• 3-minute read
  • 11th November 2019

How to Cite an Ebook in OSCOLA Referencing

The Oxford Standard for Citations of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA for short) is a standardized system for legal citations. In particular, OSCOLA is used in UK jurisprudence, so you should know this referencing style if you’re studying law in the UK. But how do you cite an ebook in OSCOLA?

This can be tricky, since the fourth edition of OSCOLA makes no explicit reference to ebooks. Nevertheless, we have some tips to share.

How to Cite an Ebook in OSCOLA Footnotes

OSCOLA references for ebooks are similar to those used for print books. In fact, if the ebook edition contains the same page numbers as the printed publication, you should cite the source as if it were a print book.

Therefore, for most ebooks, you’ll use the following format:

n. Author Name, Title(Additional Information, Edition, Publisher Year) Pinpoint Reference.

The additional information here can include editors, translators, or any other clarificatory detail. An example of this would be:

1. Arnold Barrister, Life in Law(3rdedn, PMD Publications 2015) 317.

If no page numbers are available in the ebook edition of a book that is available in print, use the standard book reference format with the electronic edition included before the publisher and chapter/section/paragraph numbers for pinpoint references. For instance:

2. Jane Judges, Jurisprudence (Kindle edn, PMD Publications 2014) ch 1, para 30.

However, if you are citing an ebook that is only available electronically, your citation should end with the web address and an access date:

n. Author, Title(Additional Information, Edition, Publisher Year) <URL> (date of access).

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A citation of this kind would therefore appear in the footnote as:

3. Terry Futurebrain, Law Online(PMD Publications 2012) <www.ebooks.au/futurebrain> (accessed 1 July 2015).

How to List Ebooks in an OSCOLA Bibliography

Like print books, in OSCOLA referencing, ebooks are included in the “Secondary Sources” section of the bibliography. Sources should be listed alphabetically by author surname.

Furthermore, while footnote citations require pinpoint references and a period at the end, you don’t need either of these in the bibliography. As such, we would list the examples cited above as follows:

Barrister, A, Life in Law (3rd edn, PME Publications 2015)

Futurebrain, T, Law Online (PME Publications 2012) <www.ebooks.au/futurebrain> (accessed 1 July 2015)

Judges, J, Jurisprudence (Kindle edn, PME Publications 2014)

Hopefully, this post has clarified how to cite ebooks in OSCOLA.

US Legal Referencing

If you are studying or working with US law, you may need a different citation system. The two biggest legal citation styles in US jurisprudence are:

  • Bluebook referencing – The most established citation system in US law. You can find out more about this system on our blog.
  • ALWD referencing – A system similar to Bluebook, but with a few simplifications that may make it easier to use.

Regardless of the citation system you’re using, though, our expert proofreaders can help you make sure your writing is error free.

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