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Museum studies: Citing references

A guide to finding information in museum studies. 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.

Museum studies uses Harvard referencing. For general information on referencing, including how to reference, and an explanation of different citation systems, see our Citing references guide. Further guidance regarding Harvard referencing is in the 'Citations examples and further help' section, below.

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.

Citation examples and further help

Museum Studies uses the Harvard referencing system. This is an adaptable referencing system, using author-date in-text citations, and you may see slight differences between the Harvard style used by one University Department, compared with another. The key is to stick with one version and be consistent.

This box contains reference examples of the most common publication types, using the Cite them right version of Harvard. For further help with citing specific types of publication, contact your Academic Liaison Librarian or consult Cite them right online (see below).  A print and e-book version is also available via the library catalogue, Enterprise.

Book with a single author

Citation in the text:            Smith (2006) stated….. or “…value of such works lies in their capacity to challenge" (Smith, 2006, p. 26).

Reference in the bibliography:     

Smith, L. (2006) Uses of heritage. Abingdon: Routledge.

Book chapter

Citation in the text:               “….. (Arnold, 2005).”

Reference in the bibliography:    

Arnold, D. (2005) 'Unlearning the images of archaeology', in Smiles, S. & Moser, S. (eds.) Envisioning the past: archaeology and the image. Malden, MA: Blackwell, pp. 92-114.

Please note that the journal issue number within a volume (if needed) is within brackets. For online articles, there is no need to give the DOI or URL, unless the article is only available online.

Journal article with a single author (available in print and online)

Citation in the text:        ... (Moser, 2003)

Reference in the bibliography:   

Moser, S. (2003) 'Representing archaeological knowledge in museums: exhibiting human origins and strategies for change', Public Archaeology 3(1), pp. 3-20.

Journal article with a single author (available online only)

MacDonald, S. (2005) 'Accessing audiences: visiting visitor books', Museum and Society 3(3), pp. 119-136. Available at: (Accessed: 17 June 2021).

You should avoid citing webpages unless you are clear of their quality and suitability for inclusion in academic work. See the 'Websites' tab within this guide for more information on evaluating webpages.

Where citation of a web-based source is necessary, adopt the following format and citation order in the Bibliography:

Author/Organisation [if identifiable] (year) Title of article/webpage [in italics]. Available at: http: // internet address (Accessed: Day Month Year). 

The citation in the text should be by author and date, as with other sources, though problems can occur where there is no obvious author (see below).     

Can't identify the author?

If no person is named as the author, but you can identify the organisation responsible for the website, then use their name as the author e.g. Museums Association. If this is not possible, use the page title or an abbreviation thereof.

Citation in the text:    “….. (Museums Association, 2015)

Reference in the bibliography:    

Museums Association (2015) Code of ethics for museums. Available at: (Accessed 17 June 2021)

Can't tell what date is was created or updated?

Look for an updated date at the foot of the page. If you can’t find one, then use the year you accessed the information.

When citing someone’s work in your assignments you should include the author(s) and year of publication in brackets in the text, e.g.

(Gibson, 2010)

The citation must be within the sentence to which it refers, usually either at the beginning or end of the sentence unless a comparison is being made, in which case the authors concerned must be cited as appropriate within the sentence.

When referring to edited, multi-authored books, just cite the author(s) of that chapter and only include the editor(s) in the full reference in the bibliography.
If two or more sources are cited within a sentence then they should be cited in date priority, e.g. (Williams, 1949; Evans, 1969; Jones, 1999).

If there are two references for the same author in the same year then use a letter postscript, e.g. 2009a, 2009b, etc in your citation and in the reference list/bibliography.

All references cited in the text should be listed in the 'Bibliography'. They should be listed in alphabetical order by author.


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: