I use the following to record my printed book sources. Should I include anything else?

  • Author
  • Title
  • Edition
  • Publisher and Location
  • Year of Publication
  • Page
  • 1
    Edward, welcome, and thanks for the question. Can I aska few points of clarification? By version, do you mean edition? And by Book, do you mean a printed book or are you including e.g. ebooks?
    – user104
    Nov 26, 2012 at 18:45

3 Answers 3


I would suggest you take a look at "Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide" - the usual genealogical formats are based on CMS.

In essence, I think what you have is OK by CMS - this will add in variants for the different people involved in creating the book (e.g. editor, translator etc); plus how to tweak it if you only want to cite a chapter - which would seem a logical thing to do if you are referring to (say) a society journal where all but one of the articles are irrelevant to you.

Interesting though that CMS is not explicit in including "edition", presumably regarding "year" as adequate.


The same as my answer to your other question don't forget the unique ISBN number.

  • Not all books have an ISBN.
    – user104
    Nov 27, 2012 at 8:50
  • If they are properly published they should have and the key thing is the ISBN won't change where other references may.
    – Colin
    Nov 27, 2012 at 11:55
  • 1
    ISBNs did not exist before before 1970!
    – user104
    Nov 27, 2012 at 13:18
  • 1
    Also, ISBN will also not help locate a book in a library or other repository, only in a bookshop.
    – user104
    Nov 27, 2012 at 14:02
  • For anyone interested in more detail, have a look for OpenURL (ANSI/NISO standard, Z39.88-2004). This is a slightly different type of citation mechanism where a URL contains enough of those parameters that it can be processed by an unspecified library or archive in order to retrieve an electronic copy of the work. Sort of a "live citation" in a way.
    – ACProctor
    Nov 30, 2012 at 10:30

The answer to this depends on why you are recording the source detail. Best practice in genealogy suggests that you record the source detail to enable you and others to consult the exact same source again, as well as assessing the quality of the source and the information and evidence that you've derived from it.

For the fullest possible citation in a list of sources, for a printed book, which may be available at a number of places (e.g. bookshops, libraries, archives), you need:

  • Author
  • Authors Role (did they write the book? Translate it? Compile it? Edit it?)
  • Title
  • Publication Place
  • Publisher
  • Year
  • Edition (some books went through multiple editions in a single year, and the content may vary between editions)

If you're directing attention to a particular piece of information in the book in support of some deduction that you've made, you need to add Page (or Pages).

An example of a source list entry:

Sir Frederick Treves, Highways & Byways in Dorset. London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1927

The author's role isn't identified because they were the author (not editor etc.) and there is no edition given in the book (although the book identifies a first edition in June 1906 and reprints in October 1906, 1914, 1920 and 1927).

If, however, you just want to be able to locate the book in your own collection for your own purposes, Author and Title would be sufficient (assuming you don't own multiple editions of the same book).

I would gently encourage you to go for the fuller version, and if you want to delve deeper into the subject, recommend Evidence Explained by Elizabeth Shown Mills.


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