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Forming Oxford Citations

Covering in-text referencing marks, the use of footnotes and endnotes, and the requirement of an annotated bibliography, the Oxford citation system is considered one of the most thorough and complicated citation systems available. It is used extensively in Great Britain, New Zealand, and Australia and to a lesser extent in the United States. When organizing citations, basic research venues such as books, periodicals and Internet resources can be cited quickly and easily by following a few simple rules.


The format for citing a book is simple:
Author – Title – Publisher – Location – Date – Pages

When citing an anthology or encyclopedia the citation is slightly different:
Author – Article Title – Book Title – Volume (if applicable) – Publisher – Location – Date – Pages


The format for periodicals is equally simple:
Author – Article Title – Periodical Name – Volume & Issue – Date (including month or term) – Pages Cited

Note that with periodicals all pages are listed, even if the article is broken into multiple segments found in different parts of the periodical.

Internet Resources

For websites, follow this format:
Author – Site Name – Host or Sponsor – Date Created or Last Updated – Date Viewed – URL

If you are citing only a specific page on a particular website, use this format:
Author – Page/Article Title – Site Name – Date of Last Update – Date Viewed – Page URL

Citing sources from mail lists and discussion groups is a little more complicated:
Author (or Screen Name) – Identifying Details – Description of Posting – List Owner’s Name – Date of the Posting – Date the Posting Was Viewed – URL of the Posting

Personal Correspondences and Emails

When citing a correspondence (letter or email) then follow this format:
Author – Topic – Date – Intended Receiver

When the Author is Unknown

Missing author names are nothing new. When this scenario is encountered, replace the author’s name with the name of the editor or, in necessary, the name of the publisher. An exception to this is in the case of a periodical (journal or magazine). In this situation, simply drop the name and start the entry with the title of the article.

Another issue you may encounter is when a resource is credited to a group, rather than a person. Documents issued by governmental agencies, research groups or policy think tanks will typically fit into this scenario and the name of the group or agency should be listed as the author.

The Annotation

In addition to the alphabetical list of resources, Oxford style requires each citation of previous works actually used to include a brief description of the resource and a comment regarding its relevancy to the current work. This is known as the annotation and is typically one or occasionally two paragraphs long. Additional references (materials directly related to the current work subject, but not used in its preparation) and reading citations (materials the author believes are relative to the current work but not containing materials directly related) are not normally annotated, though an instructor may indicate otherwise in his or her assignment expectations.

Relative Referencing in Footnotes and Endnotes

The use of Latin abbreviations to in citation referencing has long been established has acceptable, though the practice has for the most part fallen out of favor. There are several abbreviations typically used to establish relative citation references:

  • Ibid. – ibidum – “in the same place” – Used to note when a notation references the same work as the previous notation. Can be used in combination with a page number to indicate the same source, but a different page.
  • Op. Cit. – opera citato – “in the work cited” – Used with the name of a previously cited author to indicate the notation refers to a previously cited work that does not immediately precede the current notation. Op. Cit. also indicates that the information is in a different location within the work and is thus followed by a notation regarding the new page location.
  • Loc. Cit. – loco citato – “in the location cited” – Similar to Op. Cit., but always refers to the same location (including page or pages) previously cited.

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