Harvard Referencing System

I’ve added this for two reasons. One to ensure my referencing is correct and secondly as a reminder of the range of sources. The stupid thing is “How do I reference this work?”. I’ll work it out later. 


Harvard referencing system

Open College of the Arts

Guide to referencing using the Harvard system

  • What is referencing?
  • The difference between a reference list and a bibliography
  • Citing authors
  • Multiple authors
  • Format for the reference list
  • Books
  • Citing editors
  • Referring to a part or chapter of an edited book
  • Citing an author that someone else has cited
  • Using quotations
  • Journal articles
  • Newspapers
  • Works of art, photographs and illustrations
  • Material in an exhibition
  • Exhibition catalogue
  • Image in a book
  • Government publications
  • Conference papers
  • Theses
  • Corporate authors
  • Unknown publication details
  • Electronic sources on the internet
  • Online images
  • Web pages and documents
  • Other electronic sources – further help

What is referencing?

When writing an academic assignment you will come across other people’s work – ideas, theories, critical comments, creative writing, works of art and so on – to which you will want to refer in your own work. The list of these authors’ works should be given at the end of your text in the form of a reference list.

The process of citing (referring to) authors in your assignment and composing the reference list at the end can be done in one of two main styles – the Harvard or the Numeric. This guide describes the Harvard Referencing System as used by theOpenCollegeof the Arts.

You will meet other referencing systems and styles as well as the Harvard system, particularly for images and works of art. Use the Harvard system in your own work and aim to be consistent in how you record all your references.

Get in the habit of writing a full reference at the point where you decide to cite an author or a work. If you leave the task of completing your reference list right to the end, it will take much longer as you will inevitably lose or have to hunt for some of the references you’ve cited.

The difference between a reference list and a bibliography

The reference list is used to cite all the items you have made direct reference to in your text (by the author’s name and year of publication). The list is organised alphabetically by the names of the authors (or originators) of the work.

During your reading you may have used material to widen your knowledge of the subject, but which you do not specifically refer to in your assignment. A bibliography lists all the items that make up your background reading, again alphabetically by author. This is generally included after the reference list. It is not always necessary to include a bibliography in addition to the reference list: ask your tutor what is needed for your course of study.

Citing authors

The Harvard System (sometimes called the ‘name and date system’) uses the name of the author of the work and the date it was published, or the name of the artist and the date the work was made or exhibited. These are incorporated into your text each time you make reference to that person’s ideas:

Arthur (2008) challenges that that the internet is reducing our attention span, and considers the evidence that screen technology does not allow us to read electronic text as fast as the printed page.

 Alternatively, the name and date can be in brackets, separated by a comma:

 It is not so much that the internet is reducing our attention span, more that screen technology does not allow us to read electronic text as fast as print (Arthur, 2008).

Multiple authors

If there are two authors, the names of both should be given in the text and in the reference list, in the order in which they appear on the title page.

If there are more than two authors, record the first in the text, followed by et al. (a Latin abbreviation meaning ‘and others’) in italics and punctuated with a full stop.

Benjamin et al. (2010) trace Renoir’s influence on the development of other artists throughout the 20th Century…

Within the reference list, make sure to name all the authors of the work.

Format for the reference list

The general format varies depending on the type of work you are citing. For books, it follows this general pattern:

Author/editor surname, initials. (Year) Title: subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher.

The information required for the reference list can usually be found on the title page (or reverse title page) of the book or document that you are citing. You should cite the first named place of publication, which is the city not the country. The copyright sign (©) often indicates the date of publication – there may be further reprints listed, but a reprint is not a new edition. State if the work is a second or subsequent edition.

Every work that you cite in your text should be listed alphabetically in your reference list at the end by author (or originator) and year.


The first letter of the first word of the title is in upper case (a capital letter) – subsequent words, other than proper nouns, start with lower case.

Honour, H. and Fleming J. (2009) A world history of art. Revised 7th ed.London: Laurence King

If you cite two or more works by the same author written in the same year, use letters a, b, c etc. after the date in the text and the reference list:

Hughes, Robert (1991a) Nothing if not critical: selected essays on art and artists, London: Harvill Press

Hughes, Robert (1991b) The shock of the new. 2nd ed.London: Thames & Hudson

Citing editors

In the reference list you should indicate editorship using (ed.) for a single editor, or (eds.) for multiple editors:

Sonfist, Alan, (ed.) (1983) Art in the land: a critical anthology of environmental art.New York: Dutton

Referring to a part or chapter of an edited book An edited book will often have a number of authors for different chapters. To refer to a specific author’s ideas, from one chapter, cite their name in the text, and not the editors. In your reference list, indicate the chapter details and the book details from which it was published, using ‘In:’ to link the chapter to the book. The year of publication is given only once, e.g.

Leder, Carolyn (1976) Influences on the early work of Stanley Spencer In: Arts Council of Great Britain, Stanley Spencer.London: Arts Council ofGreat Britain. pp.14–17.

Citing an author that someone else has cited

A journal article or book that someone else cites, but which you have not seen, is called a secondary source. If you cannot easily find the secondary source, you may cite it in your text using the reference that is provided in your primary source, linking the two items with ‘Cited in’. Only the primary source title is italicised and both years are included.

Benjamin, W. (1936) The work of art in the mechanical age of reproduction. Cited in Honour, H.and leming, J. (2007) World history of art.London: Laurence King, p.899

Using quotations

Quotes within the text should be kept short (normally no more than one sentence long), and include quotation marks. Give the page number on which the quote appears within the text.

When he tackled Guernica, it has been argued that ‘the conversion of Picasso’s calling from pure modernist to propagandist also changed his work habits, from locked doors recluse to showy exhibitor’. (Shama, 2009, p.376).

It is not necessary to indicate the page number in the reference list.

When using longer quotes, cite author, date and year and format them like this:

  • Preceded by a colon
  • Indented from the main text
  • Single spaced
  • Without quotation marks

Osterwold (1978, p.5) notes that:

The study of the commercial media and their explotation of popular idols also led Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein to alter their techiniques. In his paintings Lichtenstein simulated the stylized effect and dot patterns of mechanical prints, while Warhol actually turned to using impersonal techniques of mechanical reproduction.

 Journal articles

The journal name is italicised, not the article title. The journal volume is in bold. 

Author surname, initials. (Year) Title of article. Journal name. Volume number (issue or part number), first-last page numbers.

Mckinney, E. and; Eicher, J.B. (2009) Unexpected Luxury: Wild Silk Textile Production among the Yoruba of Nigeria. Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture. 7 (1), pp. 40-55


The name of the newspaper is italicised. If the article does not attribute an author the newspaper name is used in the text, and instead of the author in the reference list. 

Journalist name, initial. (Year) Title of article. Name of newspaper. Date. Page number. 

Drabble, M. (2009) My hero: Vincent van Gogh. Guardian Review. 5 Dec. p.6

If the journalist who wrote the article is not known, use the newspaper title in place of a name. See ‘Unknown publication details’ below.

Works of art, photographs and illustrations

When you include a picture, painting, photograph, diagram, or other image from a source, cite the artist/producer of the work and date in the text in the same way as for other references, and give the full reference to the source in your reference list, according to the type. 

With visual sources, you should say in your reference list what type of medium or material the artist has used – painting, photograph, sculpture, textile panel, linocut, etc. Include this in square brackets, along with the place of publication or exhibition and the publisher, if relevant. 

If the work is on permanent display in a gallery, give the place and name of gallery using this format:

Artist’s name, initials. (Year) Title of work. [material type] Location: Name of gallery. 

Material in an exhibition

Use this format: 

Artist’s name, initials. (Year of exhibition) Title of work, year produced. [material type] ‘Exhibition title’ (if relevant). Location: Name of gallery. Date of exhibition (if known)

Louis, M. (2009) Tet, 1958 [painting] ‘Synthetic’ exhibition.New York: TheWhitneyMuseum of American Art. 22 Jan – 19th April 

Exhibition catalogue

Give the surname and initials of the artist and the date in brackets then the title of the exhibition in italics followed by a full stop. Give the place, a colon, then the gallery.

Henderson, T. (2005) The udder.Oxford: MOMA

 Image in a book

If you are citing an image in a book, give the artist, year the book was published, title of image and its original date if known, and include the page reference in your list, using this format:

Bill Brandt (1977) ‘Fountain in Barcelona, 1939’. [photograph] In Shadow of Light: photographs by Bill Brandt. London: Gordon Fraser, p.59

See electronic sources below for how to cite images that you borrow from Bridgeman Education or other digital image libraries.

Government publications

Available information may vary, but where possible include the following: 

Government Department/Institute. Subdivision of department/institute (if known). (Year) Title of document. (Name of chairperson if it is a committee). Place of publication: Publisher. 

Department for Culture, Media and Sport (2008) Creative Britain: new talents for the new economy.London: DCMS 

Conference papers

Conference papers are often published in book form or as a special issue of a journal. Include the name, place and date of the conference in this format: 

Author, Initial. (Year) Title of conference paper. In: conference proceedings title, including date. Place of publication: Publisher. 

Humphries, J. (2006) Using camera obscura in a youth photography project. In: Photography and the Urban Landscape: proceedings of a conference, Sydney, 1991.Sydney: Australian Photographic Society 


Cite academic theses using this format: 

Author, initials. (Year) Thesis title. Level of thesis. Awarding institution. 

McLaren, A ( 2006) Humour and Textiles in Art. MA Thesis.RoyalCollege of Art

Trim, M. (1998) A changing hero: the relevance of Bunyan’s Pilgrim and The Pilgrim’s Progress through three centuries of children’s literature. PhD Thesis.LoughboroughUniversity. 

Corporate authors

If there is a shared, or ‘corporate’ responsibility for the production of the material, the ‘corporate name’ becomes the author, and appears in the text, reference list and bibliography in the usual way. Corporate authors can be government bodies, companies, professional associations, international organisations etc. 

The Society of Authors (2009) Quick guide to author’s agents. London: The Society of Authors 

Unknown publication details

Occasionally documents lack basic publication details. In this case, it is necessary to indicate that these are not available. A series of abbreviations are generally accepted for this purpose: 

  • Author/corporate author not given – [Anon.]
  • No date – [n.d.]
  • No place (sine loco) – [s.l.]
  • No publisher (sine nomine) – [s.n.]
  • Not known – [n.k.] 

For journal articles without authors the journal title becomes both author and cited journal title. 

Unpublished materials

Some printed materials are not produced by recognisable publishers and may not be widely available. In this case it is necessary to indicate this, and if the document is archival, such as a manuscript or personal letter, its location should be included. 

Spratt, J. (2010) Musings on body shape in children’s literature. Redhouse Writers Collective, Jarrow, unpublished. 

Electronic sources on the internet

Many publications are now available on the internet, including journals, conference proceedings, digital art libraries, and specialist websites that compile links to other internet resources and articles on specific topic such as creative writing, textiles, photography and so on. When citing an electronic source, always give the URL (the address of the web page) and the date on which you accessed it. 

When you cite the URL of a document or image, avoid splitting it at the end of a line if possible. Don’t add any other punctuation such as hyphens or change the case of any characters. The ‘accessed date’ is the date on which you viewed or downloaded the document or image. Electronic sources may be changed or updated so the access date is helpful to other people who may want to track down your references. Keep a copy of the document or image if this is feasible. 

Online images

Use this format for images you borrow from Bridgeman Education Library or other digital image libraries: 

Artist (if known) (Year) Title of image, or a description in italics. [material] [online image]. Place: Gallery holding original work (if known). Available from: URL [Accessed date]. 

Gurschner, G. (c.1890) Table lamp. [shell & metal]. [online image]. Private Collection. Available from: http://private.bridgemaneducation.com [Accessed 22 January 2010]

If there is no artist/producer, the year should follow the title of the image.

Owl, entitled in latin ‘Greater Pechaux’ (1796) [watercolour painting] [online image] East India Library collection, Vol.V.London: British Library. Available from: http://private.bridgemaneducation.com [Accessed 22 January 2010] 

Web pages and documents

Author/editor, initials. (Year) Title [online]. (Edition). Publisher (if known). Available from: URL [Accessed date]. 

Crosbie, K. (2003) Accessing creativity [online]. One of Us Creative Writing Website. Available from: http://www.oneofus.co.uk/index.php/articles/accessing_creativity [Accessed 21 January 2010] 

Often organisations put information on the web without citing a specific author. In this case, name the smallest identifiable organisational unit as the author. 

Normal Editions Workshop, (2007) Frontiers in Printmaking Conference. [online].IllinoisStateUniversity. Available from: http://www.cfa.ilstu.edu/normal_editions/conference2007.html [Accessed 21 January 2010]

Design Council, (2008) The Good Design Plan: National design strategy and Design Council delivery plan 2008–11. [online]. Design Council. Available from: http://www.designcouncil.org.uk/gooddesignplan [Accessed 21 January 2010]

Electronic journals

These should be cited in the same way as hard copy journals, but add these details: [online], Available from: URL, and the date accessed.

Some details such as page number may not be available if the journal is published as HTML, in which case reference all the details that are known using this format:

Author, initials. (Year) Title of article. Journal title. [online]. Volume (issue), page no. Available from: URL. [Accessed date].

Doubal, R. (2009) Karla Black: Sculptures. The List. [online] (644), 19 November. Available from: http://www.list.co.uk/article/22198-karla-black-sculptures [Accessed 21 January 2010]

Auden, W. H. (2007) So you think you can write? Times Online. (From The Sunday Times, March 11, reprinted from Auden, W.H. (1948) Poets at Work) Available from: http://entertainment.timesonline. co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/books/book_extracts/article1480855.ece [Accessed 7 Dec 2009]


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