Recommended Referencing Styles

Each type of publication is cited differently in a list of literature references, as the following examples illustrate. The History Department recommends that its students adhere to the referencing style outlined on (as used in this Toolkit, including in the examples in this section) when following German referencing styles or, when following Anglophone referencing styles, to an appropriate style as detailed in Richard Pears and Graham Shields’ comprehensive guide to referencing (Pears, Richard; Shields, Graham: Cite Them Right : The Essential Referencing Guide, London 2016 or its accompanying website).

References to genuinely digital texts (e.g. articles in e-journals) should include both the web address through which the text was accessed and the date on which it was accessed. References to digital or digitised texts which were first published in print usually cite the details of the printed version, even when you have consulted the electronic version. Referencing the printed version comes with the distinct advantage of detailing the date of publication.

A literature reference can list up to three authors, editors or places of publication. If there are more than three authors, editors or places of publication, only the first is usually listed, followed by the phrase “et al.”. When applicable, series titles and/or volume or edition details are included after the publication title.

A list of literature references is ordered alphabetically by the surname of each publication’s lead author. Sub-ordering should generally be avoided, especially when this creates separate sections in your list which are ordered by publication type. This also means that printed and digitally accessible literature should not be listed separately.

Example References


Arnold, Guy: Africa : A Modern History, London 2005.

Daston, Lorraine; Lunbeck, Elizabeth: Histories of Scientific Observation, Chicago 2011.

Keller, Evelyn Fox: Refiguring Life : Metaphors of Twentieth-Century Biology, New York 1995.

Wiesner, Merry: Gender in History : Global Perspectives, Malden 2001 (New Perspectives on the Past).

Edited Collections

Beinart, William et al. (eds.): Social History & African Environments, Oxford 2003.

Article in an Edited Collection

Leiss, William: The Domination of Nature, in: Merchant, Carolyn (ed.): Ecology : Key Concepts in Critical Theory, Atlantic Highlands N.J. 1994, pp. 55-64.

Article in an Academic Journal

Bank, Andrew: The Great Debate and the Origins of South African Historiography, in: The Journal of African History38 (2), 1997, pp. 261-281.

Article or Chapter in a Handbook

Hanretta, Sean: New Religious Movements, in: Parker, John; Reid, Richard (eds.): The Oxford Handbook of Modern African History, Oxford 2013, pp. 298-316.   

Article in an Encyclopaedia

Altermatt, Urs: Bundesrat, in: Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz, 11 vols., vol. 3. Basel 2004, pp. 13-16.

Mahiou, Ahmed: Arab League, in: Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE, URL: [accessed 3 May 2018].

Review in an Academic Journal


Kuniholm, Bruce R.: review of Petersen, Tore T. (ed.): Controlling the Uncontrollable? The Great Powers in the Middle East. Trondheim 2006, in: The International History Review 30 (3), 2008, pp. 652-653.


Archival sources are listed with their respective archival call numbers. The names of the archives where the sources are located are usually abbreviated, with their full names given in a separate list of abbreviations. An archival document’s precise call number (including page and/or folio numbers – e.g. p. 35, fol. 46v – when available) should be listed in your footnotes, but your list of sources should only contain references to whole collections, not to each individual document or page which you have consulted. If necessary, you can provide explanations of call numbers in an additional note in your list of sources. The location and call numbers of the original paper versions of digitised documents (i.e. scans of archival documents which are available online) should be listed; the call numbers for original archival documents are usually more permanent than the links to their digitised copies.

Published sources and documents in source editions are listed according to the same principles as secondary literature. As such, your list of sources should be divided into two sections, one containing details of the published sources and source editions which you have consulted (listed in the same way as secondary literature) and the other detailing your unpublished archival sources (including digitised copies) and their call numbers. This reflects the long-standing practice of differentiating between unpublished and published sources, a distinction which is fast losing its meaning due to the increasing number of sources which are now being published in digital form online.


Mgadla, Part T.; Volz, Stephen C. (eds.): Words of Batswana : Letters to Mahoko a Becwana, 1883-1896, Cape Town 2006 (Van Riebeeck Society for the Publication of South African Historical Documents, Second Series No. 37).

Example List of Sources:

National Archives of South Africa, Pretoria [SAB], Native Affairs records [NTS]

SAB NTS, Series 1

SAB NTS, Series 4

A more detailed example list of sources can be found here.

Image Sources

As many details as possible should also be provided for image sources, including the artist, photographer or originator of the work, its date of creation and, when available, the publication in which it appears and/or the collection in which the original is to be found.

If you have been working with a large number of images, you can subdivide your list of sources into image and text sources.

Example: A Photograph or Cartoon in a Newspaper  

1) If you have consulted an original of the newspaper:

Cummings, Michael: Macmillan, Eisenhower and Khrushchev, in: Daily Express, 13 November 1957, p. XX.

2) If you have consulted a reprint of the image in a book:


Cummings, Michael: Macmillan, Eisenhower and Khrushchev, in: Daily Express, 13 November 1957, in: Hanhimäki, Jussi M.; Westad, Odd Arne (eds.): The Cold War : A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, Oxford 2003, p. 289.



Example: Widely Circulated Photographs


Laika, shortly before the launch of Sputnik 2, 3 November 1957. Agency image from Novosti, reprinted in Gerhard Paul (ed.): Das Jahrhundert der Bilder, vol. 2, Göttingen 2008, p. 203.

When your text refers to a publication in a footnote for the first time, a full reference should be provided (i.e. as it appears in your list of literature references). Thereafter, an abbreviated form should be used; a short form title, for instance, generally consists of only the initial noun of the full title.

In your list of literature references, always provide the full page span (i.e. the opening and closing pages) for non-standalone publications (i.e. those such as journal articles, reviews, edited collection chapters etc. which are published inside another publication). In-text references can also be used to provide the page number details of a specific passage which you have summarised, paraphrased or quoted. In such instances, add the word “here” after the page span to indicate the exact page on which the relevant passage can be found (e.g. “pp. 247-258, here p. 251”). Short form references usually only indicate the page number of the passage in question.

For passages which extend over more than one page, the page span can be indicated with a hyphen (“pp. x-y”).

If the same reference is repeated in an uninterrupted sequence, it can be substituted with “ibid., p. x”.

Short Form Footnotes


Surname, short title (of the monograph, article etc), p(p). x(-y).


Arnold, Africa, p. 54.

Keller, Refiguring Life, pp. 71-74.

Wiesner, Gender, p. 30.

Ibid., pp. 57-58.

This section provides an overview of the abbreviations commonly used in footnotes and literature reference lists.



f.and the following page
ff.and the folowwing pages (precise page references, however, are preferable)




et al. and others (“et alii” in Latin); used in combination with the name of the lead author, editor or place of publication if there are more than three authors, editors or places of publication
n.p. no page numbers (if the publication has no page numbers)
s.l. sine loco (Latin for “without a place”; i.e. if the place of publication is unknown)
s.n. sine nomine (Latin for “without a name”; i.e. if the name of the publisher is unknown)