Using Vancouver - FAQ

1. Do I have to reference lecture notes?

2. Does it matter where I place my in-text reference number?

3. I'm re-using a source that I referred to earlier - do I give it another number and list it again?

4. I'm referring to something I found on the Internet - do I write the whole web address in my essay?

5. I'm writing up my dissertation. Should I separate my sources into categories such as books, journals, newspapers, Websites?

6. I've heard someone mentioning ibid. and op. cit. How do I use these?

7. I've used two chapters from an edited book. Should I reference the whole book in my bibliography as well as the chapters?

8. Should I number the items in my bibliography?

9. What if I can't find an author?

10. What if I can't see any page numbers?

11. What if I haven't read the original source?

12. What if more than one place of publication is listed?

13. When the title of a source is all in capitals, should I use all capitals in my bibliography?

14. Where do I find the details needed in a reference list/bibliography?

15. Where would I find further guidance?


 

1. Do I have to reference lecture notes?   [Index]

You must reference anything you use which is not your own work in order to avoid being accused of plagiarism.

Having said this, you will find that many departments at Portsmouth do not allow you to use lecture notes as the source for your essays. You should use the reading list which your lecturer has given you and turn to those sources when writing your essay. If your lecturer has not indicated where they got their information, and you want to use it, go and ask for the source.

 

2. Does it matter where I place my in-text reference number?   [Index]

You can place these where you think they make the most sense. The following guidance does exist:

Numbers should be given to the right of commas and full stops, but to the left of colons or semi-colons. Try to work your sentence so that reference numbers do not come near other numerical data.

 

3. I'm re-using a source that I referred to earlier - do I give it another number and list it again?   [Index]

No. You repeat the number you first gave it whenever you re-quote and only list it at that number in your reference list.

 

4. I'm referring to something I found on the Internet - do I write the whole web address in my essay?   [Index]

No. If you want to reference a website in your text you give it the next running number on your list just like any other recoverable source. If you wish to refer to it by name, try to match the start of the reference for that Web page as it appears in your bibliography, e.g.

Your bibliography gives:

National Library for Health [Internet]. London: NHS; c2008 [cited 2008 Sep 12]. Available from: http://www.library.nhs.uk

In the body of your work you could write "The National Library for Health (16) states that....";
but equally you could say "Information on an official Internet site (16) included advice that ...."

Although the number is the key to locating the reference in your bibliography it is also good practice to show consistency. Giving different details will cause confusion to your reader.

 

5. I'm writing up my dissertation. Should I separate my sources into categories such as books, journals, newspapers, Websites?   [Index]

In Vancouver your bibliography is arranged in numerical order, so you should just have one long numerical sequence containing everything you've used. Do not list books, journals, etc. separately.

 

6. I've heard someone mentioning ibid. and op. cit. How do I use these?   [Index]

The simple answer is that you don't! Ibid and op cit are used in footnotes and because Vancouver mostly does away with the need for footnotes, students shouldn't now be using these terms. The exception would be the SSHLS History students who are required to use footnotes.

 

7. I've used two chapters from an edited book. Should I reference the whole book in my bibliography as well as the chapters?   [Index]

If you have used a couple of chapters and have referenced these chapters properly in your bibliography, there is no need for another reference to the whole book in the bibliography as well.

 

8. Should I number the items in my bibliography?   [Index]

In Vancouver you use running numbers in the text of your work to number the first use of a reference. You then list your references in that running number order. This does mean that if you go back and insert a new reference into your text you have to re-number all the references that follow.

Check with your unit or course handbook whether a particluar style of in-text numbering should be used - there are two systems:

Parentheses () or Superscript Superscript

The reference list uses plain numbers with no parenthesis or superscript:

1. Smith ....

2. Jones ....

 

9. What if I can't find an author?   [Index]

If no author is named on the item you are trying to reference, move the title to the start of the reference. Do not use Anon. or Anonymous unless the publication actually says that.

Example:

The Africa issue: still optimistic, but no sleep until G8 promises fulfilled. The Independent [Internet] 2006 May 16 [cited 2008 Sep 15]:5. Available from the Nexis UK database.

Top Tip: If you are dealing with a newspaper or magazine article, check whether the author's name appears in the first few lines of the article (... writes John Smith ...) or is listed next to the word "byline".

 

10. What if I can't see any page numbers?   [Index]

There are 2 aspects to this:

  1. If you're using an electronic resource such as an article from a full-text database (e.g. Nexis UK to access newspapers), and page numbers are not given it is usual to give an estimation of length - this can be number of screens [n screens], an approximation of pages [about n p] or paragraphs [about n paragraphs].

    Morse SS. Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases. Emerg Infect Dis [Internet]. 1995 Jan-Mar [cited 2007 Jul 9];1(1):[24 screens]. Available from http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/EID/vol1no1/downmors.htm

  2. For printed material citing Medicine offers the following advice:

    "If only the particular contribution to be cited has no page numbers, identify the location in relation to numbered pages. For example: preceding p. 17 or following p. 503. Place such phrases in square brackets. [preceding p. 55]. [following p. 84].

    If the entire book has no page numbers, give the total number of pages of the contribution, placed in square brackets, such as [5 p.]."

 

11. What if I haven't read the original source?   [Index]

Advice can vary on this and it might be best to speak to your tutor. For academic work we recommend that if you haven't read the original source, you do not give the details of the original in your bibliography/reference list, you just list the item which you have actually read. The only place where you mention the original source is in your text itself where you need to be clear you haven't read the original by writing something like:

Smith discusses Brown's work highlighting the.... (15)

In your bibliography/reference list item 15 would give the details of the book by Smith which you have used.

 

12. What if more than one place of publication is listed?   [Index]

If several are given, choose the first.

 

13. When the title of a source is all in capitals, should I use all capitals in my bibliography?   [Index]

For printed material Citing Medicine offers the following advice:

"If only the particular contribution to be cited has no page numbers, identify the location in relation to numbered pages. For example: preceding p. 17 or following p. 503. Place such phrases in square brackets. [preceding p. 55]. [following p. 84].

If the entire book has no page numbers, give the total number of pages of the contribution, placed in square brackets, such as [5 p.]."

 

14. Where do I find the details needed in a reference list/bibliography?   [Index]

  • Keep a careful note of all sources used as you prepare your assignments.
  • Record all the details you need about a library book (including page numbers for any quotations) before you return it - someone else may have the book if you try to go back and check later.
  • Make sure you write down the source details you need on any photocopies you make or that they are properly aligned so that page numbers and headings are clearly visible.
  • Remember to print or save details of any webpage you want to refer to (your tutor may ask to see this) and record the date when you accessed the information.

Books

  • The details needed for a book can be found on the front and back of the title page. Ignore any reprint dates; you need the date when the first, second, third edition, etc. of the book was published, according to which edition of the book you are using.
  • Make sure you locate the name of the publisher rather than the printer or typesetter. You need the name of the publisher in your reference list.
  • The place of publication should be a town or a city, not a county or country. If in the UK, just the town or city. If in the USA, the town is unlikely to be mistaken for a place in UK, but add two letter state code if confusion could arise e.g. Cambridge MA for Harvard University Press. If more than one place of publication is listed, just choose the first one.
  • The library catalogue gives the place of publication and publisher's name, if you are in any doubt.
  • If you haven't got the book, it is probably best to try and retrace your steps. If it is an item you borrowed via the library you can look at your loan history under My Account in the library catalogue and check basic details. If it is something you read in the library check the catalogue for details. If you obtained the book from another source, www.copac.ac.uk is useful for verifying bibliographical details.

Journal articles

  • The details needed for a journal article can usually be found on pages which contain the article, but you can also check the contents list or front cover of the journal issue.

Electronic sources

  • Access electronic sources again directly by retracing your steps through the relevant e-book collection, e-journal article or database.
  • It is very important that when you use general Internet sources, other than facsimiles of printed articles or books, you record at the time the full details, including the internet address (or URL).

Films/Videos/DVD

  • The details you need can be more difficult to identify, but the first resort is again to examine the original item.
  • More information on feature films can be found on IMDB (Internet Movie Database)
  • The fullest details can be found by using the combined details link for a specific film.
  • If you are tracking a specific DVD edition of a film to identify extras you may find the merchandising link useful.

Television and Radio programmes or recordings

  • The details you need can be more difficult to identify, but the first resort is again to examine the original item.
  • Television and radio channels may publish some information on their websites.
  • Tracing details of these after the broadcast can be difficult. The best source of information is TRILT (Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching) which gives details of television and radio programmes schedules from 2001 onwards for over 330 different channels plus a substantial selection of terrestrial television programmes back to 1995. However, this may not give you responsibility data.
  • A general web search with what details you do have, may help track down a source for details.

 

15. Where would I find further guidance?   [Index]

Bibliographic references Vancouver style
The Uniform Requirements style (the Vancouver style) is based largely on an ANSI (American National Standards Institute) standard style adapted by the US National Library of Medicine(NLM) for MEDLINE and other databases