Everybody Loves Referencing

You’ve checked the spelling, grammar, and punctuation. You’ve made sure the language flows well and that it is appropriately academic. Now comes your favourite bit. Perhaps you’d like to dress up a little and pour yourself a glass of wine (alcohol-free, of course: don’t drink and proofread!) before you settle down to the positive treat that is the reference list.

What? You don’t love proofreading references? You don’t smile fondly every time you see a citation that needs work? You don’t let out a whoop of joy when faced with an obscure, complicated referencing style? What on earth is wrong with you?

For the rest of us, then, the normies who are content as long as we have a gingerbread latte, some pizza, and OSCOLA footnotes to enjoy, here is a celebration of some of referencing’s most adorable foibles.

Just chilling with a latte and a PDF of the MLA Style Manual.

I Didn’t Mean THAT Harvard

One of the things we adore about checking references is the way everything we know can go out the window at the drop of a style guide. Many styles and systems vary between institutions. Indeed, in the case of Harvard there is no ‘system’, as such, at all. Rather, it is an umbrella term covering many styles of author–date referencing.

When faced with an academic document, therefore, it is worth checking which version of a referencing style the customer is using. Otherwise you risk making unnecessary or incorrect edits. For instance, the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style recommended using ibid. for repeat references, while the 17th edition suggests using a shortened version of the first citation instead.

Referencing Style: Essay

We just beam with pleasure when we ask for a customer’s referencing style and get an answer that gives us no clue whatsoever. It makes us feel like detectives.

When this happens, your first port of call should be to contact the customer and politely explain what you mean, giving examples. This is often enough to glean the information you need. Alternatively, the customer may have to get in touch with their university to ascertain which referencing style they need to use.

If all else fails, just ensure material is cited and referenced clearly and consistently, and make sure to leave a comment for the customer to remind them to check their references and citations are formatted correctly.

Wizard Boy and the Thinker’s Rock

You’re a magician, Henry.

It’s always exciting to see a title or author name and just know it’s been copied down or remembered incorrectly. Moreover, some customers may appear to have a mental block regarding consistent spelling. Perhaps an author is sometimes Robert and sometimes Roberts. Perhaps the name of a text alternates between The Title, A Title and just Title.

You can always check this yourself and make changes if you are confident that you have found the correct edition of the source in question. However, if you are at all unsure, you should leave a comment for the customer asking them to check and amend the word or words in question rather than making changes yourself.