Citation style in CoA

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This page sets out the citation style used in CoA. There are also detailed notes on the preferred style of blazon (for describing coats of arms), and a list of abbreviations. The full guidance notes which they form part of can be downloaded as a pdf (for which you will need a pdf programme such as Adobe Acrobat reader) and as a document in MS Word; click on the links to the right. To return to the introductory guidance, click here.

Citing books

If books are referred to in the main text of an article it should be done in a natural manner, rather than with pedantic regard to bibliographic precision: ‘Wagner’s Heralds of England‘; ‘the usually reliable Shell Guide for Norfolk‘; ‘Pierce Egan’s still enjoyable Life in London (1821)’. When introduced in footnotes, however, they should be cited formally in the following manner:

Sir Anthony Wagner, Heralds of England (London 1967).

C. T. Gatty, Mary Davies and the Manor of Ebury (2 vols., London 1921).

C. Wilson, The Gothic Cathedral. The Architecture of the Great Church 1130-1530 (London 1990).

Wilhelmine Harrod and the Revd. C. L. S. Linnell, Shell Guide to Norfolk (third edn., London 1966).

R. Oresko, G. C. Gibbs and H. Scott (edd.), Royal and Republican Sovereignty in Early Modern Europe: Essays in memory of Ragnhild Hutton (Cambridge 1997).

Long titles may be silently shortened at first citation, if there is no risk of confusion in doing so. Thus

Pierce Egan, Life in London, or the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq., and his elegant friend Corinthian Tom, accompanied by Bob Logic, the Oxonian, in their Rambles and Sprees through the Metropolis (London 1821).

could equally well appear as

Pierce Egan, Life in London, or the Day and Night Scenes of Jerry Hawthorn, Esq., and his elegant friend Corinthian Tom (London 1821)

or even

Pierce Egan, Life in London (London 1821).

However in the case of significant early works (up to c.1700) it may be appropriate for bibliographic reasons to give full titles even when very lengthy, as well as full publication details as they appear on the title page.

Note that authors’ forenames may be reduced to initials save when prefixed by a title such as Sir or Lady. Post-nominal letters and other qualifications should be eliminated. When a book is cited immediately after another by the same author it can be ascribed to ‘Id.’ (for idem); but note that in the case of a female author, the correct form is ‘Ead.’ (for eadem).

When a book re-appears in a specific page or other reference, a sensible short title should be used, though if no other work by the same author is cited in the article the surname may be used with the abbreviation ‘op. cit.’. If several pages have intervened since the last citation of the work in question, it may be a courtesy to the reader to refer back to the note where the full reference appears. Thus:

Wagner, Heralds of England, p. 45 / Wagner, op. cit. p. 45.

Wilson, The Gothic Cathedral, fig. 33 / Wilson, op. cit. fig. 33.

Gatty, Mary Davies vol. 2, pp. 138-41 / Gatty, op. cit. (note 2 above) vol. 2, pp. 138-41.

Egan, Life in London, ch. 9. / Egan, op. cit. ch. 9.

In some cases, however, it may be more apposite to cite by title alone:

Shell Guide to Norfolk, illn. on p. 18.

Ragnhild Hutton Essays, pp. 75-124.

Note that a reference to two consecutive pages may be indicated by the letter ‘f.’; but the abbreviation ‘ff.’ to indicate more than two pages should be avoided, as it is essentially vague.

When a book (especially if a renowned classic) has gone through many editions, a standard one should be introduced and referred to thereafter. In such cases, a full-title citation is not necessary even at first citation:

The Earl of Clarendon, The History of the Rebellion (Oxford 1826).

Clarendon, Rebellion vol. 3, pp. 162f.

In many situations, however, especially in regard to works of literature and to ancient or medieval works, a well-established internal system of reference is to be used. In such cases, anything more than a very cursory citation will seem pedantic:

Dickens, Bleak House, ch. 12

Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI, iii. ii. 14

Chaucer, House of Fame 1320-40

Tacitus, Annals xiv 22.

Citing articles

Articles in journals and other single contributions to multi-authored works should be cited in the following form:

Glyn Daniel, ‘Edward Lhuyd: antiquary and archaeologist’, Welsh History Review 3 (1966), pp. 345-59.

Thomas Woodcock, ‘Baronies by writ and the Barony of Grey of Codnor, its history and the investigations involved in having it called out of abeyance’, in Debrett 1995, pp. 5-16.

P. Barber, ‘Maps and monarchs in Europe, 1500-1800’, in Royal and Republican Sovereignty in Early Modern Europe: Essays in memory of Ragnhild Hutton, edd. R. Oresko, G. C. Gibbs and H. Scott (Cambridge 1997), pp. 75-124.

When cited a second time, an article may be referred to by author’s surname and title (or a short version thereof). Thus:

Daniel, ‘Edward Lhuyd’, p. 351

Woodcock, ‘Grey of Codnor’, pp. 13-16

Barber, ‘Maps and monarchs’, p. 77.

Use ‘op. cit.’ to refer back to previously cited articles, rather than ‘art. cit.’.

Citing law cases

Legal conventions should be used for citing law cases but not articles on legal topics, even when they appear in professional journals. Thus:

Bromley v Tyron [1952] AC 265

Stjerna v Finland (1994) 24 EHRR 195.


G. D. Squibb, ‘The end of the Name and Arms Clause?’, Law Quarterly Review 69 (1953), pp. 219-25.

Citing manuscripts

When a manuscript source is cited the archive or library should be given first, making full use of the standard abbreviations and any abbreviations used internally by the archive or library to designate its collections:

BL Ms Lansdowne 6 fo. 221; BL Add Ms 12484 fo. 11; Bod. Ms Eng Top 121 fos. 44-56; Soc. Ant. Ms Tillotson 221 fo. 45v; CA Ms Vincent 126 fos. 21v-23r.

However in the case of entries in the official records of the College of Arms (grants of arms, visitations, record pedigrees, Earl Marshal’s books and funeral certificates, as well as chapter books and partition books), the Ms should be described as such and the reference given in the following form:

CA record Ms Grants 142/29.

Documents held in The National Archives and local record offices should be cited as follows:

TNA: WO97/2312.

West Suffolk RO E2/22/2: Michael Lort to George Ashby, 29 Jan. 1778.

Citing heraldic visitations

Contributors citing entries in the Heralds’ Visitations should make it absolutely plain to readers whether they are relying on a record or other Ms in the College of Arms, some other Ms, or a printed version. If the last, it should be cited as a printed work in accordance with the conventions in the section on citing books above.