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ABC of Referencing - ABC of Citation

Referencing, and what needs referencing
Bibliography   Bibliography order
Bibliography, References, and the Harvard System
Reading Harvard System References
Writing Harvard System References
Things you do not do in the Harvard System

Referencing, and what needs referencing

References are needed for most forms of academic writing, including essays, reports and dissertations. If you read what needs referencing carefully you will realise that references are not something you should leave to the end. They are an integral part of your work and the process of referencing will help you to develop your ideas. Make referencing as you go along one of your golden rules of writing.

Referencing is referring someone to the source. References (also called "citations") show the reader what different aspects of your work are based on. At points in your writing you insert a reference in brackets   (or a number) that leads the reader to information about the page of a book or other source that is the evidence for what you have said.

The reference after a quotation tells the reader where to refer in order to find the quotation in the book or other publication that it was taken from.

A reference at the end of a passage (such as a paragraph) of your own writing may tell the reader the book or other source you based your ideas on.

A reference after an assertion or interpretation tells the reader where to refer for a passage that supports the assertion or interpretation.

A reference after an item of information tells the reader the source of the information.

You must always reference quotations, but just referencing quotations is not enough.

The references must show what your writing is based on, and this requires substantial referencing. Much of your writing, although your own, will be based on books or articles, lectures, web pages or other sources. You should show this. If, for example, a paragraph has drawn ideas heavily from a book, you could put a reference to it at the end of the paragraph.

  See example of referencing what a paragraph is based on, and example of strengthening writing by referencing more than quotes.

In academic writing you will often be interpretating sources, making an argument or evaluating evidence. It is particularly important to reference the evidence for your interpretation, argument or evaluation. Your understanding of a play, a philosopher or a theorist, should be supported by references to the text of the play or the theorist. Your assessment of the case for and against an issue should be referenced to the appropriate evidence.

In some academic writing it is particularly important to reference the sources of information. An article on the population of an area, for example, would need referencing to the sources of its statistics. An article on the history of an area would need references to the written (or other) evidence for the events it described.

Referencing should enable the reader...

Referencing should enable the reader to consult the source referred to. If you have argued that a theorist holds a certain view, there should be references to places where the view is expressed, and these should include the page numbers. If you have based an historical assertion on a manuscript in an archive, the manuscript and the archive should be clearly identified.

If your evidence comes from the world wide web, your reference should contain sufficient information to consult the web page at the web address where you found it, or stand a chance of finding it with a search engine, if it has moved. The special problem of page numbers for web sources is discussed later.

What not to reference Just as you would not put "the library" in your bibliography, you should not put search engines in the bibliography. You should reference the web sites or web pages that you find with the search engine.

Referencing systems

The two major systems of referencing are numbers referencing and Harvard referencing. Nowadays, the Harvard system is usually preferred, but the numbers system is still in use in some areas.

The numbers system puts a number in the text, at a point where a reference is needed, which links to a numbered footnote, or reference at the end of the article, which gives the author, publication and page number referred to.


A bibliography is a list of books. A very large bibliography was created in 987AD by ibn al- Nadim. This, however, did much more than just list books.

At the back of most academic books you will find bibliogaphies of books that are relevant to the subject. In many recent academic books this will usually be a bibliography of books referred to in the book, and it will relate to Harvard references in the text.

Student essays, reports and dissertations also require a bibliography. You should start drafting your bibliography when you start reading. Maintain a list of what you read, with all the required details in the required order. Some of your reading may not be in your final bibliography:

In the Bibliography to an essay:

    you list the books and articles which you consulted in preparing the essay.

    you must include all those you quoted from or referred to

    you can also include ones that you consulted but did not mention

    but, usually you just include the works that you quoted from or referred to

In a report or dissertation you may be asked to produce two lists of books:
  1. References A list of books that you refer to in the text.
  2. Bibliography A list of other relevant books.
This is a special (and confusing) use of the words "References" and "Bibliography". Usually Bibliography refers to the (single) list of books at the end of a piece of writing and references refers to the
Harvard references in the text.

References and Bibliography in the Harvard System

In the
Harvard system a reference looks like this:

    "What is now called the nature of women is an eminently artificial thing" (Mill, J.S. 1869 p.238)

The reference is the part that is in brackets. Because the reference is put within the text of the writing it can be called an in-text reference

The reference relates to an entry in the list of books (called the bibliography) at the end of the piece of writing. This is how you would do the bibliography to match the above reference:


Mill, J.S. 1869 The Subjection of Women, Dent/Everyman edition 1985, London.

key word rule The reference acts as the key to unlock the information in the bibliography. The short key word/key number combination directs you to the full information in the bibliography. The page number in the reference tells you whereabouts in the book (or whatever) to find what is being referenced.
If you understand this principle you will not make most of the common mistakes.

Reading Harvard System References:

When you see a reference, like this: (Mill, J.S. 1869 p.238), in the text of a book or an article, it means that you are being referred to page 238 of a book written by J.S. Mill in 1869. To find out the title and publisher of the book, you look in the Bibliography.

The bibliography will list books in alphabetical order of authors. If there is more than one book by the same author, the books will be in date order. For example:

Mill, J.S. 1843 A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive, Longmans Green, London

Mill, J.S. 1869 The Subjection of Women, Dent/Everyman edition 1985, London.

Writing Harvard System References:

When you want to refer to a passage in a book or article, write the author's name, date of the book, and page number, in brackets - For example (Mill, J.S. 1869 p.238) - at the point in your writing that is relevant. This is the reference. The reference does not contain the title or the publisher. The reader finds these out by looking in the bibliography.

In the bibliography, you write the name of the author, date of publication, title of the publication, publisher of edition used and date of edition used, and place of publication. In the case of our example:

Mill, J.S. 1869 The Subjection of Women, Dent/Everyman edition 1985, London.

The next time you makes a reference to this book, you only write the reference, with the relevant page number: (Mill, J.S. 1869 p.--), as the book is already in the bibliography.

In the final version of the bibliography, entries are arranged in alphabetical order of author, and different works by the same author are arranged in date order.

Standard form of the Harvard system

The standard form for listing books in the Bibliography is:

Author's surname, Initial,   Year of edition you are using,   Title (underlined or in italics),   Place of publication,   Publisher.

For example:

Mill, J.S. 1843 A System of Logic Ratiocinative and Inductive, Longmans Green, London

The entries are then arranged alphabetically by author.

The standard form for a reference is:

(Author's surname, Year to match the one shown in the Bibliography, page number)

For example: (Mill, J.S. 1843 p.55).

The standard form for Harvard bibliographies and references can be adapted to anything else you might reference, like a video or a newspaper article.

We will not always have an author's name or date of publication to use. We need a term to stand in for whatever we use in these positions:

key word rule We will call the first word (usually author's surname) the key word

We will call the first number (usually date of publication) the key number

You can create key names and key numbers to stand in for the author's surname and the date of publication. For an example click here

The rule you must always follow is that:

the key word that you use in your references should always be the first word in the bibliography entry and every different key word/number combination needs a bibliography entry

For an example of the first point:

If "Study Document" is the keyword you use and 12 the key number:

(Study Document 12, p.5) in the references would have a corresponding bibliography entry:

Study Document 12, [Title of Document], [Publisher of Document]

This will enable the reader to identify in the bibliography what the reference refers to. The words and numbers act as the key to the bibliography.

same date twice: If Smith, J. has two books published in 1975, you need to mark them in a way that shows the difference. The usual way to do this is to call one Smith, J. 1975a and the other Smith, J. 1975b

Every distinct key word/key number combination in references, must have a corresponding entry in the bibliography. See how this works in the following example:

According to Robert Filmer "Kings are above the laws" (Filmer, R. 1680 p.93 quoted Roberts, A. 1997 p.48)

As this has two different key word/key number combinations, each must have an entry in the bibliography, so that the reader knows both what "Roberts, A. 1997" means and what "Filmer, R. 1680" means.


Filmer, R. 1680 Patriarcha or The Natural Power of Kings

Roberts, A. 1997, Social Science History, Middlesex University, London. Available at

This particular example is one where quote from one author is taken from another person's book. (see below)

There should be no references without a corresponding bibliography entry. See things you should never do

Referencing quotations from one author in another author's work

Referencing extracts from one author in another author's work

  • Great care needs to be taken in referencing quotations and extracts from one author that are taken from another author's work.

By quotations I mean passages from one author reproduced, in inverted commas, in the text of another author. I am distinguishing these from substantial (a few pages or more) passages (extracts) from an author reproduced in collections of extracts (often called "readers") and similar extracts that sometimes appear as examples in other books.

You want the person who reads your writing to understand what the original source is how to find the quote or extract in the source you used.

In your bibliography you will need to make an entry for each of the authors.

For example, imagine you want to use a you want to use quotation from the work of Thomas Hobbes used in Social Science History

In your bibliography you will need to make an entry for each of the authors. You will find the details of Hobbes and Locke's books in the bibliography of Social Science History. Your bibliography will include:


    Hobbes, T. 1651 Leviathan, or The Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil.

    Roberts, A. 1997, Social Science History, Middlesex University, London. Available at

Thomas Hobbes is quoted in paragraph 15 of chapter two of Social Science History. You want to use the quotation, making it clear that it is by Thomas Hobbes, but taken from Social Science History. This you can do by making the reference (Hobbes, T. 1651, quoted Roberts, A. 1997, ch.2, par. 15)

Extracts section needs revising

There are six pages from Locke's The Second Treatise of Government on pages 140 to 146 of Social Science History and you are making many references to this long extract. Instead of the above method, you could change the bibliography entry to:


    Hobbes, T. 1651 Leviathan, or The Matter, Form and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiastical and Civil.

    Locke, J. 1689 Two Treatises of Government, page numbers from the extract from the Second Treatise in Roberts, A. 1997

    Roberts, A. 1997, Social Science History, Middlesex University, London. Available at

The references to Locke can now be (Locke, J. 1689 p.-). The page numbers will be the page numbers from Social Science History, as that is the book with the extract.

Both the referencing examples, Hobbes and Locke have allowed your reader to see what the original was, and where you took it from. They have also allowed your reader to look up your reference in Roberts, A.

Just Referring to one author mentioned in another author's work

By referring to I mean mentioning without giving a reference to the original author. For example, if you say "A. Palmer refers to G. Pinker, who wrote about performing dogs", you might want the reader to know where A. Palmer made the reference, but you may not know the title or date of the original writer's work, or you may not consider it necessary to tell the reader. In this case you could just write

"A. Palmer refers to G. Pinker, who wrote about performing dogs
(Palmer, A. 19--, p.-)"

and just include the details of Palmer, A. in the bibliography:

Palmer, A. 19--, Title, Publisher

Referencing works where the publisher is not obvious

With publications that are not books, journals or newspapers with publishers traceable in reference books, it helps to give other details about where the work comes from and, sometimes, when you used it. Examples would be lectures, videos seen, and handouts and leaflets. This is one example, others will be found in the following sections.

Hill, J. 1997 Help for A level students taking Sociology. Lecture given at the Public Reading Rooms, Bumpstead, Birmingham. 28.3.1997. Student's notes.

Referencing works without a named author

There are a number of solutions to this problem.

Use organisation name: If a book is published by an organisation, without an author being named, you can use the organisation's name as the
key word. For example, you could make a bibliography entry for one of the library's helpsheets like this:

ILRS (Information and Learning Resource Services). Library helpsheet: Bibliography. Social Sciences. Middlesex University, No date. (Collected January 1999).

The reference could be (ILRS: Bibliography)

Use series name: Sometimes there is a numbered series name that you can use. This can be particularly helpful with respect to leaflets, videos, and similar works.

Sometimes it is more straightforward to use the series name and a series number, even if the author's name and date of publication are known. Here are some examples.

SHE Document 12. Marx and Engels. Scientific Socialism. (by Andrew Roberts, Enfield Campus, Middlesex University)

This would be referenced (SHE Document 12 p.-).

Strathclyde Study Patterns Video, Unit 10: If you are a mature student. (presented by Alex Main). University of Strathclyde Audio Visual Services. Glasgow. 1988 (Viewed in Enfield Resource Centre, Middlesex University)

This could be referenced (Strathclyde Video 10).

Use first word or words of the title: You can use the first word/s of the bibliography entry as the reference word key. You will usually begin the bibliography entry with a title. If so, the reference key will be the first word/s of the title. For example, if the bibliography entry is:

Grammatik Wordperfect Grammar Checker, Version 6.0a, 9.12.1994, Novell.

The reference could be (Grammatik 6.0a)

Referencing an article in a journal, magazine or newspaper

Sometimes the problem is that you need to show two titles and (possibly) an editor as well as an author. Here the issue to concentrate on is the order that you do this in and the way that you show the difference between the titles.

The general way to reference academic journals and chapters in books is well established. Referencing newspaper articles and non-academic journals requires more imagination on your part. It is often difficult for the reader to consult a newspaper or non academic journal article that is referenced, so I like to include, in the bibliography, any subtitle that describes the article.

When referencing an article in an academic journal, the form to follow is:

Author of article, date of journal, title of article in inverted commas, title of journal underlined or in italics, Volume of journal, Issue number, Page number of the journal that the article begins on, or pages it starts and finishes on. For example:

Fage, J.D. 1989 "African Societies and the Atlantic Slave Trade" Past and Present no. 125, November 1989 pp 97-115

The reference could be (Fage, J.D. 1989 p. -)

When referencing a newspaper article or non academic journal:

If you have the author's name, follow this form:

Author of article, date of newspaper or journal, title of article in inverted commas, title of newspaper or journal underlined or in italics, page number, column number.

For example:

Swanton, O. 14.4.1998 "Trouble in Paradise? As a top US university develops a cyber campus Oliver Swanton explores its aims." The Guardian Higher Education Supplement cols 1-5.

Graham-Rowe, D. 14.4.1998 "Duncan Graham-Rowe reports on the British scene" [About universities using cyber space for teaching] The Guardian Higher Education Supplement cols 1-5.

The references could be (Swanton, O. 14.4.1998) and (Graham-Rowe, D. 14.4.1998)

If you do not have the author's name for an article, this form can be used:

Title of newspaper or journal underlined or in italics, date of newspaper or journal, title of article in inverted commas, page number, column number if in a newspaper.

The references could be (title of newspaper/journal, date, p. -)

For example:

Hackney Today June 1998 (Issue 45) "Fifty Years on Windrush Season" (p.9); "Hudson's Choice. Hackney resident Martin Luther Hudson, now aged 79, was one of those aboard the Empire Windrush fifty years ago this month. Hackney Today hears his story (pp 10-11).

The references could be (Hackney Today June 1998 p.11).

Referencing articles (chapters) in edited books.

When books are collections of articles (chapters) by different authors, you need to show the author of the article (chapter), its title, the editor of the book and the book's title. This is the form to follow:

Author of article's surname, Initial/s, Year of publication, Title of article in single inverted commas, in Editor (Initial/s first), Title of book (underlined or in italics), Place of publication and publisher, page number article starts at (and, perhaps, finishes).

For example:

Higginson, G. 1990 'A levels and the future' in G. Parry and Wake (Editors) Access and Alternative Futures for Higher Education London: Hodder and Stoughton p.97

Articles in Encyclopedias

One way that is recommended by a number of people is to use the article name as the key word and the date of the encyclopedia as the key number:

For example:

(Sociology 1911) as an intext reference would relate to this bibliography entry:

Sociology 1911 "Sociology" article in LoveToKnow 1911 Online Encyclopedia (2003, 2004 LoveToKnow) available at

Flinders University gives examples like this

Set out a reference for an anonymously written article in this way:

Vitamin C deficiency 1982

With a corresponding bibliography entry:

Vitamin C deficiency 1982: "Vitamin C deficiency" article in The New Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th edition (1982), vol. 10, p. 469.

Or, if you can identify the article author, a reference like this:

Cole & Cole 1963 p.-

With a corresponding bibliography entry:

Cole, J. O. & Cole, K. G. 1963, 'Psychopharmacology' in the Encyclopedia of Mental Health, vol. 5, pp. 1654-1663.

read about networks for study Referencing the internet: Whatever system of referencing you use, you should provide more than a web address for internet referencing and you should not put the web address in the text, but in the bibliography.

When you provide information such as the author and title it enables the reader to search for the web page, even if the web address is changed. Here is the information provided by Susan Tyler Hitchcock for two of my web pages, in the bibliography of
Mad Mary Lamb, Lunacy and Murder in Literary London - I have updated the web address.

Roberts, Andrew, Mary and Charles Lamb Web site,
Roberts, Andrew, Mental Health History Timeline Web site,

Susan does not use the Harvard System for referencing this book (she uses numbers and endnotes), but the addition of a key number after the name would adapt her bibliography for Harvard referencing - see below.

Referencing internet electronic sources using the Harvard system

Based on the general standard form for the Harvard System, we construct a standard form for a web citation that can also be used for many other internet electronic resources. The standard form for a web bibliography entry (below) is the basic pattern that we adapt to deal with the many complexities of internet referencing. Like all Harvard referencing, it uses the key word/key number rule. This keeps our writing clear of titles and web addresses by putting them into the bibliography - not the references.

standard form for a web bibliography entry:

Author's surname, rest of name, date of document, Title of document,
<web address>, date accessed.

An example of this is:

Quinion, Michael B. 1996  Citing online sources. Advice on online citations formats  <>  (Accessed 10.1.1998)

The URL (Uniform Resource Locator) begins with a code for the type of access involved: "http://", "ftp://", "gopher://", etc.

If the document is dated internally, use that date for the citation. If there is no date given, use the date at which it was first accessed:

Quinion, Michael B.  (Accessed 10.1.1998)  Citing online sources. Advice on online citations formats   <>

The reference for this could be (Quinion, M.B. 10.1.1998)

To look at the web page this refers to,
click on its address below:

This is an example, following the same principles, but with a slightly different form, for an article on James Atherton's website:

ATHERTON J S (2002) Tools: Baking an essay [On-line] UK; Available: Accessed: 18 November 2003

If you learn the standard form for a Web citation it will help you with the many problems of internet referencing. These problems are because internet sources, unlike books, often do not have all the information the standard form asks for. Read on:

Web pages, like book pages, will need referencing in your essays. And, as with books, you should prepare for this as you read them, by writing down the details you will need. It is a good idea to record the following:

  • The web address. The web address of this page is:
    Can you see that it is recorded at the top of your browser?

  • The author. This is not always available. Look for it at the bottom of the page, or on the home page of the site. The author of this page is Andrew Roberts. Do you know how to find the home page of this site?

    Click here for an explanation of home page

  • The title. This is usually at the top of the page.

  • The organisation The page may be on the site of an organisation like a university, a company, or a society. This one is on Andrew Robert's web site at Middlesex University. Can you see how you would work that out? Try to work out the same for the other web sites you visit.

  • Any page date. Sometimes pages have the date that they were last updated on. It may be at the top or bottom. This page has not got one.

  • Access date. This is just date you looked at the page. Take a note of it marked "Access date". When the web page is not dated, you can use this as the key number.

The example below is of using this information when you do not have an author's name and date of publication. Click here to move on to advice about referencing pages on this site which do have this information

When it is not possible to find the author and/or date of a web page, you will need to be creative in your selection of a key word and key number. See the section on Referencing works without a named author

Here is an example as it applies to web pages:

You have searched for "Merton" with a search engine and you find a page with a summary of his ideas written by someone (unnamed) which has "Sociology at Hewett" at the bottom of the page. Clicking a link, you find this is Hewett School in Norfolk. There is no author's name and no date. You base part of an essay on this. How do you create a key word and number to reference it? You could use the name of the school and the date you accessed the website. I looked at it on 5.12.2003. So I could use (Hewett 5.12.2003) as the reference and enter this in the Bibliography:

Hewett 5.12.2003 Merton's Strain Theory on the Hewett School Website at <> Accessed 5.12.2003

If you use more than one page on the Hewett site you would need to use different access dates as the key for different pages.

Since I wrote the above, a copyright name has appeared on the home page. It is "S. Poore/The Hewett School". So an alternative bibliography entry could be:

Poore. S 28.12.2004 Merton's Strain Theory on the Hewett School Website at <> Accessed 28.12.2004

with (Poore. S 28.12.2004) as the reference.

Referencing when the author's name and a date are supplied

At the bottom of some of the pages on this site, I have put suggestions about how to reference them. Studying some of these may help you devise referencing systems for other people's sites. Here are some pages with suggestions. (The link will take you to the top, and you should scroll to the bottom)

People and Ideas Systems
Social Science History for budding theorists
Social Science Lectures
Social Science Dictionary
Science and Society Timeline


When printed documents of more than a page are referenced (cited), we give page numbers, or some other section reference, to direct the reader to the relevant part of the document.

Web documents are not usually paginated in this way. If you are referencing a quotation, this may not matter, as the reader can use the browser's "Find" command to trace the words you quote.

For other references it may matter a lot. You would not, for example, give much support to your interpretation of an author if your reference (citation) is to a whole chapter of a book. If you cannot secure a printed copy of the book (to use the page numbers in that), you could number the paragraphs on your web copy of the book, and use those instead of pages. An intext reference to (Bloggs, A. 1997, chapter 4, par. 50) is much more useful than one to (Bloggs, A. 1997, chapter 4).

Many of the books included on this site, as extracts or in full, have paragraph numbers added to help you reference.

Referencing Videos, audiotapes, CD-ROMS, programmes and computer software

The general principles are the same as for books. Here is a model:

Author's surname, initial(s), the year of publication, the title of the article or section, and the title of the complete work, including any version or edition numbers, and the series name (if applicable). List the publication medium in brackets and the location and name of publisher.

Zieger, H. (1992). Aldehyde. The Software Toolworks multimedia encyclopedia. (Version 1.5). Software Toolworks. [CD-ROM]. Boston: Grolier.

You will often need to use an organisation as the keyword.

Referencing television and wireless programmes

You can apply the same general principles as for books, but will have to decide what to use as the key word and how much detail to give about the programme. I think it makes references clearer if you give the date of transmission and the channel in the reference and the bibliography. Here are two suggestions:

Phillips, Trevor (Series producer) 1998 Windrush A series of four documentaries shown on BBC2 8pm-9pm Saturday 30.5.1998, 6.6.1998, 13.6.1998 and 20.6.1998. Accompanying web site:

A reference to something said in the third programme might be: (Phillips, T. BBC2 13.6.1998). The use of "BBC2" in the reference means the reader can see that the reference is to a television programme without looking in the bibliography.

Another form might be:

Secret History 20.7.1998 "Witch Hunt". Television documentary about the trial of Helen Duncan in 1944 under the 1735 Witchcraft Act. Shown on Channel 4 20.7.1998 9-10pm.

A reference to something said in this might be: (Secret History, Channel 4 20.7.1998)

Referencing computer software

List the author's name, if known, and the date of publication. If no author's name is given, list the title of the software, followed by the date of publication. Next list any version numbers or other identifying information, the publication medium, the place of publication, and the name of the publisher or distributor.

WordPerfect Version 6.1 for Windows. (1996). [Computer software]. Ottowa, Ontario: Corel.

If you understand the basic principles you will not make most of these mistakes

Things you do not do in the Harvard System:

There should be no references without a corresponding bibliography entry. (Bloggs, A. 1999 p.-) in the text, should have an entry for Bloggs, A. 1999 (title and publisher) in the bibliography.

Students who copy material instead of writing in their own words will often copy the references without crating a corresponding bibliography. This is why markers often check for plagiarism when they find references without corresponding bibliography entries.

Do not enter the same source several times in the bibliography The Harvard System economises your effort. Every time you enter an in-text reference (Bloggs, A. 1999 p.-) for example, the reader goes to the same bibliography entry to find out what it is.

Never omit the bibliography - in-text references are the key to the information in the bibliography

Do not provide a separate sheet of references, unless asked to

Do not divide your bibliography into sections The Harvard system puts the bibliography in alphabetical order so that readers can quickly locate the details indicated by the keywords/numbers. You should not undermine this by dividing it into (for example) books and internet references.

Do not number the bibliography entries or put bullet points by them This spoils the usefulness of the alphabetical ordering.

Do not write the title and publisher in the references. (They go in the bibliography)

Do not write a web address in the references. (It goes in the bibliography)

I have seen a suggestion that the web address could be used in the in-text reference when you do not know the author's name. This would be very cumbersome. The Harvard System uses a key word and number to avoid this problem. See example of how this is done with an internet reference when you cannot find the author.

Never write ibid or op.cit when using the Harvard System

ibid is short for ibidem, which is Latin for "in the same place". op. cit. is short for either opus citatum (the work quoted), or opere citato (in the work quoted). People who use the numbering system often use one (or more!) of these terms to save writing the details of the same book every time they reference it. If you see one of them, it means "hunt back until you can find the details in a previous reference". The Harvard system was created to avoid this problem.

Style and substance

This web resource has concentrated on the substance of referencing: The basic principles that help you to understand it.

I have not attempted to lay down a style - as would be required if you were writing an article for a journal. Styles may even be required by a university, although most are more concerned with the substance of referencing.

Style is about the exact form you use. Where do you put commas, for example? The two following examples of biography entries agree on substance, but differ in style. The first is an example from this website:

Mill, J.S. 1869 The Subjection of Women, Dent/Everyman edition 1985, London.

Carpentino, L.J. (1999). Nursing care plans and documentation: nursing diagnosis and collaborative problems. (3rd ed). Philadelphia: Lippincott.

The second example uses brackets round the key number (I do not know why) and more punctuation. It underlines the title rather than using italics. This is the way we usually use for handwriting, converting the handwriting to italics when material is typed or printed. It uses an abbreviation for edition. The only substantive difference between the two examples is the order of the place of publication and the publisher. Here, I think the second example may be the conventional order and the best to follow. On the other issues, I prefer my own style - What would you expect?

My thanks to Danish Sattar for the example
The weblinks may include ones that you find helpful respecting style


Reading the Numbering System

The Harvard System appears to have become the standard form of referencing for student essays and for theses at most Universities. [I would be pleased to receive comments on the accuracy of this statement, and on the advantages and disadvantages of both systems]

However, even those of us who use the Harvard System when writing, need to be able to read the numbering system in many books. We all, therefore, need to understand both systems.

The numbering system is also called the historical method. As this name indicates, it has been in use for a long time. You will find it used in many different forms and interpreting these, when you read, is a puzzle you need to solve to get the most out of the books that use it.

One major difference between the numbering system and the Harvard System is that the Harvard System is purely a referencing system, whilst the numbering system is sometimes used to provide notes as well as references.

Liverpool University has two sample pages showing the use of the numbering system in the text and in the bibliography

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Harvard system

key words and numbers

numbering system

same date twice

A naked draft
or essay
is embarrassed

Do not present
drafts or essays
without clothes

Give them a good
introduction and
reference them well