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Citing references

Guidance on citing references for students at the University of Reading

Citation examples

This page lists the details you will need to include when writing citations for various types of source material. The examples given are in a version of Harvard style (unless otherwise stated).

  • Brief refers to the way that a work would be cited either in the body of the text or in footnotes when using Harvard style.
  • Full refers to the way it would be cited in a bibliography or reference list when using Harvard style.

Check the referencing style your course prefers, and see Styles of referencing for more information on how you should format your citations. Even if your course prefers Harvard, this is a style rather than a set of rules, so details of punctuation may differ. Always check your course handbook for the exact formatting preferred in your dept (for instance, some depts prefer the date in brackets in the brief reference), and if there isn't a preferred format, choose one and use it throughout.

Note that, whatever the type of source, the title of the containing volume (i.e. the book, journal, collection etc) should always be marked out, usually by being put in italics but sometimes underlined. Whichever you use, be consistent and use the same formatting throughout your citations.

If the source you want to cite is not listed here, see Writing citations for tips on how to cite unusual sources. If you're still not sure, you could ask your Liaison Librarian or a Study Adviser:

The top five: 1. Book

Include information on editions and number of volumes if appropriate.

Full: Shriver, D.F. and Atkins, P.W. (1999). Inorganic chemistry. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Brief: Shriver and Atkins, 1999

Full: Friedman, M. ed. (1975). Protein nutritional quality of foods and feeds. New York: Marcel Dekker, 2 vols.

Brief: Friedman, 1975

The top five: 2. Journal article

Print copies of journal articles:

Include the page extent of the whole article when writing your full citation, not just the pages you have referred to.

Full: O’Gorman, E. (1999). Detective fiction and historical narrative. Greece and Rome. 46, 19-26.

Brief: O’Gorman, 1999

If there are more than three authors, for the brief citation you can just state the first author, followed by et al.

Full: Christie, D., Cassidy, C., Skinner, D. Coutts, N., Sinclair, C. Rimpilainen, S., and Wilson, A. (2007). Building collaborative communities of enquiry in educational research. Educational Research and Evaluation, 13 (3), 263-278.

Brief: Christie et al., 2007

Print journals accessed online:

If you access a journal article online (e.g. through JSTOR), but it is also available in print, use the same format for citation as above.

Online journals:

If the journal is ONLY available online, you should include the DOI or the URL. Note that online-only journal articles may not have page numbers:


Full: Farrell, L.G. (2013). Challenging assumptions about IT skills in higher education. Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education, 6. Available at[]=173&path[]=138.


Full: Lefeuvre, P., Martin,D.P., Harkins, G., Lemey, P., Gray, A.J., Meredith, S., Lakay, F., Monjane, A., Lett, J.M., Varsani,, A., Heydarnejad, J. (2010). The spread of tomato yellow leaf curl virus from the Middle East to the world. PLoS Pathogens. 6(10). E1001164. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001164.

The top five: 3. Chapter in an edited collection

Include the page extent of the whole chapter when writing your full citation, not just the pages you have referred to.

Full: Laurie, H. and Gershuny, J. (2000). Couples, work and money. In R. Berthoud and J. Gershuny (eds.). Seven years in the lives of British families, Bristol: Policy Press, pp. 25-37.

Brief: Laurie and Gershuny, 2000

The top five: 4. Website

Include the date accessed when you write your full citation.

If there is no named author, use whoever has responsibility for the webpage (e.g. an organisation, government department, or company).

You may be able to find a date by scrolling to the bottom of the page, but if there is none, use n.d. for not dated.

Full: Sherman, C. (2000). The invisible web. Online at, accessed 25 November 2007.

Brief: Sherman, 2000

Full: Biffa. (2008). Our environmental policy. Online at, accessed 9 January 2009.

Brief: Biffa, 2008

Full: Sport for all. (n.d.). Trampolining for the elderly. Online at http://www.sportforall/trampolining/elderly, accessed 12 July 2014.

Brief: Sport for all, n.d.

Have a look at this Study Advice video tutorial (the link will take you to an external website):

The top five: 5. A cited source

A cited source is when the author of the text you are reading quotes someone else, and you want to use the quote that they use in your work.

Different depts may have different preferred ways of doing this, so do check any advice you are given or ask your course tutor if you are not sure. Otherwise, this is general guidance.

If possible, you should always try to read the original of anything you wish to refer to. Otherwise you are relying on the author who cited the reference to have interpreted it correctly and not taken it out of context.

If you do read the original, you should include a citation to both sources in your bibliography or reference list, and your brief citation should cite both texts:

Full: Bender, A.E. (1978). Food processing and nutrition. London: Academic Press.

Full: Chang, I. C. L. (1952) The fatty acid content of meat and poultry before and after cooking. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 29, 334-378.

Brief: Chang, 1952. Also cited in Bender, 1978.

If you cannot read the original, you should only list the source you have actually read in your bibliography or reference list:

Full:   Bender, A.E. (1978). Food processing and nutrition. London: Academic Press.

Brief: Chang, 1952 cited in Bender, 1978.      

Archival material

You should include as many of the following elements as are available:

  1. Author, initials.
  2. Year.
  3. Title of document.
  4. Material type in square brackets e.g. Manuscript
  5. Collection.
  6. Document number.
  7. Geographical Town/Place
  8. Name of Library/Archive/Repository.
Brown, P.S. (1915). An address to the Farmer. [Manuscript]. Holdbury Collection. 600. London. Holdbury Library.


Artworks (as primary sources)

If you are referring to artworks directly (rather than to images of them that you have found in books, catalogues or the internet, for instance), you will usually include a full citation for them at the start of your bibliography in a separate list of Primary Sources.

You should include the following elements

  1. Creator/s of the artwork.
  2. Year it was created.
  3. Title of artwork.
  4. Type of artwork (e.g. Sculpture, Mixed-media, Video installation, Oil on canvas, etc) in square brackets
  5. Collection it belongs to.
  6. Location of collection.


Cedar, M. (1938). Mars at night. [Sculpture]. Manor Art Gallery, Manchester.

In the body of the text you will always refer to the artwork directly, so can build your citation into your sentence and do not need to use a brief in-text citation.


In Cedar’s 1938 piece, Mars at night, the mythological aspects of his work are foregrounded.

The Bible

You should include the following elements:
  1. the book
  2. the chapter
  3. verse


Matthew 5: 3

Conference papers

You should include the following elements:
  1. Author'(s) surname(s) and initials
  2. Year of publication
  3. Title of paper
  4. Title of conference proceedings
  5. Date of conference
  6. Location of conference
  7. Page numbers
  8. Place of publication
  9. Publisher of proceedings


Jones, J. (1994). Polymer blends based on compact disc scrap, in Proceedings of the Annual Technical Conference - Society of Plastics Engineers, May 1-5, 1994, San Francisco, 2865-2867. Brookfield, CT: Society of Plastics Engineers.

E-book or e-journal article

It is important to make it clear that you are referencing an e-book edition rather than a print edition of a book as the page numbers may be different. However it is usually sufficient to write the citation as you would for the print version, adding [e-book] after the title.

With e-journal articles, how you cite will depend on whether the journal is only published online, or if it is a print journal that has been uploaded for electronic access. You can usually tell the difference by looking for page numbers.

If each article in the journal has a wide range of page numbers (for instance, 355-363), it is likely to be a print journal that has been scanned or uploaded for electronic access. This would be the case for journals accessed through JSTOR, for instance. These should be cited as print journal articles, and the URL or DOI should NOT be included in the citation.

If each article in the journal begins at page 1, or has no page number at all, it is likely to be an online-only journal. These citations should include the DOI or the URL , e.g.

Lefeuvre, P., Martin, D.P., Harkins, G., Lemey, P., Gray, A.J., Meredith, S., Lakay, F., Monjane, A., Lett, J.M., Varsani, A., Heydarnejad, J. (2010). The spread of tomato yellow leaf curl virus from the Middle East to the world. PLoS Pathogens. 6(10). E1001164. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1001164.


Wyke, M. (1999). Ancient Rome and the traditions of film history. Screening the Past 6. Online at

Government or corporate body publication

You should include the following elements:
  1. Name of issuing body
  2. Year
  3. Title
  4. Place of publication
  5. Publisher
  6. Report number


World Meteorological Organization. (1997). The world's water: is there enough? Geneva: World Meteorological Organization: Unesco. WMO no. 857


Images that you have copied from books, websites and other texts should be referenced in the same way that you would any other material, with the appropriate formatting for the text they have been sourced from. Give an in-text citation (i.e. in brackets or footnotes, depending on the style you are using) at the place where they are included in your writing and a full citation in the bibliography or reference list for the text you got them from. This includes graphs and tables, as well as illustrations and photographs. Like a direct quote, the image will have come from a specific place. So if it is in a book or journal, you should include a page or plate number.

Give the image a caption, with a figure number, title and the reference. The image on the right shows how this would look if you were referencing in Harvard style and using brackets rather than footnotes. When you refer to it in your writing, use the figure number. 

Referring to figures in a sentence:

There was a peak in the number of students studying computing in 2002-03 but this has fallen in recent years (see Figure 4).

Full details for bibliography:

Ghosh, P. (2006). Computer industry ‘faces crisis’, BBC News. Online at, accessed 30/10/15.

If the image is one you have created yourself, give a figure number and title in the caption and add (Source: the author) to show that it is your own work. The image on the left shows how you would do this; it is the same whichever style of referencing you are using. You do not need to include it in the bibliography.

Legal and Parliamentary documents

If you are studying Law, you will be expected to use the OSCOLA system of referencing. You will have advice on this from your School, and can also get advice from your Academic Liaison Librarian, Gordon Connell.

If you are not studying Law, but need to refer to legal or Parliamentary documents, these examples give acceptable citation formats for commonly used materials. Note that these are the formats used for citations at the place in your text where you refer to the source (either in brackets or in footnotes): you do not need to add them to your reference list or bibliography.

It is worth noting that there is no single definitive way of referring to some types of document. The important thing is to decide on a format and apply it consistently throughout your assignment.

If the material you are using is not listed here, you can consult your tutor for your department's preferred style, or speak to a Study Adviser or Liaison librarian.

You should include the following elements:

Hansard (proceedings of the House of Commons/House of Lords)

  1. HC for House of Commons, or HL for House of Lords, followed by Deb (for debate)
  2. Date of proceedings
  3. Volume number (use Vol)
  4. Column number (use c, or cc for multiple columns)


HC Deb 31 March 1944 vol 398 C.C.

If you need to distinguish between general debates and written answers, add W after the column number (for House of Commons, or WA before the number (for House of Lords)


HC Deb 4 July 1996, vol 280, c505W

HL Deb 21 July 2005, vol 673, cWA261

An Act of the House of Commons

  1. Name
  2. Year


Companies Act 1985

A point in an Act

  1. Name
  2. Year
  3. Section


Companies Act 1985, s. 6

Literary text

These examples use Harvard style. If you are studying in English Literature, you will have separate guidance from your department on using MHRA style for referencing, so please refer to that.

Literary works are often reprinted (separately or in anthologies) which may have an effect on the pagination, so you will need to make it clear which edition or collection you have been working from. Note that if you need to repeatedly refer to or quote from the same single text, you can use page or line numbers only for the in-text citation after the first mention. If you are referring to more than one work, you will need to make it clear when you change the text you are discussing.

A novel

  1. Name of author
  2. Year of original publication
  3. Title
  4. Details of edition and/or reprinting date
  5. Place of publication
  6. Name of publisher


Atwood, Margaret (1972). Surfacing. Reprinted 1987. New York: Fawcett.


An example of the individual alienation that can follow political separation can be found in Margaret Atwood's Surfacing (1972).

A poem

Poems are often published in single or multiple author collections, so in your full citation you need to show both the details of the poem and the text it is published in.

When you refer to the poem in your text, include the line number(s) if you are referring to a specific line or lines.

  1. Name of author
  2. Date of original publication
  3. Title of poem
  4. Editor of the collection (if applicable)
  5. Date of publication of the collection
  6. Title of the collection in which the poem was published
  7. Place of publication
  8. Name of publisher


Orr, James (c.1798). Humanity. In Basker, J. (ed.) (2002). Amazing grace: an anthology of poems about slavery, 1660-1810. New Haven: Yale University Press.


In Orr's poem Humanity, contemporary attitudes to skin colour are clearly drawn in the reference to a "faulty hue" (l. 12).

A play

Use act (in Roman numerals), scene and line numbers where available or page numbers when referring to a specific line or quoting. If you are quoting a full line (or more) of dialogue, you will need to indent the quote, and include the names of speakers and any stage directions.

  1. Name of author
  2. Date of original publication
  3. Title of play
  4. Details of edition or reprinting date
  5. Place of publication
  6. Name of publisher


Stoppard, Tom (1968), The real Inspector Hound, 2nd ed (published 1970), London: Faber and Faber.


In Tom Stoppard's 1968 play, The real Inspector Hound, self-consciousness is explicit through the wordplay which characterises the dialogue:

MOON (clears throat): Let me at once say that it has élan while at the same time avoiding éclat. Having said that, and I think it must be said, I am bound to ask - does this play know where it is going? (28)


You should include the following elements:
  1. Name of author or issuing body
  2. Year
  3. Title of map (including the sheet number if part of a series)
  4. Edition if not the first
  5. Scale (give as a ratio if possible eg 1:25 000)
  6. Title of map series if appropriate
  7. Place of publication
  8. Publisher
Note that if you are using Digimap to generate your map, you will need to replace [7] and [8] with the way that the map was generated and the URL, with the date accessed (see example below).


Ordnance Survey. (2002). Sheet 175, Reading & Windsor: Henley-on-Thames & Bracknell. Ed.C1. 1:50 000. OS Landranger map. Southampton: Ordnance Survey.

International Travel Maps. (2006). Alps. 1:750 000. Vancouver, B.C.: ITMB Publishing.

Dower, J. (1832). A map shewing the parliamentary representation of England & Wales, according as the same are settled by the Reform Act passed 7th June 1832. 1 inch to 35 miles. London: J. Gardner.

Ordnance Survey. (2014). Whiteknights, Reading. 1:10 000. Generated by J. Bloggs; using Ordnance Survey Digimap. URL: [20 June 2014].

If you have any queries about citing maps, contact Judith Fox, Map Librarian

Market Research Report

Full: Organisation / author. (Date of publication). Title of report. Available at: URL (if you have to login with a username and password to access the report, then use the homepage of the database or a permalink) 

Eg. Mintel. (2019). Sports and energy drinks – UK. Available at:   

Brief: Mintel, 2019

Newspaper article

You should include the following elements
  1. Author’(s) surname and initials if known or title of newspaper if not.
  2. Year of publication
  3. Title of article
  4. Title of newspaper
  5. Day and month
  6. Page number(s) and column letter


Guardian. (2005). Emotive words linked to asthma. Guardian, 31 August, 4d.


You need to provide the name of the collection of inscriptions or papyri, the volume number, and the number assigned to the inscription in question. Most of the epigraphical and papyrological collections are referred to in scholarly works by an abbreviated version of their titles (e.g. Inscriptiones Graecae = IG, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum = CIL, Oxyrhynchus Papyri = P.Oxy.). If you choose to do so as well, you must include a list of abbreviations at the beginning of your paper, after the title page and before the main text, and on its own separate page.

e.g. IG II 204


You should include the following elements:
  1. Name of the patent holder (usually a company)
  2. Year the patent came into force, in brackets
  3. Title of the patent
  4. Country granting the patent
  5. Patent number


National Starch and Chemical Corp. (1989). Degradation of granular starch. US Patent: us 4838944.

Personal communications

If you have obtained information through a personal communication (e.g. an interview, phone call, email or conversation), you do not need to include it in your bibliography or reference list. However you should acknowledge it as a source. A good way to do this is by adding a footnote with the details, e.g.:

In an email to the author, Barry Purves acknowledged the influence his Classics degree had had on the animation.1

1 B. Purves, personal communication, 20 July 2005.

If you prefer, you can abbreviate to pers.comm.

Radio, television programme or film

Radio/television programme

You should include the following elements:
  1. Title of programme
  2. Name of person quoted
  3. Year
  4. Episode in Series
  5. Network
  6. Date of transmission and time, if known


Yes, Prime Minister. (1986). Episode 1, The Ministerial Broadcast, BBC2, 16 Jan.

Blair, Tony. (1997). Interview. In: Panorama, BBC1, 3 Mar. 2200 hrs.

You should include the following elements:
  1. Director, surname and forename(s)
  2. Date of production, in brackets
  3. Title of film, in italics
  4. Country of production
  5. Production company and distributor if known


Ford, John. (1956). The Searchers. USA. C.V. Witney Picture. Warner Brothers.


You should include the following elements:
  1. Name of issuing body
  2. Year
  3. Number and title of standard
  4. Place of publication (if in print)
  5. Publisher (if in print)
  6. URL (if online)
  7. Date accessed (if online)


Print standard:

British Standards Institution. (2004). BSEN1995-1-2:2004: Design of timber structures. London: British Standards Institution.

Online standard

British Standards Institution. (2004). BSEN1995-1-2:2004: Design of timber structures. URL: [26 November 2019]

Technical report

You should include the following elements:
  1. Author'(s) surname(s) and initials
  2. Year of publication
  3. Title of the report
  4. Name of the organization
  5. Place of publication
  6. Report number


Rabinowicz, E., Thomson, K.J. and Nalin, E. (2001). Subsidiarity, the CAP and EU enlargement. Swedish Institute for Food and Agricultural Economics: Lund (Sweden). 2001:3


You should include the following elements:
  1. Name of author
  2. Year of publication
  3. Title of thesis
  4. Type of degree (eg Ph.D. or M.Sc.)
  5. Name of the University
  6. Country


Droth, M.S. (2000). The statuette and the role of the ornamental in late nineteenth century sculpture. Ph.D. Thesis. Reading University: U.K.