parentheses, followed by two spaces, and the definition in italics.

            ex.       privé (adj.)  secret, mysterious


Separate homophones into different entries.

            ex.       wight (n.)  a person

            ex.       wight (adj.)  brave, strong, healthy


Separate variations of a meaning with a comma.

             ex.      her (pron.)  her, their


Indicate different forms of the word with parentheses.

                        ex. yif(fe) (prep.)  if


Phrases including the ME word may be indicated, if desired. The phrase should be indicated by a tilde (for the ME word) and the entire phrase, bolded. The definition should follow in italics.

                        ex. aventure (n.)  chance, fortune, fate; in ~ that for fear that



7. Submitting Visual Material

As a rule, we expect you to supply all visual material.

  • Digital images must be at least 600 DPI (dots per inch) and minimum format of 10 x 15 cm. NB: All images will print in black-and-white. If you would like color images, alert your METS contact.
  • Submit digital images as JPG files. If these are too large to be sent by email, alert your METS contact you will be invited to our Dropbox, where your image(s) may be uploaded.
  • Captions should be supplied in a separate Word file. If the image is an illustration from a manuscript or early print edition, captions should include the illustrator's name (if known), the holding institution, the MS shelfmark, date (if known), folio/page numners, and credit to the holding institution (Photo: Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas). If the image includes foreign language captions, consider including an English translation.
  • Tables should be submitted as Word or Excel files.


Mark clearly in the text where each illustration needs to be inserted. For example: [PLACE ILLUSTRATION 1 HERE]. Make sure that the illustrations are clearly numbered (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc.). METS staff will include a List of Illustrations in the Table of Contents, listed by Figure number.



It is the editor’s responsibility to secure permission and cover any fees to use any approved illustrative materials that are not their own. When you submit your manuscripts, enclose a list of illustrations and copies of the permissions you have received.


When seeking permissions, note the following:

  • You must get permission for the use of images in the hard, paper edition of your edition. If the holding institution requires a letter confirming your edition has been commissioned, alert your METS contact. The General Editor will be happy to provide a letter for you.
  • Copyright for digital editions is a different matter. The official term for this is embedded copyright. NB: Usually, METS only includes images in print editions. We do not put copyrighted images online in our digital editions ( If you would like images put online, alertyour METS contact.
  • Illustrations taken from another book are not owned by the publisher of the book. The actual owner of an illustration may be the artist or photographer, or the library or museum where it is kept.


Make sure that you start clearing permissions as soon as possible, as it often takes longer than expected. Always specify the use — e.g., a scholarly edition with limited print run. Check whether a specific format for acknowledgement is required. Permissions costs can often be reduced through external subsidies.



8. Reference Texts

Below is a list of METS’ standard reference texts (and their abbreviations). You may cite other editions, but if you do not specify editions, we will default to these:

NB: All reference texts cited in your edition must appear in the Bibliography.


Canonical Texts:

Riverside Chaucer, 3rd edition, ed. Larry Benson, 1987

Langland, Piers Plowman: Specify an edition. We default to:

  • Piers Plowman: A parallel-text edition of the A, B, C, and Z versions, ed. A.V.C. Schmidt, 2011 or
  • Will’s visions of Pier Plowman and Do-Well, ed. George Kane, 1960

Malory, Le Morte D’Arthur, ed. P.J.C. Field, 2 vols., 2013

Riverside Shakespeare                                    

Vulgate Bible:

  • Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem, ed. Robert Weber, with B. Fischer, J. Gribomont, H.F.D. Sparks, W. Thiele, 5th ed. rev. R. Gryson, 2007



Patrologia Latina (PL):

Aquinas, Catena Aurea, 2nd ed., ed. John Henry Newman, trans. Mark Pattison, 4 vols., 1864: (institutional access required)

Jacobus de Voragine, Golden Legend, trans. William Granger Ryan, 2 vols., 1993



Primary Text Series:

Early English Text Society (EETS)

Manual of the Writings of Middle English (MWME)

Scottish Text Society (STS)

Anglo-Norman Text Society (ANTS)

For Latin texts, use the accepted standard critical edition; otherwise we default to Loeb Classical Library

Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis (CCCM), Brepols



Middle English Dictionary (MED)

Dictionary of Old English (DOE):

Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (BT):

Oxford English Dictionary (OED)

Anglo-Norman Dictionary (AND)

Dictionnaire du Moyen Français (DMF):

Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL):

Oxford Latin Dictionary, 2nd ed., ed. P.G.W. Glare, 2012:



Databases (may require institutional access)

Digital Index of Middle English Verse (DIMEV):

Universal Short Title Catalogue (USTC):

Bodleian Summary Catalogue (SC):

Early English Books Online (EEBO):


Encyclopedias (may require institutional access)

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB):

Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3rd edition, ed. Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth

Oxford Music Online:

Oxford Dictionary of Saints, 5th ed., ed. David Hugh Farmer, 2003

Orbis Latinus:

Lexicon des Mittelalters, ed. Robert Auty, 14 vols., 1977-1999

Whiting and Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases from English Writings mainly before 1500, 1968

Hassell, Jr., Middle French Proverbs, Sentences, and Proverbial Phrases, 1982



[1] METS staff will need access to your base text during the production process. When submitting your text to METS, please indicate if your base MS is available online in digitized facsimile and, if so, provide the URL. IF it is not available online or in print facsimile, we will ask the editor to provide high quality photos or scans.

[2] Lines 456–59: If you [good Christians] were to give them money without making them beg [for it], / They would neither beg nor borrow, thus I dare wager; / And [if you were to] provide for them their household and housing, / [They would] neither buy nor build — I advise you to try [this]!

[3] The hired worker is worthy of his wages. But I am a beggar and poor.

[4] Use Chronicles in place of Paralipomenon.

[5] For U.S. cities that are not well-known, include 2-letter state abbreviation (Carbondale, IL: Penguin) UNLESS the state name appears in the publisher's name (e.g., Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press). NB: Distinguish between Cambridge, MA and Cambridge in England. For cities outside the U.S., do not list countries (Paris, not Paris, FR).