Referencing Style Guide

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Nesbitt School of Pharmacy

Vancouver Referencing Style Guide

There are many widely accepted styles of referencing. Two popular styles in medical writing are those of the National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the “Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.” (The “Uniform Requirements” style is nicknamed the “Vancouver style” because it was developed by a group of journal editors who were meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia.) Both of these are very similar and are based on a standard from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Publishers that follow the Vancouver referencing format do vary somewhat in the numbering style of in-text citations, in the font used, in some punctuation practices, etc. They are, however, consistent in their own practices. In the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy we ask that you this Vancouver Referencing Style Guide. Pay close attention to “our” punctuation and order of details.
One example of individual differences among “Vancouver” followers is that some journals list all authors when there are six or fewer. Many other journals only list the first three. At Wilkes we follow the latter practice; that is, if there are four or more authors, list only the first three, followed by “et al.”
The following pages show some of the more common types of references you may encounter. The guide is by no means exhaustive. If you find documents and sources that do not neatly match the examples provided, use them as guidance, matching the elements and the standard formats as best as you can. For additional examples and/or less common types or resources, see Citing Medicine (
Definitions of all non-legal citation elements, even though they are not in quotation marks, are taken directly from Citing Medicine.
Please note that if you use reference software tools (e.g. EndNote or Reference Manager), they do not always match our style and you may need to manually edit your references. Likewise, the “Vancouver” formatting in EbscoHost may need to be modified to match our style.


  • Keep a careful note of all resources you use

  • Record all the details (e.g., volume/issue#) you need on any photocopies you make

  • Remember to print the details (e.g., URL) of any Web site and record the date when you accessed it

Table of Contents

Print Resources

Books 4-5

Parts of a book by same author 5

Book Contribution (by different author) 5

Conferences and Meetings 6-7

Serials 7-8

Journal article 7-8

Newspaper article 8

Legal Materials

Statutes (enacted laws) 9

Federal statutes 9

Slip laws 9

Statutes at Large 9

US Code 9

Pennsylvania statutes 10

Unconsolidated statutes 10

Consolidated statutes 10

Rules and Regulations (of executive branch and agencies)

Federal regulations 10-11

Federal Register 10

Code of Federal Regulations 11

Pennsylvania regulations 11

Pennsylvania Bulletin 11

Pennsylvania Code 11

Legislative materials

Federal legislative materials 11-12

House or senate bills 11

House or senate hearing or report 11

Pennsylvania legislative materials 12

PA house or senate bills 12

PA house or senate hearing or report 12

Non-Print Resources 14

Audiovisuals 14

Videocassettes 14

Slides 14

Electronic Sources 15

CD-ROMs 15

Databases 15

Contribution to a database 15

Internet Sources 16-23

Book online 19

Contribution to a book online 20

Databases / Retrieval Systems 21

Contribution to a Database / Retrieval System ..21-22

Serials (Journals/Newspapers) Online (incl. journal databases/aggregators)………...24

Homepage / Web site 24

Part of a homepage / Web site 25

Appendix A (Principles for Constructing Journal Title Abbreviations) 26

Appendix B (Commonly Abbreviated English Words Used in Journal Titles) 28

Print Resources

Author: If no person or organization with responsibility for a publication can be determined, omit this element; do not use “anonymous.” The author’s last name is listed first, followed by up to 2 initials, with no periods. If there are editors, the last named editor is followed by a comma and the words “ed(s).” Place family designations of rank after the initials, without punctuation and convert Roman numerals to Arabic ordinals; e.g., DeVita VT Jr, Jones JG 2nd. If there four or more authors, list only the first three followed by “et al.” Organizations may also serve as authors. If a division or other part of the organization appears, it is listed with the organization in hierarchical order from highest to lowest, as “National Library of Medicine (US), Public Services Division.”

Title: Only the first word and proper nouns are capitalized in book titles. Use a colon followed by a space to separate a title from a subtitle, unless another form of punctuation (such as a question mark, period, or an exclamation point) is already present
Edition: Convert edition number to Arabic numbers, e.g., “Second Edition” to “2nd ed.” Words may also be used to express edition, as “New rev. ed.” or “American ed.”
Place of Publication: Follow US and Canadian cities with the two-letter abbreviation (in parentheses) for the state or province to avoid confusion when citing lesser known cities or when cities in different locations have the same name, such as Palm Springs (CA) and Palm Springs (FL); is it not necessary to give the state or province when it is obvious, e.g, Washington, Montreal, Philadelphia. Follow cities in other countries with the name of the country, either written out or as the two-letter ISO country code ; e.g., Nairobi (KE), Berne (Switzerland). Use the anglicized form for a non-US city, such as Munich for Munchen. If more than one location appears, use the more prominent or the first appearing. If no place is found in the book but can be reasonable inferred (e.g., Chicago as the place of publication of a book produced by the American Medical Association), place the name in brackets. If no place can be determined, put “place unknown” in brackets.
Publisher: The publisher is the firm or organization responsible for issuing the publication. If a division or other part of the organization appears, it is listed with the organization in hierarchical order from highest to lowest, e.g., “University of Pennsylvania, Institute of Health Economics.” A publisher’s name may be given in a shortened form, as “Wiley” for “John Wiley & Sons.” Common words such as Company and University may be abbreviated. If the organization is both author and publisher, the name used for the publisher may be abbreviated; e.g., “The University” or “The Association.” If no publisher can be identified, put “publisher unknown” in brackets.
Year of publication: If no year of publication is found in the book but it can be determined from some other source, place brackets around it, e.g., [1988]. If no date can be determined, put “date unknown” in brackets.

Standard Format:

Author(s) of book. Title of book. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher; Year of publication.


Book – personal author(s)

Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in pregnancy and lactation: a reference

guide to fetal and neonatal risk. 5th ed. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins;1998.

Book – editor/compiler as author

Barone MA, ed. The Harriet Lane handbook: a manual for pediatric house officers.

14th ed. St. Louis: Mosby-Year Book; 1996.

(Note only the first word and/or proper names are capitalized in the title.)

Federal Government Publications with agency or Congress as author

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Disability

Among Older Persons: United States and Canada. Washington: Government Printing Office;


Package insert (treat as a book)

Zofran package insert. Research Triangle Park (NC): Glaxo Wellcome; 1996.

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