Bibliographic Citation Guide
Bibliographic Citation Guide
Introduction: What is a bibliographic citation and why do we use citations?
Bibliographic citations form a component part of any scholarly literature. The purpose of citations is to present a sufficient amount of information to be able to locate the original materials used by an author. Today it is almost unimaginable to undertake any scholarly work without studying the basic sources and earlier research in the chosen field. Citations also inform us about the assumptions and principles of an author. Though them an author places his or her work in the context of previous learning, and presents the facts he or she worked with. Bibliographic citations also enable the reader to quickly and effectively obtain further information in a given field.
Intellectual property rights in the Czech Republic are protected by Act no. 121/2000 Coll. on copyright. It specifies when it is possible to use extracts from other works and emphasises the necessity to respect citation ethics. These ethics require the acknowledgement of all information sources used in a given work. Citations must be clear and exact enough to enable identification of a cited source.
Failure by an author to acknowledge his or her sources can be construed as plagiarism. Students should be aware that the Dean has issued a Directive on Quotations and acknowledgement of sources: measures against plagiarism, which is an integral part of the internal regulations of the Faculty. All students are required to familiarise themselves with this text and to abide by it.
General principles for the citation of information sources
- Attend to the clarity of data in your citations, apply identical rules and format to all citations
- Make sure the data in your citations are complete (less does not mean more in this case)
- Base the data for your citations on primary documents (i.e. with the relevant books or other information sources directly to hand)
- Do not add data you do not have (e.g. ISBN, full Christian name of author), it is better to leave it out
- Unless absolutely necessary, do not abbreviate the words contained in the data about the cited publication
The most common mistakes in bibliographic citations
- To cite a piece of work which an author did not use in his or her work – citing experts from a given field, despite their irrelevance to the theme of the work at hand, is a habitual error
- Not to cite a work which was used (which can constitute plagiarism)
- To cite one’s own works (so-called auto-citation) despite their irrelevance to a new piece of work
- Imprecise citations which make it impossible to identify and obtain a given work
Citations in Czech publications are generally guided by two Czech norms:
- ČSN ISO 690 Dokumentace. Bibliografické citace: obsah, forma, struktura (Documentation. Bibliographic citations- content, form, structure)
- ČSN ISO 690-2 Bibliografické citace. Část 2: Elektronické dokumenty nebo jejich části (Bibliographic citations. Part 2- Electronic documents or their parts)
These are Czech versions of two international norms issued by the International Standards Organisation (ISO), and although there is no complete reverse translation into English of the Czech versions, a handy digest of the original English norms is available on-line.
These norms specify the elements which need to be mentioned in bibliographic citations of published monographs and serial publications, as well as chapters and articles from such publications and patent documents. They stipulate the order in which the individual elements of a citation should be listed, and set the rules regarding the transcription and format of information acquired from the source publication.
Basic Bibliographic Guidelines
Bibliographic citations are generally listed at the end of the whole publication or at the end of its parts (chapters, sections, etc.) in the form of a list of the literature used. The form of citations must be uniform in the entire work. The structure of citations, however, differs according to the type of document cited. The list of such citations is usually arranged in alphabetical order (based on the last name of the author).
A corresponding item from the list can be referred to in the text. It is also possible to mention a reference directly in the text or in the form of a footnote at the bottom part of the page. Individual references in the text must also be mentioned in the final list of bibliographic citations.
When using exact citations or paraphrases from other sources, bibliographic data must always immediately follow the quoted text – either in the text itself or in a footnote (see above). These references must always include the page number of the original text, if the original source is paginated.
Citations of Electronic Documents
So-called electronic documents, available online on the Internet or in other formats (CD-ROM etc.), are a relatively recent phenomenon. In some instances these documents resemble traditional printed documents and share many of the same basic characteristics. However, thanks to the rapid development of electronic publishing, it is increasingly possible that some electronic documents will not have a printed equivalent. The citation of electronic documents is governed by ČSN ISO 690-2. As various forms of electronic publishing develop, new citation rules arise. The need to cite such documents sometimes precedes the process of standardisation; therefore, it can happen that in some cases the citation rules are not clearly defined. If there are no rules for a given type of an electronic document, you should apply the citation rules applicable to printed documents. However, in contrast to the practice with printed documents, data regarding the exact length of the document is not included.
The following data are obligatory for the citation of electronic documents:
Type of medium (format) – specify whether CD-ROM, floppy disc, posted online, etc.
How the source may be accessed – online documents must include a full URL address
Version – required in the case of all computer programmes
Last date of revision – essential because later revisions can cause changes in the content of the original document
Date of citation – important for the verification of the version of the document cited
It can happen that documents accessible on the internet have been moved to another location or have been completely removed. Therefore, it is important to include as much information as possible about an electronic online source to be able to locate it via search engines (Google, AltaVista, Yahoo, etc.) or via an archive, such as the Internet Archive.
- Excerpts from International Standard ISO 690:2010
- A Research Guide for Students, which offers a useful overview of MLA Style (probably the most popular American bibliographic standard)
- Guidelines for Academic Essays from the Department of English and American Studies of Charles University Faculty of Arts, an extremely useful reference guide
- Dean’s Directive no. 18/2015: Quotations and acknowledgement of sources: measures against plagiarism, an internal regulation of the Faculty of Social Sciences, which all students are required to follow