How to Cite an Ebook in MHRA Referencing
  • 4-minute read
  • 25th September 2019

How to Cite an Ebook in MHRA Referencing

“Electronic books? What kind of modern wizardry is this?” asks Professor McStuffy when he sees an e-reader. But you’re more tech-savvy than our old-fashioned friend, which is why you’ve looked up how to cite an ebook.

Professor McStuffy does not like change.

The good news is that, with MHRA referencing, the process is similar to citing a print book. But there are a few differences that you should know. So while Professor McStuffy heads to the library and the comforting aroma of paper and ink, let us take a look at citing an ebook in MHRA referencing.

Citing an Ebook in MHRA Footnote Citations

In MHRA referencing, you should indicate footnote citations with a superscript number in the text of your document. For example:

Typically, superscript numbers appear at the end of a sentence.1

You then give the source information in a footnote. The first time you cite an ebook in a document, the format for this is:

n. Author Name(s), Title (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year), page number(s) <URL/DOI> [Accessed date for URL only].

The only difference between an ebook and a print book, then, is that you need to show how you accessed an ebook. For example:

1. Joseph McStuffy, The Good Old Days (Oxford: Yore Press Inc., 1999), p. 45 <https://www.anachronismbooks.com> [accessed April, 23 2017].

There are a couple of variations to keep in mind, too:

  • When you have accessed an ebook via an e-reader, the edition (e.g.. Kindle) takes the place of a URL/DOI in footnote citations.
  • Not every ebook has page numbers, so you may have to give a chapter and/or paragraph number with direct quotations instead.

You can see both of these variations below:

2. Silvia Modish, The Future is Here (London: Novel Publications, 2016), chapter 4, paragraph 5, Kindle edition.

Whatever the ebook format, make sure to give enough information for your reader to quickly identify the version you’ve cited.

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Repeat Citations in MHRA Referencing

MHRA referencing doesn’t require you to repeat the full publication information every time you cite a source. Instead:

  • For consecutive repeat citations where there is no possibility of confusion over the source being cited, you can use the Latin term “ibid.”
  • For non-consecutive repeat citations, in most cases, you only need to give the author’s surname plus page numbers for the new citation.

You can see examples of consecutive (footnote 2) and non-consecutive (footnote 4) repeat citations below:

1. Joseph McStuffy, The Good Old Days (Oxford: Yore Press Inc., 1999), p. 45 <https://www.anachronismbooks.com> [accessed 23 April 2017].
2. Ibid., p. 122.
3. Silvia Modish, The Future is Here (London: Novel Publications, 2016), chapter 4, paragraph 5, Kindle edition.
4. McStuffy, p. 64.

If referencing more than one source by the same author, moreover, you should give a shortened title for the ebook in repeat citations. This will help the reader tell which source you’re citing each time.

Ebooks in an MHRA Bibliography

In the bibliography, you should list an ebook as follows:

Surname, First name, Title (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year) <URL/DOI> [Accessed date]

Note that the author’s names are reversed here, and there’s no pinpoint reference or end punctuation. In practice, an entry in the bibliography would look something like this:

McStuffy, Joseph, The Good Old Days (Oxford: Yore Press Inc., 1999), <https://www.anachronismbooks.com> [accessed April 23, 2017]

As with footnotes, if the ebook was accessed via an e-reader, give the platform information in place of the URL/DOI:

Modish, Silvia, The Future is Here (London: Novel Publications, 2016), Kindle edition

For more information on MHRA referencing, download the style guide here. And if you’d like an MHRA expert to check your work, we can help.

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