Author-date List of References problems

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Problems can arise in compiling a List of References in the Author-date system of referencing. Some of the problems may be covered here; otherwise, seek advice from someone in your area.

The main thing is to include as much of the Bibliographic detail as is necessary to make it possible for your reader to find and check any source you have mentioned (the second of AWE's Principles of Referencing). In doing this, you may not be able to find:

  • a date. Use the abbreviation n. d. (for no date)
  • an author's name. Use the corporate author if there is one - or use your judgement to ask yourself if this is an academically reliable source. If it is, use a word (perhaps from a URL) to serve as the name under which the item will be alphabetised in your List, and as the 'tag' in your text.
  • a publisher. Many websites do not give this information. Again, ask yourself if this is an academically reliable source. Then add as much information as you can. Remember that some types of sources have different names for the equivalent of a publisher: distributor of films, label of music in various formats, etc.
  • the place of publication. Many electronic resources do not give this information, in which case neither can you - though you may be able to find the country of origin.
  • Printed books may give several places of publication. Here, you are advised to pick the first given - though it may be tactful to give the name of the place in the country in which you are reading the book, if there is one.
  • The URL is the essential part of a reference to a website. Remember to use the most detailed one - the reference to the actual webpage you have read, not just the website. For newspaper articles, for example, this will often end with a numerical code containing many digits.

Above all, remember to follow the advice from your department or publisher to establish the typographical details and the order in which the details of each item in your List are to be presented.