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Convencions formals
Bibliographical references (for texts in English)

General guidelines

Bibliographical references are a common and important feature of academic texts. They are used to identify the sources of specific data and opinions cited by an author, to avoid charges of plagiarism and to indicate resources for additional information and reading. To this end, they should be used whether one is directly quoting other authors or summarizing or paraphrasing their words and ideas. Moreover, they must provide all the information needed for the reader to find each source in a clear and internally consistent manner. This notwithstanding, it is not always possible to apply all the rules of a chosen referencing system to each reference (eg when a certain piece of information is not available for a given source). In such cases, do your best to maximize consistency with the other references and to ensure overall reader comprehension.

Multiple valid referencing systems exist (APA, MLA, etc) and preferences vary both from field to field and from journal to journal. When writing for a journal, you should respect the guidelines set. For example, Digithum recommends ISO 690. Here we offer general guidelines for bibliographical references and citations for when none of the aforementioned systems have been stipulated.

General structure for references

Author surname, initial(s) or name (year of publication). Title of the book (edition, translation of, vol., pp.). Place of publication: Publisher ("Collection", no.).

Author surname, initial(s) or name (year of publication). "Title of the article". Name of the publication (issue, month, pp.). Place of publication.

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Where there is more than one author, separate their names with a semicolon.

Hanson, C.; Gurr, A. (1981). Katherine Mansfield. London: Macmillan.

When the author cited is the editor, coordinador, director, etc, place the corresponding abbreviation in lowercase and in brackets just after their name.

Bold, V. (ed.) (2001). Smeddum: A Lewis Grassic Gibbon Anthology. Edinburgh: Canongate.

If the authors' names used are their full names, respect this (ie Wilks, Paul, not Wilks, P.) provided they are used coherently in a list. In other words, if there are examples of full names and of initials, use either only full names or only initials.

The order of the surname and name is only reversed in the bibliography and only at the start of the entry, as this aids ordering the entries alphabetically. The order does not need to be reversed if the author's name is repeated or if other authors are cited, nor if the bibliography is not in alphabetical order.

Aronson, Arnold (2000). "The Scenography of Chekhov". In: Vera Gottlieb and Paul Allain (eds.). The Cambridge Companion to Chekhov. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Thus, when providing references anywhere outside of the bibliography, you need not invert the order of surname and name.

"The individual must be born to learn; and all the individuals must be born to learn the same things."
James M. Baldwin (1902). Social and ethical interpretations in mental development. New York: Macmillan.

When the same author is referred to more than once in succession or when their name needs to be repeated in the same reference, write the full name again; do not use an en- or em-dash.

To refer to a collective work without giving the names of the authors, use the expression Various authors; do not use an abbreviation.

If there are more than three authors, give at most the first three and then write and others in normal script or et al. in italic.

When authorship is not clear or when the author and publisher is one and the same, refer to the work directly by its title.

ISO 690: Information and documentation - Guidelines for bibliographic references and citations to information resources (2010). International Organization for Standardization.

Macmillan English dictionary for advanced learners (2002). Oxford: Macmillan Education.


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The year of publication is written right after the author's name. In some cases, one reference may have two years; the first is for the first edition, and the second for the source used. In these cases, the information can be shown in two different ways, as preferred.

Broadbent, Donald E. (1969). Perception and communication (original ed. 1954). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

Broadbent, Donald E. (1954). Perception and communication. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1969.

Usually, however, the number of the edition consulted is given (if it is the first edition, this is not required) after the title of the work in brackets and with an abbreviated ordinal number.

Tonomura, Akira (1999). Electron Holography (2nd, enlarged ed.). Berlin: Springer.


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The title and, where applicable, the subtitle of a work are included in the corresponding reference and in italic.

Where applicable, you may include the corresponding translation of the title of a work written in another language after the original in square brackets and single quotation marks.

Kuhl, Julius (1983). Motivation, Konflikt und Handlungskontrolle ['Motivation, Conflict and Action Control']. Berlin / New York: Springer-Verlag.

Book chapters are written in normal script (not italic) and quotation marks.

Feaver, V. (2002). "Elizabeth Bishop: The Reclamation of Female Space", in L. Anderson and J. Shapcott (eds). Elizabeth Bishop: Poet of the Periphery (pp. 87–102). Newcastle upon Tyne: University of Newcastle / Bloodaxe.


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Publisher and place of publication

If the work is published by two or more institutions, separate them with a slash.

McKendrick, J. (2002). "Bishop’s Birds", in L. Anderson and J. Shapcott (eds). Elizabeth Bishop: Poet of the Periphery (pp. 87–102). Newcastle upon Tyne: University of Newcastle / Bloodaxe.

The names of collections are written in quotation marks and in title case (capitalizing the first and last words, and all functions words in between).

Tan, See Seng (2013). The Making of the Asia Pacific. Knowledge Brokers and Politics of Representation. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press ("IIAS Publication Series").

Gillespie, R.; Gray, C. (eds.) (2015). Contesting Spain? The Dynamics of Nationalist Movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country. Abingdon: Routledge ("Europa Country Perspectives").

The names of the places of publication should be translated and, if there are two or more, they need to be separated by a slash.

Coarelli, Filippo (1980). Roma. Rome / Bari: Laterza.

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Works in another language

When citing works from another language, cite the original name in its exact format, and where useful to the reader, provide a translation in square brackets using title case.

At the recent Conscincia Reformulada ['Consciousness Reframed'] conference, in a paper titled "Ni cincia ni histria: art biolgic postdigital i un cos llunyà" ['Not Science, or History: Post Digital Biological Art and a Distant Cousin'], the author explained that...

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The following sources were consulted when putting together these guidelines.

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