Citations and bibliographies Learning Resource Centre Information Skills tutorial Before you begin…

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Citations and bibliographies

  • Learning Resource Centre
  • Information Skills tutorial

Before you begin…

  • This presentation is intended to be a basic guide only
  • Please check your School’s policy on referencing – you should find this in your Student handbook
  • Or consult your tutor

Why reference?

  • to support an argument or claim you are making
  • to acknowledge other peoples’ ideas or work
  • to show evidence of the breadth and depth of your own reading
  • to avoid being accused of plagiarism


  • referring to other people’s work in your own work is known as “citing”
  • a list is given at the end of your work, of all the items you refer to
  • the citations should contain sufficient information for someone else to be able to trace the item


  • keep a careful record of all the items you read as you read them
  • take the details from the title page or reverse, not the front cover
  • if you keep the list on a computer you can keep it in alphabetical order
  • this is known as a bibliography

Reference lists v bibliographies

  • a reference list is a list of all the items you have mentioned in your essay or work - in alphabetical order
  • a bibliography is a complete list of all the above PLUS everything you have read around the subject that has helped you to write your essay or work


Books – single author

  • McCavity, Phil (1980): Dentistry today. London, Association of Dentists.

Books – two authors

  • Bull, J and M Gate (1989): Breeding dairy cows. London, United Farming Press.

Books – 3 or more authors

  • Builder, Bob, et al (1993): Construction practice. London, Town House Publications.
  • et al means “and others” in Latin
  • your tutor may prefer you to list ALL the authors instead – check first

Corporate authors

  • Put the name of the organisation as the author:
  • Institute of Waste Management (1995): Ways to improve recycling. Northampton, Institute of Waste Management.

Books - editors

  • Beanstalk, Jack (ed.) (1986): Success with vegetables. Oxford, Giant Co.

2 authors from the same year

  • Put the titles in alphabetical order and call the references a, b, c, etc.
  • Brett, P. (2002a): Bench joinery. Cheltenham, Stanley Thornes.
  • Brett, P. (2002b): Site carpentry and joinery level 2. Cheltenham, Stanley Thornes.

A chapter/article within a book

  • Ewbank, R (1999): “Animal welfare”, in Management and welfare of farm animals. 4th ed, Wheathampstead, Universities Federation for Animal Welfare, p.1-15.
  • for page numbers, use p.25, pp.94-191 or :94-191 or ,94-191

Journal articles

  • put the title of the article in “quotes”
  • put the name of the Journal in italics
  • Shaw, Philip (2005): “Estimating local extinction rates over successive time-frames”, Biological Conservation, 121 (2), 281-7.

Newspaper articles

  • same as journal articles
  • but if there is no author (e.g. a short news item) use the Newspaper name as a corporate author
  • Guardian, The (2005): “Guardian appeal tops £1.5m”. The Guardian. 19 January 2005, p.2.

A thesis or dissertation

  • similar to a book reference -
  • Brown, Michael (1980): The problems of making and maintaining a medieval style garden today. M.A. Thesis, Birkbeck.


  • similar to a book reference:
  • Curry, Donald (2002): Farming and food: A sustainable future: Report of the policy commission on the future of food and farming. London, Cabinet Office.

British Standards

  • British Standards Institute (1984): Nursery stock – Part 4: Specification for forest trees. BS3936-4. London: BSI.

Government publication

  • Similar to a corporate author reference:
  • Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (2004): Improving lamb survival. London, DEFRA.


  • The Keyskill Company (1999): Vetlogic: The skeletal system. [CD ROM] Stroud, The Keyskill Company.

WWW document

  • (1998-2005): English Foxhound. [Online] Available from [Accessed 27 January 2005].

Other types of material...

  • legislation
  • Patents
  • unpublished material (grey literature)
  • electronic material
  • videos, films
  • e-journals….
  • etc etc

References and citations within your work

  • White and Gilbert say “Using a detailed soil strategy is an essential part of the habitat creation planning process” (White and Gilbert, 2003, p.55).
  • OR: White and Gilbert (2003) point out that a soil strategy is a necessary part of planning.
  • Use 3 dots … for a word/part of a word within a direct quote to show where you are missing out sections/words of the quote (4 dots …. If the omission includes a full stop).

Citing references to resources you have not actually seen

  • state in your text that Colin Smith (Gibbs and Carroll, 1978, p.7) says “…….”
  • put the Gibbs and Carroll book and page number(s) in your bibliography

If you can’t find the details

  • author not given [anon]
  • no place (sine loco) [s.l.]
  • no publisher (sine nomine) [s.n.]
  • no date [n.d.]
  • not known [n.k.]

With thanks to…..

  • Learning Resources Services, UCN (2003): Referencing guide questions and answers - the Harvard system. University of Northampton. [Accessed 8 December 2006].
  • The Library, University of Sheffield (2000): Writing a bibliography. [Online] Available from [Accessed 2 September 2005].
  • Thank you!
  • Learning Resource Centre
  • Information Services

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