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Harvard (author-date) referencing system


This tutorial is based upon the referencing guidelines produced by the British Standards Institute. These are available as the following British Standards:

BS 5605:1990. Recommendations for citing and referencing published material. 2nd edition. British Standards Institute. (Arts and Social Science Library Z694 BRI)

BS 1629:1989. Recommendations for references to published materials. British Standards Institute. (Arts and Social Science Library Z694 BRI)

There are some document types, for example electronic sources, not included in the British Standards. Guidance for these is taken from the referencing guide produced by Anglia Ruskin University. Click on the link below to view.

HOLLAND, Matt. July 2005. Citing References. [online]. Available from: [Accessed 22 July 2005].

Anglia Ruskin University referencing guidelines.

Under the Harvard system, sources are cited in short, parenthetical (in brackets) notes within the text, rather than in footnotes or endnotes. Only the name of the author, the date of the source and, if necessary, the page numbers are included. The rest of the information required by a reader to find and consult the source, such as the title, location and publication details, is contained in a list of references at the end of the work.

The Harvard System is attractive to both authors and readers of academic texts. It is economical to write, as the same material is not duplicated in a footnote and the bibliography. Many find that when reading books or articles referenced using the Harvard system the flow of their reading is less interrupted, as their attention is not constantly diverted from the text to footnotes or endnotes. Also, new students and the more general reader often find works written using the Harvard system more accessible, as pages dominated by large numbers of academic footnotes can be intimidating.

However, readers are forced to turn to the list of references at the end of the work to find the full reference, rather than to the foot of the page. In review articles or other works where there are a large number of references, particularly to articles from journals or chapters from multi-authored works, this can be time consuming.