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The Harvard Referencing System

There are several different adademic referencing or citation systems in use today. This guide aims to explain how to present references to a wide range of printed and non printed materials in the widely used Harvard style and handouts issued by academic staff to students on my course.

A reference can be defined as "a set of data describing a document, or part of a document, sufficiently precise and detailed to identify it and to enable it to be located"

Reference is given...

  • if you quote the exact words of another author (failing to do this is copyright infringement)
  • if you paraphrase or summarise a passage by another author (failing to do this is plagiaism and copyright infringement)
  • if you use an idea or material based directly on the work of another author (failing to do this is plagiarism)

How to use the Harvard Referencing System

How to reference

  • References to books, journal articles, etc. are presented in a single sequence arranged alphabetically by author.
  • References to materials by the same author are arranged by their date of publication. Where reference is made to more than one item published by an author in the same year, a lower case letter is appended to the year to distinguish between them. (i.e (SharQ 2001a), (SharQ 2001b) etc)
  • Page numbers are included in reference list and bibliography entries for journal articles and essays only.
  • Take care to reproduce all quotations exactly, including theirpunctuation. You should even reproduce any spelling or grammatical errors from the original. Insert [sic] immediately afterwards to indicate that the error was made in the original and not as you were transcribing it.

How to reference a book:

LAST NAME, INITIALS, (year of publication) Title. Place of publication: Publisher

KAMPS, H.J. (2001) Harvard Referencing System. Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University
ØSTLYNGEN, T. & ØVREBØ, T. (2000) Journalistikk. Oslo: Gyldendal Akademisk

The following information is not included in references:

  • an author's qualifications or title the words Ltd., or Inc. following a publisher's name.
  • library classification/shelving numbers and locations.

More than one author

If a publication has up to three authors, give all their names. If there are more than three, the name of the first author followed by "and others" or "et al." is sufficient.

Edited work

Some publications are edited or compiled rather than written by the person whose name appears on the title page. The editor or compiler of a work can be taken as the author and his/her function indicated in brackets, e.g. (ed.), (comp.), in the reference but not mentioned in the text.

KAMPS, H.J. (ed) (2001) Harvard Referencing System. Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University

No date of publication

If you cannot find a date of publication, insert n.d. in place of a year, e.g.

KAMPS, H.J. (n.d.) Harvard Referencing System. Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University

More than one volume

KAMPS, H.J. (2001) Harvard Referencing System 4 vols. Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University

You would need to include the volume number in a text reference to a particular page, e.g. (Kamps 2001, 2: 57)

Reference to an essay in a collection

LAST NAME, INITIAL(S) (year of publication) title & subtitle of the essay In: Editors name LAST NAME, INITIALS title of the collection. Publisher's name

Tærud, L (2001) How to use the Harvard system In: KAMPS, H.J. Essays on the Harvard Referencing System. KAMPS, H.J. (n.d.) Harvard Referencing System. Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University

Encyclopedia entries

BENZ, E.W. (1976) Christianity, Encyclopaedia Britannica. 15th. ed. Macropaedia 4, pp. 459 533 Chicago: Encyclopaedia Britannica

Authors of entries in encyclopaedias are usually identified by their initials and their full names given in a key at the front of each volume.

Personal letters and interviews

References should begin with the name of the person sending the letter or the person interviewed respectively, e.g.
ADAMSON, P. (1999) Interview by author, London 17th April
KINNOCK, N. (2000) Letter to author, 12th August

Electronic communications

SENDER (Sender's E-mail address), Day Month Year. Subject of Message. E-mail to Recipient (Recipient's E-mail address).

TÆRUD, L. (linda@taerud.no), 21 Aug 1997. RE: Citing Internet Sources. E-mail to H.J KAMPS (hajejan@kamps.org).


BBC 1 (25th January 2001) News this week Broadcast 15:00



There are loads of things that might need referencing; Television, radio etc. In general, use common sense. The system is not 100% strict. Think logically.

You need to make it easy for someone who wants to check your sources, to find your sources. This means that if you include as much relevant information as possible, you are probably safe :)


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