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Information for Writers and Authors

If you have submitted a proposal that has been accepted by the Publications Committee, we will work with you through the creative process, answer your questions and help ensure the best possible outcome for your work.

1. Research the topic

Go to libraries and websites; make sure you have the latest information and data relevant to your topic.

2. Organize

Choose a working title and outline a table of contents. Then compose chapter outlines before beginning to write.

3. Start Writing

Each chapter should cover one topic, one perspective. Write what you know best, first. Save the introduction until the end.

4. Style

We recommended the following reference books:

  • Canadian Oxford Dictionary, 2nd ed.
  • New York Public Library Writer's Guide to Style & Usage (HarperCollins)
  • Canadian Style (Dundurn Press, Rev. 1997)
  • Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace (Genealogical Publishing, 2007)

Here is a brief summary of some important points of style.

Spelling: Canadian spelling is the standard (i.e., more British than American). Please consult The Canadian Oxford Dictionary for preferred spellings. An exception to this occurs when quoting material published elsewhere — do not change the spelling without permission from the publisher.

Quotation and Copyright Guidelines: Always provide the sources of your quotes, including author and publication, if possible. You can include these in footnotes/endnotes or a bibliography. (When quoting Emily Dickinson, for example, the name of the poem is needed, not the name of the collection in which it is found since there are so many collections.)

According to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's brochure describing the Copyright Act, "the line between fair dealing and infringement is a thin one. There are no guidelines that define the number of words or passages that can be used without permission from the author. Only the courts can rule whether fair dealing or infringement is involved." More information can be found at the Canadian Intellectual Property Office website.

The general rule for copyright is the life of the author of the work, the remainder of the calendar year in which the author dies plus an additional fifty years.

Public domain refers to the period after the copyright expires when the material is accessible to anyone without legal penalty. However, as in the case of photographs, the document might be in the public domain but the organization that holds the documents might still charge for duplication or usage.

5. Permissions

If you are making reference to the work of others, follow the guidelines to secure reprint permission. If you plan on including illustrations of any kind, be sure to get the copyright-holder's permission for them as well. Permission is needed to reprint published or copyrighted material. Authors are responsible for securing permission for quotations from publishers. Submit copies of permission correspondence with your manuscript. See the sample permission letter.

6. Guidelines for Manuscript Preparation

Final accepted manuscripts can be submitted electronically. If you prefer sending a paper copy, it should be accompanied by an electronic copy on a USB drive or some other electronic medium. We are able to translate and work with many platforms and programs. Since computer hardware and software are constantly changing, consult with us to confirm the compatibility of your word processing program.

Please contact our Publications Division (pcchair@ogs.on.ca) prior to submitting your work. Specify the program and operating system you have used. If sending a print copy, it must be from the file you send.

  • Double space all material including notes. Set left, right, top and bottom margins at 1"
  • Do not indent paragraphs. Leave extra space (a blank line) between each.
  • Do not format material with different fonts, sizes of type, margin widths, headers and footers (except page numbers) or other special styles.
  • Use upper- and lower-case characters for headings, not all capitals. Leave a line space before and after headings.
  • Use italics on words and phrases that you wish italicized, e.g., titles of publications. If your word-processing program does not possess this formatting feature, use an underline instead. Do not use bold instead of italics.
  • Place the notes on separate pages, not at the foot of the page or within the text.
  • Include all preliminary material: complete table of contents, preface, foreword, introduction and dedication, if applicable, when you submit the manuscript.
  • Print manuscript on 8 1/2" x 11"paper.
  • Ensure that pages are numbered sequentially.