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A well–written dissertation requires clear and consistent documentation. In addition to direct quotations, all information and ideas that are not your own should be footnoted. If you do not acknowledge your sources, you run the risk of committing plagiarism. Plagiarism – the theft of someone’s intellectual property – is a serious offence and will be dealt with harshly; see UCL’s regulations and the SELCS webpage concerning this matter. Take care when taking notes from a book, recording down page numbers so that you can a) retrace your steps when you reread your work, b) ensure that you have reported information accurately, and c) check that you have not inadvertently copied – plagiarized – someone else's ideas or words.
Footnotes should tell readers where you have found each bit of information reported in your text. And they should provide the details that a reader will need if they want to consult for themselves the primary or secondary source that you have used. Citation styles in footnotes vary and you should consult your supervisor about the form appropriate to your topic. A simple and safe trick is to follow the style used in a recent book or article published by a reputable scholarly press, for example, Oxford University Press or Cambridge University Press. Below is a generic style for footnote references that you may find suitable for your purposes. Note, please, that the style of citation in footnotes and bibliography are not the same.
Give the author’s first name, surname, title in italics, place of publication, publisher, date of publication, page numbers; e.g.
- Florence McCulloch, Medieval Latin and French Bestiaries (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1962), pp. 23–28.
Give the author’s first name, surname, article title within single quotation marks, journal title in italics, volume number of the journal, year of the journal number in brackets, and page number(s); e.g.
- Louis Brou, O.S.B., ‘Les chants en langue grecque dans les liturgies latines’, Sacris erudiri, 1 (1948), p. 254.
Articles in collections
Give the author’s first name, surname, article title within single quotation marks, followed by ‘in’ and then the editor's first name, surname, followed by "ed." in brackets, the title of the collection in italics, the number of volumes if more than one, the place of publication, the publisher and date (the last three in brackets), the number of the volume if more than one and the page number(s); e.g.
- Arturo Castiglioni, ‘The School of Ferrara and the Controversy on Pliny’, in E. Ashworth Underwood (ed.), Science, Medicine and History, 2 vols (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1953), vol. 1, pp. 269–271.
The simple rule of thumb for manuscripts and archival materials is to give the name of the author, title of the work, then 'MS' followed by the name of the city or town in which the material is to be found, the library or archive name, the manuscript or archival document number, the page or pages of the work that you are citing, and finally, if possible, a date in Roman numerals preceded by 's.'. E.g.,
- Cecco di Ascoli, Liber acerbae vitae vel aetatis: MS London, British Library, Add. 21163, fols 72ra-81va (s. XIV).
other than manuscripts and archival documents
Occasionally, you may need to cite material distributed in class without publication information or you may want to refer to points made in lectures. Or a reputable scholar, who has agreed that you can quote their words, may have given you the information by email, word-of-mouth, etc. In these circumstances, be as accurate as possible. For example:
- John Clarke, ‘Astrolabes’, photocopy of course handout distributed in Dr Clarke’s lecture, ‘Medieval navigation’, held on 12 November 2006, p. 2.
- David Jones, Lecture class on ‘Rhyme patterns in early French verse’, held on 12 December 2001.
- Dr Angela Smith kindly gave me this information in an email of 21 October, 2007.
You must cite information that you take from an online resource. Provide information which will ensure that the reader can trace what you are referring; and include the date on which you consulted the website. For example:
- "For discussion and an on–line critical edition of Maurolico’s unpublished Dialoghi tre della cosmographia (1536), ed. G. Cioffarelli, at the website Il progetto Maurolico, ed. D. Napolitani, from which my citations are taken, see H. Barthélemy and V. Gavagna, ‘Problemata Mechanica’, at the same website (consulted 3 Oct. 2004)."
Do not give http: addresses, which frequently change.
You should cite books, articles, websites, etc, fully on the first occasion that you refer to them; thereafter you should use abbreviated titles. For example, referring to items mentioned above:
- McCulloch, Medieval Latin, p. 65.
- Brou, ‘Les chants’, p. 34.
- Maurolico, Dialoghi, ch. 3, section 4.