Front matter can be set in a markdown (md) or notebook (ipynb) file (described as a “page” below) or in the project: section of a curvenote.yml file. When set in a curvenote.yml file, those settings will be applied to all content in that same folder and subfolders (apart from “page only” fields).

Where to set frontmatter

In a markdown file

A frontmatter section can be added at the top of any md file using --- delimiters.

title: My First Article
date: 2022-05-11
  - name: Jane Bloggs
      - University of Europe

In a Jupyter Notebook

Front matter can be added to the first cell of a Jupyter Notebook, that cell should be a Markdown cell and use --- delimiters as above.

In a markdown-based notebook

If your Jupyter Notebook is described as a markdown file (e.g. using jupytext, or MyST), then this should be included in the frontmatter section as usual in addition to the jupyter key that defines the kernel and jupytext metadata.

In a curvenote.yml file

Front matter fields can be added directly to any project: section within a curvenote.yml file. If your root curvenote.yml file only contains a site: section, and you want to add front matter, add a project: section at the top level and add the fields there. e.g.

  license: CC-BY-4.0
  open_access: true

Available frontmatter fields

The following table lists the available front matter fields, a brief description and a note on how the field behaves depending on whether it is set on a page or at the project level. Where a field itself is an object with sub-fields, see the relevant description on the page below.

Table: 1A list of available front matter fields and their behaviour across projects and pages



field behaviour


a string (max 500 chars)

page & project


a string (max 500 chars)

page & project


a string (max 40 chars)

page & project


a string (max 500 chars)

page & project


a list of strings

page only


a link to a local or remote image

page only


a string (max 500 chars)

page only


a valid date formatted string

page can override project


a list of author objects

page can override project


a valid DOI, either URL or id

page can override project


a valid arXiv reference, either URL or id

page can override project


boolean (true/false)

page can override project


a license object or a string

page can override project


a valid GitHub URL or owner/reponame

page can override project


any valid URL

page can override project


a string (max 40 chars)

page can override project


a venue object

page can override project


a biblio object with various fields

page can override project

Field Behaviour

Frontmatter can be attached to a “page”, meaning a local .md or .ipynb or an Article or Notebook on, or a “project”. However, individual frontmatter fields are not uniformly available at both levels, and behaviour of certain fields are different between project and page levels. There are three field behaviours to be aware of:

  1. page & project - the field is available on both the page & project but they are independent
  2. page only - the field is only available on pages, and not present on projects and it will be ignored if set there.
  3. page can override project - the field is available on both page & project but the value of the field on the page will override any set of the project. Note that the page field must be omitted or undefined, for the project value to be used, value of null (or [] in the case of authors) will still override the project value but clear the field for that page.


The thumbnail is used in previews for your site in applications like Twitter, Slack, or any other link preview service. When you clone a project from Curvenote, the thumbnail gets downloaded in a thumbnails folder next to your content, if you do not want this thumbnail, you can explicitly set it to another image on your local file system or a remote URL to an image. This image will get copied over to your public folder when you build your project.

thumbnail: thumbnails/myThumbnail.png

If you do not specify an image the first image in the content of a page will be selected. If you explicitly do not want an image, set thumbnail to null.


The authors field is a list of author objects. Available fields in the author object are:




a string - a system field, when present this should not be modified.


a string - the author’s full name


a string - a valid ORCID identifier


boolean (true/false) - flags any corresponding authors


a string - email of the author, required if corresponding is true


a list of strings - must be valid CRT Contributor Roles

  - name: Jane Bloggs
      - Conceptualization
      - Data curation
      - Validation


a list of strings - freeform affiliation names, e.g.

  - name: Jane Bloggs
  	  - ACME inc
      - Earth University


The date field is a string and should conform to a valid Javascript data format. Examples of acceptable date formats are:

  • 2021-12-14T10:43:51.777Z - an ISO 8601 calendar date extended format, or
  • 14 Dec 2021
  • 14 December 2021
  • 2021, December 14
  • 2021 December 14
  • 12/14/2021 - MM/DD/YYYY
  • 12-14-2021 - MM-DD-YYYY
  • 2022/12/14 - YYYY/MM/14
  • 2022-12-14 - YYYY-MM-DD

Where the latter example in that list are valid IETF timestamps


This field can be set to a string value directly or to a License object.

Available fields in the License object are content and code allowing licenses to be set separately for these two forms of content, as often different subsets of licenses are applicable to each. If you only wish to apply a single license to your page or project use the string form rather than an object.

String values for licenses should be a valid “Identifier” string from the SPDX License List. Identifiers for well-known licenses are easily recognizable, but can be more specific than you are used to, for example:

Common Content Licenses

Common Code Licenses

  • CC-BY-4.0
  • CC-BY-SA-4.0
  • CC-BY-NC-SA-4.0
  • CC0-1.0
  • MIT
  • BSD
  • GPL-3.0+
  • Apache-2.0
  • LGPL-3.0-or-later
  • AGPL

By using the correct SPDX Identifier, your website will automatically use the appropriate icon for the license and link to the license definition.


The term venue is borrowed from the OpenAlex API definition:

Venues are where works are hosted.

Available fields in the venue object are title and url.

Some typical venue values may be:

  title: Journal of Geophysics


  title: EuroSciPy 2022


The term biblio is borrowed from the OpenAlex API definition:

Old-timey bibliographic info for this work. This is mostly useful only in citation/reference contexts. These are all strings because sometimes you'll get fun values like "Spring" and "Inside cover."

Available fields in the biblio object are volume, issue, first_page and last_page.

Some example biblio values may be:

  volume: "42"
  issue: "3"
  first_page: "1" # can be a number or string
  last_page: "99" # can be a number or string


  volume: "2022"
  issue: Winter
  first_page: Inside cover # can be a number or string