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ebooks: Citing ebooks

Page numbers

Providing accurate page numbers is a very important part of creating citations, however there are issues that ebooks, depending on their format, can have with pagination.

PDF

  • For precise page citation, ebooks in the PDF file format are the best to use as almost all retain the original layout and pagination of the print copy.

EPUB and Kindle

  • Many ebooks in the EPUB and Kindle file formats do not retain the page numbers of the print version.
  • Location numbers do not always provide a reliable method of citation as they may change depending on font type and size, line spacing and margins set by ereaders.
  • If no pages are available in an ebook, you should use reasonable paragraph numbering instead. Be aware that this will entail counting the paragraphs from the beginning of that chapter.
    • For example: Oliver N. (2013) Vikings. Chapter 5: Swedish Vikings in the east, para. 2. Retrieved from https://bodleian.ldls.org.uk on 20 September 2016.
  • For more information on citing electronic legal deposit material, see this guide.
  • Note that this is a starting point only; you are advised to contact your course tutor and/or your subject librarian for further help.

Web-based (HTML)

  • Some ebooks are only available to view in a web browser. Some platforms (like Oxford Scholarship Online) have embedded the print page numbers within the text and these can be used for citations.
  • Some web-based ebooks do not contain page numbers. The advice for these is to use reasonable sectional numbering instead, e.g. ch. 5 OR §2.1

Supplier generated citations

Ebook platforms (e.g. Ebook Central, EBSCOHost and Oxford Scholarship Online) allow you to create citations when you are viewing an ebook on their websites. This is often a quick and easy way to create citations. However, you should be aware that:

  • The available citation styles will be limited; and
  • The application of the same citation style may not be consistent across different platforms.

Citation examples

These citations were created using the cite functionality on Ebook Central, EBSCOHost and Oxford Scholarship Online.

Ebook Central

Harvard

Boulter, S 2007, The Rediscovery of Common Sense Philosophy, Palgrave Macmillan Limited, London. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [25 June 2019].

APA

Boulter, S. (2007). The rediscovery of common sense philosophy. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com

EBSCOHost

APA

Caramani, D. (2004). The Nationalization of Politics : The Formation of National Electorates and Party Systems in Western Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=157979&site=ehost-live

Harvard

Caramani, D. (2004) The Nationalization of Politics : The Formation of National Electorates and Party Systems in Western Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics). Available at: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=157979&site=ehost-live (Accessed: 25 June 2019).

Oxford Scholarship Online

APA

(2013-09-12). Casullo, A., & Thurow, J. (Eds.), The A Priori in Philosophy. : Oxford University Press,. Retrieved 25 Jun. 2019, from https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695331.001.0001/acprof-9780199695331.

MLA

The A Priori in Philosophy. Eds. Casullo, Albert, and Joshua C. Thurow. : Oxford University Press, September 26, 2013. Oxford Scholarship Online. Date Accessed 25 Jun. 2019 <https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199695331.001.0001/acprof-9780199695331>.