Entry with no author in a reference book [from Electronic source using OSCOLA]


Examples include dictionary or encyclopaedia/encyclopedia entries.

If the online reference book has no volume number, provide the website address within angled brackets and the most recent date of access.

If the online reference book is from a database such as Lexis Library, for examples Halsbury's Laws, volume numbers are usually given in the table of contents (often in the menu on the left of the screen).

Don't panic if you see several dates inside the book. The date you need to use is the one which matches the edition of the book that you're using. Ignore any dates that are just listed as reprints or impressions. Look on the book cover and see if it says e.g. Fourth edition (it should also say this on the title page inside the book). In this case all that you need to show in your reference in the bibliography is the date for the 4th edition of the book. Search for the book on the library catalogue to check the details needed for the reference if you are unsure.

Standard Form

As a footnote:

Reference book with no volumes number:

Title of Reference Book (additional information, Edition if later than first, Year) <full web address> accessed date as day Month Year.

Reference book from a database:

Title of Reference Book (additional information, Edition if later than first, Year) volume (abbreviated to vol), part (abbreviated to pt), paragraph (abbreviated to para) or page if required.



'philosophy, n' (OED Online, OUP June 2013) <www.oed.com/view/Entry/142505> accessed 21 August 2013.

Encyclopaedic work from a database:

Halsbury's Laws (4th edn, 2006) vol 27, pt 1.

Reference book with no volume number:

The Columbia Encyclopedia (6th edn, 2008) <http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/global_warming.aspx> accessed 16 April 2010.

Reference List

Reference books are listed alphabetically by the first author's surname or title under the heading Secondary Sources.


  • If a book has a title and a subtitle, use the existing punctuation. Where there is none, insert a colon.
  • Reference: Faculty of Law, University of Oxford, OSCOLA: Oxford Standard for the Citation of Legal Authorities (4th edn Oxford University 2010) 36.