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Reference works (print and online)

Reference works (print and online)

Reference works such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are generally written and edited by specialists in their fields, and are therefore considered to be more authoritative than collaborative reference resources such as Wikipedia.

Published reference works such as The Oxford English Dictionary will often include articles compiled by teams of experts where details of the individual author are not available. The following provides suggested guidance. It is worth consulting 'Cite Them Right' (10th edn) for detailed guidance on citing the full range of reference publications.

Printed reference works

Where the author details are clear articles in reference books should be cited in the same way as chapters in edited books (see 'Chapter in an edited book' in this guide).  In some cases information on the author of the article and the editor of the reference book will not be available. In this case the suggested solution is to cite the reference material by the book’s title as follows;

The statesman’s yearbook 2016 (2015) ‘Albania’. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 89-93.  

Online reference works

Databases such as CREDO provide access to a wide range of dictionaries and encyclopedias on different academic subjects. In some cases details of the author(s) and editors of the material will be easily available. In which case the article should be referenced as follows:

Brawley, M.R. (2010) ‘Globalization’ in Reinert, K. and Rajan, R. (eds) The Princeton encyclopedia of the world economy. Available at: /entry/prewe/globalization/0 (Accessed: 20 July 2016).

Where details of the author and editor are not clearly available the suggested solution is to cite the reference material as follows;

The Columbia Encyclopedia (2016) ‘Hiccup’.  Available at: (Accessed: 20 July 2016).

University of Bedfordshire

A Guide to Referencing» Reference works (print and online)