Online Harvard Referencing Guide

Using the Author-Date, Harvard System

Academic essays, reports, case studies all need proper referencing. This needs you to present clear and consistent use of citations.

It lets the reader know where you found the information you’ve used to support your argument – and will help them find it if they want to, It demonstrates the breadth of your reading, and watching and listening that went into your work. It also ensures that you don’t pass off someone else’s words as your own. That can lead to all sorts of woes, and is generally, “A Bad Thing”. Usually called ‘plagiarism’.

In Creative Arts we want you to use the Author-Date system of referencing your written work. It’s also called the Harvard System. Harvard is easy to learn and is used by many schools in this University and is commonplace internationally. Like all systems it has variations, so stick to our examples and you’ll be conforming to what the School wants you to do. This Guide is based closely on that produced by the University’s School of Education. If we haven’t included an example you need, have a look at that Guide which can get from the Subject Toolkit on StudyNet.

In simple terms it means that if you refer to a source in your text you mark this by putting the author’s surname and the date of publication in parentheses – that’s round closed brackets by the way. For example…

Paul Wells has a number of interesting theories on what makes animation such a subversive art form (Wells 1998). These are…

If you are referring to a particular passage in a text or quoting from that text then you add the page number (i.e. (Wells 1998: 68) with a colon and a space after the date followed by the page number.

At the end of the essay or report you need to give an alphabetical reference list of the sources you’ve used with expanded bibliographic details. The Harvard basic order of information is:

Author (Year) Title. Place of Publication. Publisher.

i.e. Wells, P. (1998) Understanding Animation. Abingdon: Routledge.

Note: you only need put an author’s initials. Titles of books and journals, newspapers, films and so on are put in italics. If there’s no identifiable author then use the Title.

If you use a direct quote from a source, put it in double inverted commas.

“This is how to signify a quotation in the Harvard system”, (Walden,K. et al. 2010: 45)

There are, naturally, many variations on this theme depending on the format of the information source you’ve used (film, picture, website etc.) and whether someone is being quoted in another author’s book or article. Or if, for no fault of your own, you don’t know a date or author or some other detail, and that’s sadly rather common with websites.

The rest of this guide consists of examples of many of these variations. Each one shows you how to cite the reference in the text, and how to cite it in the reference list at the end. It’s by no means exhaustive, but one great thing about the Harvard System is that there are plenty of guides out there. There are plenty of books that show you how to use Harvard and many online versions such as those on StudyNet in the subject Information Toolkits or on the web.

You might have used another type of referencing in the past, footnotes, endnotes and such arcane Latin abbreviations as op.cit and ibid. Do not mix the two systems. Stick with Harvard.

By the way – nearly all, (after the Wells’ book) of the following examples are fictitious sources. Don’t go looking for them!


In the text In the bibliography
One author (Wells 1998) or if you’ve already mentioned his name: As Wells (1998) states in his ‘Understanding Animation’, Wells, P. (1998) Understanding Animation. Abingdon: Routledge.
Two authors List them both Smith and Jones (2007:128) believe that using comic sans as a typeface on websites is… Smith, J & Jones, T. (2007) How to make Websites truly sexy. Hatfield: University of Hertfordshire Press.
Several authors If there are three or more authors then only

list the first author

followed by

It can be argued that abstract art ended with the concept of postmodernism (Smith et al. 2009:136) Smith,J., Jones, T., Patel, B. (2009) Postmodernism and the end of Art. London: Panther Press.
Chapter in an edited book “Special effects are really only smoke and mirrors wrapped up in technology” (Digby, in Dare, 2001) Digby, A. (2001) ‘The Elephant in the room’. In Dare, D. (ed.) Why is modern SFX such rubbish? London. Hubert Guest Press.
More than one book by same author in the same year

(it can happen)

As Cattermole suggests (2001a & 2001b) knitting is not so much a craft than a therapy… Cattermole, P. (2001a) Knitting with sisal. Bristol: Cabot. Cattermole, P. (2001b) Knitting and post-traumatic stress. London: Proustian Press.

Journal Articles

Here the title of the journal, magazine, newspaper is put in italics

In the text In the bibliography
Author unknown A recent report on the take up of film courses in the UK by JISC (2010) highlights the… JISC (2010) ‘The impact of new University funding for film programmes’ JISC News. No. 67. June. p.27.
One author De Sautoy (2008) describes the fashion industry in typically strong terms… De Sautoy, L. (2008) ‘Some more pungent observations on the fashion industry’. Journal of Fashion, Semiotics and Hysteria. 21(3) October. pp. 20-36.
OK lets unwrap that last one – 21? That’s volume 21. Issue 3. Month. Pagination – if one page it’s p. if a range of pages pp.
Two authors The principal reason for moving the movie industry to California was (Sidle & Fondle, 1997) that it was full of swimming pools… Sidle, U. & Fondle, D. (1997) ‘Olympic swimming pools and Hollywood. An investigation”. Film History and Popular Culture. 11(2) Spring. pp. 230-247.
Author citing another author Most music these days is so mediated by technology that some authors (Slider, 2006, in Contrell, 2007) argue that… Slider, B. (2006) Computer Music and the Modern World. Cardiff: Maxboyce. In Contrell. Z. (2007) ‘Some more asinine reflections on computer based musical forms’. Digital Music Musings. 6(2) February. pp. 2-23.

Moving Image

In the text In the bibliography
Films , DVDs, BluRay etc. [tell us the exact format in square brackets] The inability of Hollywood to resist the sequel of a sequel of a sequel (Beowulf vs Fafnir: Ragnorok 2, The Revenge, 2010) Beowulf vs Fafnir: Ragnorok 2, The Revenge. (2010) Directed by F.W. Murnau III. [DVD] Burbank. Buena Vista.
TV Programmes Same format for radio programmes The latest series of Doctor Who promises to go back to the early 1960s standards of special effects (Dr. Who Confidential, 2010) such as wobbly sets and bacofoil costumes. Dr Who Confidential (2010) BBC3, 22 July. 20:00

Electronic Information

If you refer to an electronic book, journal article, rather than one printed on paper, you should list the URL for the source. This is because some pagination in e-books differs from the printed version. You should also give us the date you accessed this resource, as electronic sources can ‘disappear’. It’s best to get into the habit of cutting and pasting the URL and other details of any electronic resource you come across and then putting in the date, as you go. Trying to retrace your steps later can be tricky.

In the text In the bibliography
Electronic books Ligeti’s version of ‘Mary had a little lamb’ (Drummer 2002: 97-99) is perhaps best described as… Drummer.L (2002) The Theme of the nursery rhyme in contemporary electronic music. London: Zounds Books. Available at: http://www.herts.ebrary.drummer2002.caco/phony.html [Accessed 9 November 2007]
Electronic journal article Same as above, let us know that you accessed

an electronic version of

the article by putting in

the access date. If you

found the source in a

particular database

(such as ArtFullText or

JSTOR let us know.

Lacroix’s ’s approach to designing pith helmets made of felt has had and enormous effect on the Paris catwalk (Blodgett 2005). Blodgett,W. (2005) Felt, feeling the colonial edge in millinery. Journal of Military Fashion Foibles. [Online] 3(3) Autumn. pp. 50-67. JSTOR. Available at http:// [Accessed: 14 May 2009]

The Internet

Here it’s vital to put all the information you can get. As the Internet is not a stable entity; things come and go and change rapidly, you need to tell us when you found your information. Therefore you need to state the date on which you accessed a webpage. Put this detail in square brackets.

In the text In the bibliography
Internet page – author known

If author unknown use

the title of the page

Lewinsky (2009) states that images of ex-US presidents often raise problems of distasteful memories in many viewers… Lewinsky, M. (2009) The Oval Office and modern mythology. Available at: http// [Accessed 16 December 2009]
Organisation website Things like Government departments, Museums,

Crafts Council etc. If an

abbreviation is common

parlance – such as V&A

for Victoria and Albert

Museum, then use it.

The major exhibition of 20th century knitting machines (Design Museum, 2009) proved that… Smith, J & Jones, T. (2007) How to Design Museum (2009) Recent Exhibitions: Knitting Machines. Available at [Accessed 12 January 2010]
Several authors
If there are three or more authors then only

list the first author

followed by

In her blog Spooner suggests, “Covering oneself in jelly and making barking noises like a seal is where conceptual art is going”. (Spooner 2009) Phillips, I. (2010) How to become Tutor of the Year: A quick guide.[Accessed 14 August 2010]
Blogs, discussion groups, etc. “Special effects are really only smoke and mirrors wrapped up in technology” (Digby, in Dare, 2001) Digby, A. (2001) ‘The Elephant in the room’. In Dare, D. (ed.) Why is modern SFX such rubbish? London. Hubert Guest Press.
Virtual learning environments (such as StudyNet) Phillips (2010) shows how to become the most popular tutor in a University. Cattermole, P. (2001a) Knitting with sisal. Bristol: Cabot. Cattermole, P. (2001b) Knitting and post-traumatic stress. London: Proustian Press.

Newspaper or magazine articles

Again with these if they are electronic versions, please give the URL and date accessed.

In the text In the bibliography
If the author is known St. James is a great fan of Brian Sewell, as he has such empathy with so much modern art (St. James 2008) St. James, M. (2008) ‘Why I love Brian Sewell’. The Observer Review. 21 May 2008. P. 17.
If the author is unknown Despite the recession demand for art & design courses is still buoyant (The Guardian 2010). The Guardian (2010) ‘How is the slump affecting University courses?’. 12 April, 2010. p.29.


Most of the essays you write will deal with art, design and media in some way and therefore will need illustrations.

Illustrations are visual forms of evidence that you cam use to interrogate the validity of texts. You can use an illustration as evidence to support an argument, or as an example to support what has been said in one of your source texts.

Using illustrations also saves you from describing images in too much detail, so that you can focus on the most relevant details.

Choosing illustrations

Illustrations should be:

  • Relevant
    Only include illustrations that are significant to your text. Don’t bulk out your text with images that are not directly relevant. You should be able to directly refer to every illustration that you use in your text.
  • High quality
    Choose images that are clearly reproduced and of a high resolution. You may scan them from a book or download them from the web. If you find them online, make sure that they are of a high quality so that detail can be clearly seen in your printout.

Location of illustrations

Illustrations should appear throughout the essay, where they are discussed in the text. Place the caption immediately below the illustration.

Referring to illustrations in your text

It is a good idea to number your illustrations (fig. 1, fig. 2, etc.) so that you can refer directly to them in the text. This will ensure that you avoid confusion when you have used more than one image.


Every illustration must be accompanied by a caption. Captions can be inserted in Microsoft Word either by selecting References > Caption, or Insert > Caption.

Your caption should provide details of the image itself, and of its source. You should provide full bibliographic details, as you would in a reference.

Generally, a caption will list: figure number’ name of the artist/author’ title of the work’ date’ size and dimensions (for fine art pieces)’ materials/medium’ location (if held in a gallery or collection)’ bibliographic details of source (book, magazine, website, etc.)

Here are some examples:


Fig. 1 Frida Kahlo, Tree of Hope, 1945. 56×40.5 cm, oil on maisonite. Collection of

Daniel Filipacchi, Paris. Chadwick, Whitney (1985) Women, artists and Surrealism,

London: Thames and Hudson, colour plate X.


Fig. 3 Marco Zanuso and Richard Zapper, TS 505, 1964, portable radio, private

collection, Mollerup, Per, Collapsibles: A Design Album of Space-Saving Objects,

London: Thames and Hudson, p. 90.

If you use an image from the web the in text information should be below the image and should read according to the following structure:

Fig 4.1: Philipe Starck : (Source:, 2010)

In bibliography (2010) Philippe Starck quote. [Online image] Available at [Accessed 17 August 2010]