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History: Citing references

A guide to finding information in history. Includes links to key resources and sources of help.

Whenever you refer to another person's work in your own essay, dissertation or article you must acknowledge them and give full details of your source. You risk being accused of plagiarism if you fail to do so.

The Department of History uses the Oxford referencing style, which uses footnotes. The Department provides some examples of how to use this style for different types of sources, below. For general information on referencing, including how to reference, and an explanation of different citation systems, see our Citing references guide.

For help with citing specific types of publication contact your Academic Liaison Librarian, Charlie Carpenter.

For advice on using references in your work, and how to use them to support your arguments, consult the guidance on the Study Advice website or make an appointment with them.

Get help from your liaison librarian

EndNote

EndNote logoWhen you do your dissertation you could consider using EndNote to manage your references. This bibliographic management package can be used to store references, and then insert the citation in your Word document, automatically building the bibliography for you in the correct style.

Find out more on our EndNote webpages:

For information on other options for electronic management of your references see our guide to Managing references:

Citation examples

Printed sources (books)

The Basics:

Author, Title of the Book (Place of Publication, Date of Publication), p. page number [or pp. for multiple pages]

The publication date you give should be the date of that edition of the book and not the original date of publication (unless this is the same).

Example (first footnote):

T. Paine, The Rights of Man: Being an Answer to Mr. Burke's Attack on the French Revolution (Auckland, 2010), p. 20.

Example (additional footnotes):

T. Paine, The Rights of Man, p. 20.

Example (bibliography)

Paine, T., The Rights of Man: Being an Answer to Mr. Burke's Attack on the French Revolution (Auckland, 2010).

Printed Sources (e.g. edited/translated books)

The Basics:

Original Author, Title of the Book, Editor(s) and/or Translator(s) (ed. and/or trans.) (Place of Publication, Date of Publication), p. page number [or pp. for multiple pages]

Example (first footnote):

Geoffrey of Burton, The Life and Miracles of St Modwenna, R. Bartlett (ed. and trans.) (Oxford, 2002), p. 185.

Example (additional footnotes):

Geoffrey of Burton, The Life and Miracles of St Modwenna, p. 185.

Example (bibliography):

Geoffrey of Burton, The Life and Miracles of St Modwenna, R. Bartlett (ed. and trans.) (Oxford, 2002).

Notes:

Use ‘ed.’ for one editor and ‘eds.’ when there are two or more editors.

If you don’t know the original author, then start with the title of the work.

Primary materials (e.g. manuscripts, images, objects etc.)

Manuscripts

The Basics:

Location of Archive/Collection, Name of Archive/Collection, Manuscript reference [MS. stands for manuscript], folio(s)/page(s) [folio takes the place of page depending on manuscript = p./pp. or fol./fols.]

Example (first footnote):

London, British Library, MS. Harley 5294, fol. 9v.

Example (additional footnotes):

British Library, MS. Harley 5294, fol. 9v.

Example (bibliography):

London, British Library, MS. Harley 5294.

Material Objects (including artwork):

The Basics

Artist, Description of Object/Item, Place of Creation (Date of Object/Item) [provide as much of the information here as possible], Location of Archive/Collection, Name of Archive/Collection, Object/Item reference.

Example (first footnote):

Reliquary of St Thomas Becket, Limoges (c. 1210), London, British Museum, 1878,1101.3.

Example (additional footnotes):

Reliquary of St Thomas Becket, British Museum, 1878,1101.3.

Example (bibliography):

London, British Museum, 1878,1101.3.

OR

Example (first footnote):

Unknown Artist, Portrait of Henry II of England, Oil on Panel (1597-1618), London, National Portrait Gallery, NPG 4980(4).

Example (additional footnotes):

Portrait of Henry II of England, National Portrait Gallery, NPG 4980(4).

Example (bibliography):

London, National Portrait Gallery, NPG 4980(4).

Images from Online

The Basics

Artist, Description of Object/Item, Place of Creation (Date of Object/Item) [provide as much of the information here as possible], Location of Archive/Collection, Name of Archive/Collection, Object/Item reference [if this information is provided on the website], via Author, ‘Title of Blog’, Date Published/Uploaded [if relevant, i.e. on a blog], Website Name [website] <URL> (date you accessed the page).

Example (first footnote):

Effigy of Edward ‘the Black Prince’, Canterbury Cathedral, via Wikimedia [website] <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tumba_del_%22Pr%C3%ADncipe_Negro%22_3.jpg> (accessed 15 September 2019).

Example (additional footnotes):

Effigy of Edward ‘the Black Prince’, via Wikimedia.

Example (bibliography):

Effigy of Edward ‘the Black Prince’, Canterbury Cathedral, via Wikimedia [website] <https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tumba_del_%22Pr%C3%ADncipe_Negro%22_3.jpg> (accessed 15 September 2019).

OR

Example (first footnote):

Charm against plague from Leech Book I, London, Wellcome Collection MS 404, via J. Edge, ‘Diagnosing the Past’, 26 September 2018, Wellcome Collection [website] <https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/W5D4eR4AACIArLL8> (accessed 15 September 2019).

Example (additional footnotes):

Charm against plague from Leech Book I, via J. Edge, ‘Diagnosing the Past’.

Example (bibliography):

Edge, J., ‘Diagnosing the Past’, 26 September 2018, Wellcome Collection [website] <https://wellcomecollection.org/articles/W5D4eR4AACIArLL8> (accessed 15 September 2019).

Books

The Basics:

Author, Title of the Book, (Place of Publication, Date of Publication), p. page number [or pp. for multiple pages]

Example (first footnote):

R. Foxley, The Levellers: Radical Political Thought in the English Revolution (Manchester, 2013), p. 23.

Example (additional footnotes):

Foxley, The Levellers, p. 23.

Example (bibliography):

Foxley, R., The Levellers: Radical Political Thought in the English Revolution (Manchester, 2013).

Notes:

If there are up to 3 authors, then name all the authors.

If there are more than 3 authors, then name the first (lead) author and then use ‘et. al.’ to highlight the contribution of others.

If the book has been translated, then add the name of the translator(s) between the book’s title and the publication information.

Books (edited volumes)

The Basics:

Editor (ed.), Title of the Book, (Place of Publication, Date of Publication), p. page number [or pp. for multiple pages]

Example (first footnote):

N. Saul (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England (Oxford, 2000), p. v.

Example (additional footnotes):

The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England, p. v.

Example (bibliography):

Saul, N. (ed.), The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England, (Oxford, 2000).

Note:

If there are up to 3 editors, then name all the editors (if there more than 3 use name the main editor and then use ‘et. al.’, as above)

E-Books

If the e-book is the same as the hard copy (i.e. it is an electronic version of the hard copy with the same page numbers, publication date etc.) then you can cite this as a normal book. BUT, if the e-book differs from the hard copy (e.g. it does not follow the same page numbers as the hard copy) then you need to make it clear that you used the e-book:

The Basics:

[Reference to Book/Edited Volume – as shown above for a hard copy], via Name of Online Database/Website used to access the book [website] <URL> (date you accessed this page).

Example (first footnote):

H. Newton, The Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580-1720 (Oxford, 2012), pp. 43-45, via Oxford Scholarship Online [website] <https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199650491.001.0001/acprof-9780199650491> (accessed 14 September 2019).

Example (additional footnotes):

Newton, The Sick Child, pp. 43-45.

Example (bibliography):

Newton, H., The Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580-1720 (Oxford, 2012), pp. 43-45, via Oxford Scholarship Online [website] <https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199650491.001.0001/acprof-9780199650491> (accessed 14 September 2019).

Chapter/articles (in edited volumes)

The Basics:

Author, ‘Title of the Article/Chapter’, in Title of the Book, Editor (ed.) (Place of Publication, Date of Publication), p. page number [or pp. for multiple pages]

Example (first footnote):

T. Licence, ‘Public Spectacle’, in J. Crick and E. van Houts (eds.), A Social History of England, 900-1200 (Cambridge, 2011), pp. 321-29, 322.

Example (additional footnotes):

Licence, ‘Public Spectacle’, p. 322.

Example (bibliography):

Licence, T., ‘Public Spectacle’, in Crick, J. and van Houts, E. (eds.), A Social History of England, 900-1200 (Cambridge, 2011), pp. 321-29.

Articles (in journals)

The Basics:

Author, ‘Title of the Article’, Name of the Journal, vol. volume number (Date of Publication), p. page number [or pp. for multiple pages]

In the first footnote and in the bibliography provide the page numbers for the entire article (and the specific page number for the citation too in the footnote)

Example (first footnote):

M. Worley, ‘‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’: Class Locality and British Punk’, Twentieth Century British History, vol. 24 (2013), pp. 606-636, 23-25.

Example (additional footnotes):

Worley, ‘'Oi! Oi! Oi!’, pp. 23-25.

Example (bibliography):

Worley, M., ‘‘Oi! Oi! Oi!’: Class Locality and British Punk’, Twentieth Century British History, vol. 24 (2013), pp. 606-636.

Note:

If there are up to 3 authors, then name all the editors (if there more than 3 use name the main author and then use ‘et. al.’, as above).

Websites/webpages

You should avoid citing webpages unless you are clear of their quality and suitability for inclusion in academic work. See the link at the bottom of the page for more information about evaluating webpages. 

The Basics:

Author, ‘Title of Article/Page’, Date Published/Uploaded, via Name of Website [website] <URL> (date you accessed this page).

Example (first footnote):

A. Bovey, ‘Inside the Walls: Exploring Medieval Towns’, 30 April 2015, via The British Library [website] <https://www.bl.uk/the-middle-ages/articles/inside-the-walls-exploring-towns-in-the-middle-ages> (accessed 15 September 2019).

Example (additional footnotes):

Bovey, ‘Inside the Walls’.

Example (bibliography):

Bovey, A., ‘Inside the Walls: Exploring Medieval Towns’, 30 April 2015, via The British Library [website] <https://www.bl.uk/the-middle-ages/articles/inside-the-walls-exploring-towns-in-the-middle-ages> (accessed 15 September 2019).

Notes:

For internet resources, the same rules as given above apply regarding multiple authors and/or edited volumes.

Your bibliography should be divided into two parts: ‘Primary Material’ and ‘Secondary Literature’. Under these two headings you might wish to use further subheadings to separate different forms of material, such as 'Manuscript Sources' and 'Printed Sources' under 'Primary Materials' or 'Printed Sources' and 'Internet Resources' under 'Secondary Works'.

Organise your bibliography alphabetically – usually this is done by the author’s surname. Exceptions to this are:

  • with certain primary materials whose authors are known by a title and not a surname, you use the first letter of the author’s first name (e.g. William of Malmesbury = W)
  • with anonymous works, or where there is no named author (e.g. a collection of documents) – use the first letter of the title or use ‘Anon.’

When listing several works by the same author, you should list them by date of publication (starting with the first to be published).

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