PH 110- INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Writing a reference
There are several forms or styles for writing a reference and publishing organizations will
differ enormously in what they consider desirable. The information presented here follows
the Uniform Requirements Style. This style is adopted by the U.S. National Library of
Medicine (NLM) and used in Index Medicus with the exception that only the first three
authors are ever listed. Currently, more than 500 biomedical journals agree to use these
requirements and cite them in their instructions to authors. The uniform Requirements
Style, with a few minor variations, is strikingly similar to the American Medical
Association (AMA) style. References should be numbered in the order in which they are
first mentioned in the text.
References to Journals
A complete journal reference includes (1) author’s last names and initials; (2) title of the
article; (3) abbreviated name of the journal; (4) year; (5) volume number; (6) issue month
and number when pagination is not consecutive throughout a volume (when each issue
starts with page number 1), or the part or supplement number, when pertinent; and (7)
Authors – Use the author’s last names followed by initials without punctuation. In listed
references the names of all authors should be given unless there are more then six, in which
case the names of the first six authors are used, followed by “et al.” Titles, such as MD or
DO, are not included with the author’s name.
one author: Johnson AB.
two authors: Johnson AB, Karp BJ.
six authors: Doe AB, Boe DE, Coe RT, Roe MA, Moe RL, Joe WS.
more than six: Doe AB, Boe DE, Coe RT, Roe MA, Moe RL, Joe WS, et al.
Names of Journals- Abbreviate and italicize names of journals. Use initial capital letters
(i.e. the first letter of each word in the abbreviation). Abbreviate according to the listing in
the current Index Medicus.
Page Numbers and Dates – The year, the semicolon following it, the volume number, colon
following it, and the page numbers are set with the spaces closed up (no spaces between
Example: Driscoll DF, Smith A, Barney D. Infective endocarditis in the pediatric
population. Am J Health-Syst Pharm 1998;3:623-30.
[Note – The AMA style does not omit digits from inclusive page numbers; Uniform
Requirements Style does. Therefore, following AMA style in the example provided above,
pagination would read 623-630.]
References to Books
A complete reference to a book includes (1) author’s last names and initials; (2) title of
book; (3) number of editions after the first; (4) place of publication; (5) name of publisher;
(6) year of publication; (7) volume number, if there is more than one volume; and (8) page
Example-personal author(s) (entire book authored by same individual(s)): Briggs GG,
Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in pregnancy and lactation. 4th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams
& Wilkins; 1994:559-96.
Example-chapter or article in a book: Lake KD, Pritzker MR. Cardiac transplantation.
In: Pharmacotherapy: a pathophysiologic approach. 3rd ed. Diprio JT, Talbert RL, Yee GC,
Matzke GR, Wells BG, Posey LM, eds. Stamford, CT: Appleton & Lange; 1997:381-97.
Example – editor, compiler or chair as author of book: Billups NF, Billups SM, eds.
American drug index. 45th ed. St. Louis, MO. Facts and Comparisons; 2001:211.
[Note – The AMA style uses initials capital letters for book titles; Uniform Requirements
Style uses initial capital for the first word of the title of the book.]
References to Package Inserts
A complete reference to a package insert includes (1) product’s brand name; (2) location of
manufacture; (3) name of manufacture; (4) date (include month and year, if available) of
publication; use last revision date.
Example: Vasotec package insert. West Point, PA: Merck & Co., Inc; 1998 Feb.
References to Electronic Sources
A complete reference to an electronic source, including CD-ROM or the Internet includes
(1) title; (2) type of electronic format; (3) uniform resource locator (URL) (URL is a line of
coded information which describes the address of Internet sites); (4) date on CD-ROM or
date site was accessed; (5) version, if applicable.
Example- monograph in electronic format: Martindale: The extra pharmacopoeia (CD-
ROM). Reynolds J, ed. Denver: Micromedex; 41st ed. Version 4.0: 1998.
Example- Internet web site: National Cancer Institute Home Page (resource on World Wide
Web). URL: http://www.nci.nih.gov. Available from Internet. Accessed 1999 Feb 27.