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Referencing - BU Harvard 22-23 Full Guide: What information you need: author/date/page numbers

What information you need

  • In the Harvard system all cited publications are referred to in the main body of text by giving the author’s surname/originator's name and the year of publication. 
  • You will find this information from the Title and Reverse Title Page (or Copyright page) of the book
  • If you are using quotations, you also need the page number the quote was on


  • Use the name(s) of the person or organisation shown most prominently in the source as being responsible for the content.
  • If no author is given and there is clearly no identifiable person or organisation, use ‘Anon.’, except for webpages, newspapers, film, dictionaries or encyclopaedias. See section 2.1(g) on page 5 for further guidance.
  • For all examples use the same author notation in both the main text of your work and in the list of references at the end – they must match.

Year of publication

  • If an exact year or date is not known, an approximate date preceded by ‘ca.’ (short for circa) may be supplied e.g. (ca.1750). If no such approximation is possible, use (no date).
  • For webpages, it may be preferable to cite the year in which the page was accessed, e.g. (ca. 2009), rather than use (no date).
  • Where a book, chapter or article has been re-published as part of a different work e.g. an anthology, cite and reference the original date of publication, if given/available.

Page numbers

  • When directly quoting text / copying particular parts of a document, the location of that part e.g. page number should always be given in brackets, after the author and year e.g. (Brown et al. 2020, p.17).
  • Webpages do not usually have page numbers, so you cannot include that detail when quoting text or copying content from webpages, but, you must still cite the author and year. e.g. Tesco (2017) suggest “Quoted text from the webpage would be inserted here”
  • When citing particular parts of a document, the location of that part (e.g. section of a report) may be given after the year within the brackets (e.g. BU 2020, section 2.1).
  • Where pagination is not available, you may include a chapter number instead (if available) e.g. (Roberts 2019, chapter 2).