How to create a Harvard bibliography or reference list

In Harvard style, the bibliography or reference list provides full references for the sources you used in your writing.

  • A reference list consists of entries corresponding to your in-text citations.
  • A bibliography sometimes also lists sources that you consulted for background research, but did not cite in your text.

The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. If in doubt about which to include, check with your instructor or department.

The information you include in a reference varies depending on the type of source, but it usually includes the author, date, and title of the work, followed by details of where it was published.

Formatting a Harvard style bibliography

Sources are alphabetised by author last name. The heading ‘Reference list’ or ‘Bibliography’ appears at the top.

Each new source appears on a new line, and when an entry for a single source extends onto a second line, a hanging indent is used:

Harvard bibliography example

Harvard bibliography

Harvard reference examples

Reference list or bibliography entries always start with the author’s last name and initial, the publication date and the title of the source. The other information required varies depending on the source type. Formats and examples for the most common source types are given below.

Books

FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Book title. City: Publisher.
ExampleCoetzee, J. M. (2000) Disgrace. London: Vintage.
Notes
  • The city mentioned is the location of the publisher’s headquarters.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Chapter title’, in Editor name (ed(s).) Book title. City: Publisher, pp. page range.
ExampleGreenblatt, S. (2010) ‘The traces of Shakespeare’s life’, in De Grazia, M. and Wells, S. (eds.) The new Cambridge companion to Shakespeare. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 1–14.
Notes
  • The first name listed is the author of the individual chapter you’re referencing.
  • The editor of the book appears later in the reference, followed by ‘ed.’ (or ‘eds.’ if there are two or more).
  • The page range at the end shows the chapter’s location in the book.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Book title. Translated from the [language] by ranslator name. City: Publisher.
ExampleSaramago, J. (1997) Blindness. Translated from the Portuguese by G. Gontiero. London: Vintage.
Notes
  • The translator’s name, unlike other names, is not inverted: the initial comes first.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Book title. Edition. City: Publisher.
ExampleDanielson, D. (ed.) (1999) The Cambridge companion to Milton. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Notes
  • The edition appears only when it’s a second or later edition.
  • ‘Edition’ is always abbreviated to ‘edn’.
  • Note that this example is an edited collection of essays from different authors, and thus the editor is listed as the main author.

Journal articles

FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article title’, Journal Name, Volume(Issue), pp. page range.
ExampleMaceachen, D. B. (1950) ‘Wilkie Collins and British law’, Nineteenth-Century Fiction, 5(2), pp. 121–139.
Notes
  • This format is also used for journal articles which you accessed online but which are available in print too.
  • There is no space between the volume and issue number (in brackets).
  • The page range shows where the article is located in the journal.
  • Unlike other titles, the name of a journal uses headline capitalisation; capitalise every important word.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article title’, Journal Name, Volume(Issue), page range. DOI.
ExampleAdamson, P. (2019) ‘American history at the foreign office: Exporting the silent epic Western’, Film History, 31(2), pp. 32–59. doi:10.2979/filmhistory.31.2.02.
Notes
  • When an article you accessed online has no print equivalent, include the DOI if available.
  • The DOI is preceded by ‘doi:’ – no capitalisation, no space.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article title’, Journal Name, Volume(Issue), pagerange. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleTheroux, A. (1990) ‘Henry James’s Boston’, The Iowa Review, 20(2), pp. 158–165. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/20153016 (Accessed: 13 February
2020).
Notes
  • When an article you accessed online has no print equivalent and no DOI, include a URL and an access date.
  • Use the stable URL provided by the database if there is one.

Websites

FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Page title. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleGoogle (2019) Google terms of service. Available at: https://policies.google.com/terms?hl=en-US (Accessed: 29 April 2020).
Notes
  • Reference list entries for pages without a clearly identified author can begin with the name of the relevant site or organisation instead.
  • For web sources with no DOI, include an access date.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article title’, Blog name, Date. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleRakich, N. (2020) ‘How does Biden stack up to past Democratic nominees?’, FiveThirtyEight, 28 April. Available at: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-does-biden-stack-up-to-past-democratic-nominees/ (Accessed: 29 April 2020).
Notes
  • Here you include the year at the start as usual, but also the exact day of publication later in the reference.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. [username] (Year) Title or text [Website name] Date. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleDorsey, J. [@jack] (2018) We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation … [Twitter] 1 March. Available at: https://twitter.com/jack/status/969234275420655616 (Accessed: 29 April 2020).
Notes
  • Include the author’s username on the site in square brackets, if available.
  • If the post has a title, use it (in italics).
  • If the post is untitled, use the text of the post instead. Do not use italics. If the text is long, you can save space by replacing some of it with an ellipsis, as above.

Multimedia

FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Title [Medium]. Institution, City or Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleBosch, H. (1482) The last judgement [Triptych]. Groeningemuseum, Bruges.
Notes
  • Cite images according to how you viewed them. For an image from a book, you’d just cite the book. An image viewed online is cited similarly to other web sources.
  • Include information about the medium of the image in square brackets; for example, ‘Photograph’ or ‘Oil on canvas’.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) Title. Date. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleVox (2020) The big lesson from South Korea’s coronavirus response. 10 April. Available at: https://youtu.be/BE-cA4UK07c (Accessed: 29 April 2020).
Notes
  • This format works for YouTube and similar video sites like Dailymotion, Vimeo and Instagram.
  • Unless the uploader is an individual whose real name you know, use the username in the author position.

Newspapers and magazines

FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article title’, Newspaper Name, date, p. page number. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleButler, S. (2020) ‘Women’s fashion manufacturer to make reusable gowns for NHS’, The Guardian, 28 April. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/apr/28/womens-fashion-manufacturer-to-make-reusable-gowns-for-nhs (Accessed: 29 April 2020).
Notes
  • Include the page number where the article begins if you read the article in print. If you read it online, include the URL and access date instead.
FormatAuthor surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article title’, Magazine Name, Volume(Issue) or (Month) or (Season), pp. page range. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
ExampleNewman, J. (2020) ‘For autistic youths entering adulthood, a new world of challenges awaits’, National Geographic, (May), pp. 20–24.
Notes
  • For issue information, follow the format used by the magazine; magazines may be issued per month, per season, or in numbered volumes and issues.
  • Only include the URL and access date for online-exclusive articles. Omit this information if the article is available in print, even if you read it online.
  • If you read an article online, you can omit the page range.

Referencing sources with multiple authors

When a source has up to three authors, list all of them in the order their names appear on the source. If there are four or more, give only the first name followed by ‘et al.’:

Number of authorsReference example
1 authorDavis, V. (2019) …
2 authorsDavis, V. and Barrett, M. (2019) …
3 authorsDavis, V., Barrett, M. and McLachlan, F. (2019) …
4+ authorsDavis, V. et al. (2019) …

Referencing sources with missing information

Sometimes a source won’t list all the information you need for your reference. Here’s what to do when you don’t know the publication date or author of a source.

No date

Some online sources, as well as historical documents, may lack a clear publication date. In these cases, you can replace the date in the reference list entry with the words ‘no date’. With online sources, you still include an access date at the end:

Scribbr (no date) How to structure a dissertation. Available at: https://www.scribbr.co.uk/category/thesis-dissertation/ (Accessed: 14 February 2020).

No author

When a source doesn’t list an author, you can often list a corporate source as an author instead, as with ‘Scribbr’ in the above example. When that’s not possible, begin the entry with the title instead of the author:

‘Divest’ (2020) Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divest (Accessed: 29 April 2020).

Frequently asked questions about Harvard bibliographies

What’s the difference between a bibliography and a reference list?

Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference in meaning:

  • A reference list only includes sources cited in the text – every entry corresponds to an in-text citation.
  • A bibliography also includes other sources which were consulted during the research but not cited.
How do I cite a source with multiple authors in Harvard style?

In Harvard referencing, up to three author names are included in an in-text citation or reference list entry. When there are four or more authors, include only the first, followed by ‘et al.

In-text citationReference list
1 author(Smith, 2014)Smith, T. (2014) …
2 authors(Smith and Jones, 2014)Smith, T. and Jones, F. (2014) …
3 authors(Smith, Jones and Davies, 2014)Smith, T., Jones, F. and Davies, S. (2014) …
4+ authors(Smith et al., 2014)Smith, T. et al. (2014) …

 

How do I cite multiple sources by the same author published in the same year?

In Harvard style referencing, to distinguish between two sources by the same author that were published in the same year, you add a different letter after the year for each source:

  • (Smith, 2019a)
  • (Smith, 2019b)

Add ‘a’ to the first one you cite, ‘b’ to the second, and so on. Do the same in your bibliography or reference list.

How do I create a hanging indent in Word?

To create a hanging indent for your bibliography or reference list:

  1. Highlight all the entries
  2. Click on the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the ‘Paragraph’ tab in the top menu.
  3. In the pop-up window, under ‘Special’ in the ‘Indentation’ section, use the drop-down menu to select ‘Hanging’.
  4. Then close the window with ‘OK’.
Is this article helpful?
Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

Comment or ask a question.

Please click the checkbox on the left to verify that you are a not a bot.