UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


8 Style guidelines for references and bibliography

If you are writing in English you need to use stylistic and referencing conventions as found in English-language scholarly publications.

Every essay must include at the end a bibliography of works cited, arranged in alphabetical order by the writer's surname, stating the full publication details of books, articles, and other materials consulted. Titles of books and journals should be italicised or underlined and titles of articles or book chapters should be indicated with inverted commas.

Every essay must also include references to works cited, quotations in the body of your essay etc. Each time you refer to something (ideas, facts, arguments) ‘belonging’ to someone else, you must attribute to him/her in one of two ways:

  1. short citations in the text - e.g. ... ‘there are a substantial number of communities where English is used “intranationally” (Stevens 1980:112) even though it is not the mother tongue’. The full publication details of Stevens’s work will be given in the ‘References’ list at the end of the essay - OR -
  2. numbered footnotes or endnotes (standard Humanities system), with bibliography at end of essay. The foot- or endnotes should include full bibliographical details the first time a work is mentioned; subsequent references to the same source can be abbreviated. E.g.

1st reference: Lindsey Hughes, Russia in the Age of Peter the Great, New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press 1998 (hereafter, Hughes, Russia), p. 27.

Repeated reference: Hughes, Russia, p. 25.

  • You should give specific page numbers in your citations/foot-/endnotes, unless you are referring to the whole book or article.
  • The difference between a ‘references’ list (Harvard system) and a ‘bibliography’ (Humanities system) is that in the Harvard system the publication date must come immediately after the author’s name.
  • If your source is a book chapter in an edited collection, make sure to list the author and title of the chapter (not just the editor and book title) in your references list/bibliography. The Harvard citation should put the author’s name inside the brackets, not the editor’s.
  • Please check with your Module teacher which system is preferred. Different UCL departments and SSEES programmes may have a preference for one system of referencing over another. In general, economics, politics and sociology tend to use the Harvard system, while history, languages and cultures use the Humanities system.
  • Please do not use the ‘Numeric’ or ‘Vancouver’ system (one of the systems recommended by UCL Library, but not suitable for humanities and social sciences).
  • Academic publishers have different house styles with regard to details of punctuation and word order. It is worth looking at some different books and journal articles to acquire an impression of the range of different but equally acceptable styles.
  • Whichever system and style you use, you must stick to it and ensure consistency throughout the essay.
  • Web sources should be acknowledged with as much detail as possible (not just the web address) and you should also state the date on which you accessed the source.

General Points

Non-English titles

Titles of non-English periodicals should be underlined and transliterated. There is no need to give a translation of the title, for example, Pravda, Nash sovremennik, Russkaia mysl’.

Titles of literary and other works discussed should be given in the original, underlined and transliterated, and a translation of the title and the date of original publication should appear in parentheses, for example, ‘In Dostoevskii’s Prestuplenie i nakazanie (Crime and Punishment, 1866), we find that...’. Thereafter you may use either the original or translated title but be consistent (and adopt the same style for all works thus cited: don’t discuss Crime and Punishment in one paragraph and then go on to talk of Brat’ia Karamazovy).


Use British, not American, spelling.


Verse quotations should be given in the original language. Prose quotations (unless illustrating a literary, linguistic or stylistic point) should be given in English translation. All quotations in a language other than English or the language of your essay or dissertation topic should be accompanied by a translation: it is usually preferable to provide a translation in the body of the text rather than in a footnote. For example, if you are writing a dissertation on a Russian writer, quote from the writer’s works in the original; there is no need to provide translations.

Non-English Words

Underline or italicise non-English words unless they are in common English usage (for example, elite, genre). The abbreviations ibid. and et al. (note full stop) are not underlined.

Words in Cyrillic, Greek, and so on should be underlined and transliterated (unless you are quoting a passage, in which case it is best not to transliterate).

In linguistics articles, specimen words are underlined and followed by their translations in single quotation marks, for example, izba ‘hut’. See also ‘Transliteration’ below.

Place-names and personal names

Use standard English forms for place names if they exist in current usage (Warsaw, Belgrade, Moscow and so on). Usage can change rapidly. The time-hallowed Cracow (for Kraków) is now yielding to Krakow. Where standard English forms do not exist, above all be consistent as regards place names that have changed along with the regime or frontiers. Either use the form current in whatever country the place is now located (for example Vilnius rather than Wilno or Vilna, even for the period between the sixteenth century and 1939) or else use the form which, in your judgement, most fairly reflects the period of which you write (for example Pozsony or Pressburg rather than Bratislava before periods before the foundation of the Czechoslovak Republic).

For personal names, give full name on first mention, together with rank or title if appropriate. Use standard English forms, if such exist, of foreign names of historical monarchs as well as saints, for example, Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, Ferdinand and Isabella, St Francis of Assisi. Otherwise transliterate, but do not mix systems within the same name (for example, not Alexis Mikhailovich or Frederick Wilhelm).

Names transliterated from Cyrillic must be in the house style transliteration (based on the Library of Congress system, see transliteration table below), for example, EI’tsin not Yeltsin, Lev Tolstoi not Leo Tolstoy, Trotskii not Trotsky, Chaikovskii not Tchaikovsky, Iosif (or I. V.) Stalin not Joseph Stalin.


Transliteration tables from Cyrillic

When transliterating from Cyrillic, SEER uses the modified Library of Congress system of transliteration without diacritics for general use (see table below).

If you are writing in English you need to use stylistic and referencing conventions as found in English-language scholarly publications.

Transliteration Russian
Ааa Ррr
Ббb Ссs
Ввv Ттt
Ггg Ууu
Ддd Ффf
Ееe Ххkh
Ёёe Ццts
Жжzh Ччch
Ззz Шшsh
Ииi Щщshch
Ййi Ъъ (hard sign)"
Ккk Ыыy
Ллl Ьь (soft sign)´
Ммm Ээe
Ннn Ююiu
Ооo Яяia

Vowel combinations and other transliterations that can cause difficulties

аеaeМарина ЦветаеваMarina Tsvetaeva
ауauКонстантин ПаустовскийKonstantin Paustovskii
еeЕльцин, «Вишнёвый сад»El´tsin, ‘Vishnevyi sad’
ийiiДостоевский, Нижний НовгородDostoevskii, Nizhnii Novgorod
ыйyiНовый мирNovyi mir
юiu«Первая любовь»‘Pervaia liubov´’
цts«Станционный смотритель»‘Stantsionnyi smotritel´’
хkhАнтон ЧеховAnton Chekhov
чchПетр ЧайковскийPetr Chaikovskii
щshchМихаил ЗощенкоMikhail Zoshchenko
ъ´´объединение, объяснитьob´´edinenie, ob´´iasnit´
ь´Сергей ПрокофьевSergei Prokof´ev