Dealing with Reference Lists/Bibliographies

When putting together an academic book or an edited collection, references can be a time-consuming challenge for all concerned.

Many academic authors are familiar with reference management software (e.g. Zotero, EndNote etc.). Editors and publishers, however, typically use different tools to help them with such work, including Edifix and macros.

Reference management software is often of little use to editors – especially in multi-authored collections where the authors have used different software or none at all.

Where references have been formatted according to a specific style, the programme “Edifix” can ensure the bibliography is formatted correctly. This programme checks both the formatting and available data on the reference across multiple databases. It is not that useful for more “obscure” works though, nor when the authors have followed their own style rather than a recognized style such as Chicago, MLA or similar. I found this out the hard way when one book’s referencing style minutely deviated from Chicago!

Academic copy-editors (including myself) typically charge for referencing separately and by the hour, as the work needed greatly depends on the text the author has provided. With messy texts, styling and formatting references can take as long as the language edit itself.

While academic journals often help with this task, some book publishers require academic authors to source their own copy-editing and reference formatting. Time and money can be saved here by getting into good habits early!

While not all of the checks are completed all of the time, the full list – as I learnt on the SfEP References course – includes the following:

(1) The in-text references should be cross-checked with the references list. Every in-text reference should be in the reference list. Macros can help with this.

A note on semantics: if you include extra references at the end, the list is usually referred to as a bibliography rather than reference list.

(2) If using a footnote + bibliography referencing style, the footnotes should be checked against the in-text references.

(3) The in-text/footnote references should have their formatting checked. If using Harvard style (e.g. Smith 2000, 87), this can be done relatively quickly using macros.

(4) The reference list/bibliography should be formatted. As mentioned, there are programmes such as Edifix that can help with this, but any list still needs checking through.