The Footnote / Bibliography or 'Oxford' Referencing System

How do I do it?

The Footnote/ Bibliography method requires two elements: footnotes throughout your assignment, and a bibliography or list of references at the end.

How do I do a footnote?

Footnotes (sometimes just called ‘notes’) are what they sound like—a note (or a reference to a source of information) which appears at the foot (bottom) of a page. In a footnote referencing system, you indicate a reference by:

  • putting a small number above the line of type directly following the source material. This number is called a note identifier. It sits slightly above the line of text.

It looks like this.1

  • putting the same number, followed by a citation of your source, at the bottom of the page. Footnoting should be numerical and chronological: the first reference is 1, the second is 2, and so on. The advantage of footnoting is that the reader can simply cast their eyes down the page to discover the source of a reference which interests them.

The first footnote for a source

In the text

Note identifiers should be placed at the end of a sentence, and follow any punctuation marks (but precede a dash). If you use a long quotation (more than three lines of text), the note identifier should be placed at the end of the quotation.

Lake points out that a division began in the latter half of the nineteenth century with the doctrine of ‘separate spheres’.1

At the foot of the page

When you reference a source for the first time, you must provide full bibliographic information (information about the source). This includes:

  • author(s) initial(s) and surname(s)
  • name of the article, book or journal
  • editors (if applicable)
  • publisher name and location
  • year published

2. You should give exact page numbers if your reference is a direct quotation, a paraphrase, an idea, or is otherwise directly drawn from the source. 

1 M Lake, ‘Intimate strangers’ in Making a Life: a People’s History of Australia Since 1788, V. Burgman and J. Lee (eds), Penguin, Victoria, 1988, p. 155. 

Footnote formatting

  • Titles of publications should be italicised.
  • Use minimum capitalisation for publication titles.
  • Use minimal capitalisation for journal or book article titles.
  • Article titles should be enclosed between single quotation marks.
  • Use commas to separate each item of the citation and end with a full stop.

Second and subsequent footnotes

Second and subsequent references to the same source don’t need to be as detailed as the first note—they just need the minimum information to clearly indicate which text is being referred to.

With a single author

Provide all the necessary information in the first footnote. If you want to refer to the same source again, a simple method is to give the author’s name, the year of publication and the page number. For example:

1 K Reid, Higher Education or Education for Hire? Language and Values in Australian Universities, CQU Press, Rockhampton, 1996, p. 87.

2...

3 Reid, p. 98. 

If two or more works by the same author are referred to in the text, include the title:

1 E Gaskell, North and South, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1970, p. 228.

2 E Gaskell, The Life of Charlotte Brontë, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1975, p. 53.

3 Gaskell, North and South, p. 222. 

Subsequent references to articles are done in a similar way: 

17 M Doyle, ‘Captain Mbaye Diagne’, Granta, vol. 48, August 1994, pp. 99-103.

18 ...

19 Doyle, Granta, p. 101.

Abbreviations for subsequent footnotes

Another way to shorten second or subsequent references is with Latin abbreviations. For example:

ibid = same as last entry

Use ibid when two references in a row are from the same source. 

op. cit.= as previously cited

Use op. cit. when you have already given full details of that source in an earlier note. When using op. cit. you still need to provide information such as the author’s name to make the source clear. These abbreviations should be in lowercase, even when they appear at the beginning of a note. For further information, see p. 214- 5 of the Style Manual.

Examples

11 K Reid, Higher Education or Education for Hire? Language and Values in Australian Universities, CQU Press, Rockhampton, 1996, p. 87.

12 ibid., p. 26.

13 M Doyle, ‘Captain Mbaye Diagne’, Granta, vol. 48, August 1994, p. 99.

14 Reid, op. cit., p. 147.

Related tags: Academic skills