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University Library

Biological Sciences

This guide is in support of Biology, Biotechnology, Botany, Microbiology majors and students taking Zoology. Students taking BIO 121 have a separate tutorial.


book iconThis guide is in support of students in the Majors of the Biological Sciences department: Biology, Biotechnology, Botany, Microbiology, and students enrolled in Zoology classes.  Students taking BIO 121 have a separate tutorial.

Bibliographic Citations


Bibliographic citations are strings of data that specify the existence of publications.  Examples:


book cover Book:

Masters, C. O. 1975. Encyclopedia of live foods. Neptune City, NJ : T.F.H. Publications.

General format: Author (first author; last name, first initials; followed by others others; first initials, last name). Year. Title. Place of Publication: Publisher.

journal cover Article:

Moyle, R., D.J. Fairbairn, , J. Ripi , M. Crowe, and J.M. Botella  2005.  Developing pineapple fruit has a small transcritome dominated by metallothionen. Journal of Experimental Botany 56:101-112.

General Format: Author (first author; last name, first initials; followed by others others; first initials, last name). Year. Title. Name of Journal. Volume Number) : Page Numbers.


In the above example of an article citation, we can make out the names of the authors, the year of publication, the title of the article and the name of the journal.

Also, we have the puzzling numbers "56:101-112." If you think about the physical nature of a periodical article, you know that they tend to occupy a range of pages, and what better way to express that range of pages by using a range of numbers (like 101-112)? But what about the "56"? In general, a bibliographic citation for an article goes from unit: subunit. In this case, the "unit" in question is a volume number. 

You can see that the article citation has a level of complexity not present in the book citation.  Whenever you have two titles (one for the article, and one for the journal) and a range of numbers (representing a distinct range of pages), we have a citation specifying a subunit (the article) within a larger unit (a journal), you probably have a citation to an article.1

You can often get useful citations from the bibliographies (also called "References" or "Literature Cited") at the end of scholarly articles. You can also get them from searching in databases (see the "Articles" tab above ). 

There are many different styles of bibliographic citations. In this text box I am using using a modified version of the Name-Year format for end references used in the book Scientific Style and Format2, from the Council of Science Editors, as used in Bio 121.

book cover  _________________________

1It could also be a chapter in a book, but that is far less common.
2Council of Science Editors. 2014. Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors and Publishers. 8th ed.  See page 551 and onward for details.  Reference Collection T11 S386 2014. [ Where's This?   ]