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National Library of Medicine - Citing Medicine

Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers

Citing Medicine (2007 - ) updates and supersedes versions of the original Recommended Formats that were available as PDFs in 2007. This publication is updated periodically. Join the CITINGMED LISTSERV for alerts to additions and changes. You may view and download the publication at no charge.

Citing Medicine provides instructions and examples for formatting citations to different types of both published and unpublished material, ranging from traditional journal articles and books to newer electronic formats such as Internet journals, Web pages, and blog posts. Our intent is for the publication to help authors compiling lists of references for their publications, editors revising such lists, and librarians and others formatting bibliographic citations. Citing Medicine gives information on constructing citations at three levels as well as hundreds of examples for published and unpublished, traditional print and newer electronic formats. The levels are:

  1. Diagrammed Citation - Many people want to know how to format a citation, without learning why. The picture of the sample citation and the broad guidelines (the Introduction) may be enough for people in this group.
  2. General Rules and Examples - Some people need to view the General Rules and Examples sections to get more information. They may have a specific problem to solve or their work requires them to build a general knowledge of citations they can later apply to specific cases. We explain the structure of citations and show what types of citations exist (Examples) and what special, difficult cases they may encounter (Specific Rules).
  3. Specific Rules - A few people may need to review the Specific Rules included to solve a specific problem, such as handling non-English citations.

If all you need are a few examples of citations, the NLM has a page with sample references you may find easier to use. This is the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals: Sample References page with over 50 examples for more commonly cited types of materials.

Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Please submit them to us using the National Library of Medicine Contact NLM form. At some point, you might see a question you ask included as an example in the publication.