History:Style Guideline

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MusicBrainz has a lot of relational data. But you still have to type plain text in all the database fields. In order for the database to be in a good consistent shape, the Style Council has agreed on a certain style according to which such text should be entered.

Note that the Style Guidelines of MusicBrainz are not hard and fast rules, instead, the Style Principles should be used to determine the correct course of action.

Principal Guidelines

The following guidelines are available:

Official Style Guidelines
The Official Style Guidelines are those guidelines that have been officially sanctioned by the Style Council and should usually be refered to whenever editing the data on MusicBrainz
Capitalization Standards
How to capitalize album and track titles. Since June 2004 we are working towards internationalization. This will give us language specific standards. Capitalization Standard lists all available standards for different languages.
Classical Style Guides
For classical music (or any music, where the composer is taken as the principal artist) different style rules apply, and different problems arise. These are all addressed in this section containing Classical Music FAQ, Classical Style Guide and Talk:Classical Style Guide.
Proposed Style Guidelines
This is a place for new style guidelines to be proposed and discussed.

Other Guidelines and Help

Series Style Guidelines
These are guidelines that apply to a specific series of releases only, but not to all entities in general.
How Editing Works
Advice and steps to follow when editing the database.
Editing Guidelines
While the style guidelines tell you how entries should look when they are done, the editing guidelines are intended to tell you the best way to get there.
How To Vote
Suggestions and advice about voting on edits.
Misencoding FAQ
Deals with data where something went wrong with the character encodings, and what to do about it.

If you have a question regarding an Odd Release you might want to look for it in Additional Metadata. If you find it there your question might already been answered. If you do not find it, you can ask on the Users Mailing List. When your problem has been solved, please list your solution there to help others that come after you.

Changing Guidelines

The style guidelines form a very balanced set of rules. Changing them is a slow and careful process. Since 2005-12 a new process for style changes is emerging. See these email threads, How To Change Style Guidelines, and also the older guide on How To Propose New Guidelines for details.

The Migration Guideline requires that major changes to the style guidelines be tested by Beta Editing on the Test Server, to figure out if it entails any major Soft Structure changes.