I'm using IEEE citation and the title of the work I am trying to cite has punctuation at the end. I'm unsure how to proceed because part of the citation includes putting a period at the end of the title.

For example, I am citing this webpage and am not sure if the title should appear with a question mark and period when I cite it.

Editor. “What is a Hypervisor?.” Internet: ....

Editor. “What is a Hypervisor?”. Internet: ....

Editor. “What is a Hypervisor?” Internet: ....

Also, I've seen others claiming to use the same style of citation but having the period appear after the closing quote. Is there some flexibility in citation or are people really supposed to follow it exactly?

  • Yes, people really are supposed to follow it exactly until advised otherwise by their editor. The correct usage is "What is a Hypervisor?" with a question mark inside the quotes, and the final period at the end of the sentence, as a full stop, like this. – Pieter Geerkens Sep 5 '13 at 2:18
  • Thanks. What do you mean by the final period being at the end of the sentence? What sentence do you refer to? – Celeritas Sep 5 '13 at 2:57
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    That particular style guide seems inconsistent in its examples, using full-stops inside and outside the quotes, commas and italics. I'm not sure of the purpose of putting a full-stop inside quotes (which serve to define the title) when the title probably didn't have one at all. – Andrew Leach Sep 5 '13 at 7:20
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    @TrevorD I don't think that's a duplicate, as the relevant part of the question and answer specifically addresses a different style guide (Chicago) with potentially very different rules than IEEE. It's somewhat informative in that they do double up punctuation with titles, but the example in the IEEE summary doesn't. – Bradd Szonye Sep 5 '13 at 20:47
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    @TrevorD It's a class of examples for a specific style guide, which I don't see as a problem. Plus, I think “too localized” was dropped entirely, not just renamed. – Bradd Szonye Sep 5 '13 at 22:15

The style guide includes an example of a title with a question mark:

Author. Subject line of posting. Personal E-mail (date).
J. Aston. “RE: new location, okay?” Personal e-mail (Jul. 3, 2003).

Based on this, I infer that you only add the period if the title does not already end with a punctuation mark of its own.

As for placing periods outside of the quotation marks: In the absence of another rule, you should follow the style guide exactly. However, because this guide only covers citations, it's likely to use it in conjunction with another style guide, which may include a rule specifically covering punctuation in quotation marks.

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