The Human Truth Foundation

How Does Referencing and Bibliographies Work?

By Vexen Crabtree 2006

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It is important to state your sources. It proves that you're not making stuff up. It allows others to check that you've understood sources properly, quoted them in context, and helps people understand the biases of your sources. It is tempting to omit references for "well-known" facts or "common-sense" arguments, however, the Internet provides an unceasing stream of critics who read your text with wildly different assumptions and cultural knowledge to your own. So verge on the side of over-referencing than under-referencing. One reference per fact often means one reference per sentence.

All HTF pages have inline references (citations) and footnotes. Subscripted footnotes are found at the bottom of the page, as well as a bibliography section.

When making contributions and submissions to the HTF, adhere to the HTF policy on referencing as stated on this page.


1. Quotations, Square Brackets and Inline Citations

"quotations": Quotes can be denoted with either single or double quotes. Brackets and ellipses can be used to modify quotes, as per the following notes.

2. Footnotes

Subscripted numbers can appear in various places. They are used to contain references to backup a fact or statement. They are sometimes used to convey additional minor details.

  1. It is a fact 3 !: When appearing inside a sentence it means that the immediate fact(s) preceding the reference are attributable to the source. At the bottom of the page will be a numbered list showing more information for each footnote. Click on the subscripted numbers are you will be taken to the Notes section; click on the carets ( ^ ) in the Notes section to be taken to each major chapter area where that reference has been used.

  2. Lots of text.3: A reference outside a sentence or at the end of a paragraph means that multiple facts or quotes come from that one source. That way the same source can be used several times in a paragraph without having to insert markup everywhere.

3. The Bibliography and References Section

At the bottom of webpages is the "reference", "sources" or "bibliography" section. Sources are listed in alphabetical order by author. Under each author is a list of books or articles used by that author. Keep the biblio section relatively verbose to aid understanding, and so that casual readers can work it out, rather than use the specialist academic shorthand that many professionals are fond of. The following are some notes on abbreviations and methods of referencing sources:

Some academics and the like are horrified when referencing systems do not follow one of the great established systems, such as Harvard Referencing. But the truth is that traditional methods do not suit webpages. The capability to hyperlink subscripted numbers to the bottom of the page and have links back up to the original text mean that this method becomes superior, aiding readability and allowing useful levels of information to be added about sources in an inline manner. Also, the bibliography section itself does not use conventions such as ibid and does not follow the normal Harvard format. This is because that format is designed to save maximum space by placing everything in a known order. The problem with this is that ordinary readers find it hard to understand, and, on the web, there is no need to save pixels.

Current edition: 2017 Jul 02
Second edition 2006 Apr 16
Originally published 1999
http://www.vexen.co.uk/references.html
Parent page: The Human Truth Foundation

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Book Cover

Bacon, Francis
(1625) The Essays. 1985 edition. Published by Penguin Books, London, UK. Original works completed by 1625 by Francis Bacon (1561-1626).

Jones, Bill
(2004, Ed.) Politics UK. Paperback book. 5th edition. Originally published 1991. Current version published by Pearson Education Ltd. With Dennish Kavanagh, Michael Moran and Phillip Norton.

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