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The Australian National University

Referencing style guides

Key points

  • There is no standard referencing style used at ANU.
  • A College or school may have a preferred style, but it is not uncommon for particular lecturer to require a different style.
  • Refer to your individual course outline or ask your lecturer if you are unsure which style to use.
  • Style guides give you examples of different types of sources and examples of how to format the citations and references.

Referencing Styles

Footnotes where numbers (slightly above the line) are inserted in your text at the end of a sentence or immediately following a direct or indirect quotation. The information about the source of each numbered reference is given at the bottom of each page of your text followed by a complete bibliographic list at the end of the paper.

In text (author date) where all references are cited in the body of your text. The references are brief (surname, year of publication, page number) and the full citation is listed in alphabetical order at the end of the paper.

(There are a number of referencing software tools which will automatically apply the chosen referencing style in your document. ANU offers EndNote for all staff and students. More information and training is available through the ANU Library.)

Referencing tools

A general referencing tool can assist in understanding and using referencing styles. Useful examples include:


Referencing style guides give more detailed and specific guidelines for a particular referencing style.

AGLC (Australian Guide to Legal Citation)

The AGLC is footnote referencing system produced by the Melbourne University Law Review Association and provides Australia with a uniform system of legal citation. It is designed for academics, legal practitioners, law students and the judiciary, and is a valuable tool for legal writing and research.
Library resource: Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 3rd ed.
Online resource: Australian Guide to Legal Citation, 3rd ed (pdf, 3.9 MB).

APA (American Psychological Association)

The APA referencing style uses author date parenthetical, in text citations based on the Harvard style. It is commonly used in Psychology, but it is also used in other disciplines.

Library resource: The Publication manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th ed.
Online resource: University of Southern Queensland

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is the most widely consulted of all style manuals. It includes provisions for footnote referencing and author-date referencing. The Chicago Manual's footnote referencing system is widely used in the arts and humanities.
Library resource: The Chicago manual of style, 16th ed.
Online resource: Chicago Manual of Style Online


The Harvard style is a generic term for any referencing system that uses author-date references in the text of the document, either within or at the end of a sentence. The full citation details are listed alphabetically at the end of the document. There is no definitive style guide for the Harvard style. The key to using the system is consistency throughout your document. A number of universities and organisations base their Harvard style on the Australian Government Publishing Service (AGPS) guide.
Library resource: Style manual for authors, editors and printers
Online resource: University of Melbourne (re:cite)
University of Southern Queensland

MLA (Modern Language Association of America)

The MLA style uses brief parenthetical in text citations linked to an alphabetised list at the end of the document. The MLA style is often used in literature and linguistics.
The MLA style is published in two different publications: MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing and MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. These two publications contain identical guidelines for referencing.
Library resource: MLA style manual and guide to scholarly publishing, 3rd ed.
MLA Handbook for writers of research papers, 4th ed.
Everything You Need to Know About MLA Citations [electronic resource].
Online resource: Purdue online MLA Formatting and Style Guide



Vancouver is a footnoting referencing system sometimes used in the health sciences. Like the Harvard system there is no official style guide, but the US National Library of Medicine's style guide is now considered the most authoritative manual on this type of referencing.

Online resource: Citing Medicine, ed
University of Queensland (pdf 324.11 KB)

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Updated: 8 May 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Manager, Academic Skills & Learning Centre / Page Contact:  ASLC