If you’re reading a book or an article and it mentions an idea that the author has read about somewhere else, how do you reference that? For example, if you’re reading a article by Jones written in 2008, it might mention a book written by Smith in 1945.
Find the original text
The best thing to do is find the original text and read it, and then reference that instead. Otherwise, you’re relying on what one author has said about another’s ideas, which might be inaccurate or incomplete, or biased in some way. To find the original, go to the reference list or bibliography at the end of the piece of work you’re reading, and you should find the full reference there. Then, go to the Library Gateway and type in the title and author’s name into Library Search. Filtering by publication date can be useful, too.
If the book or article you’re looking for doesn’t appear in the search results, we might not have it at the University. However, you can request a copy through the Document Supply Service – find out more on shuspace.
If you can’t get access to the original text, such as when it’s out of print, there is another option: you can use secondary referencing. This involves citing and referencing the source you have read, rather than the original author. Citations might look like this:
‘Jones (2008) discusses the research that Smith carried out in 1945 and…’
‘Smith claimed, according to Jones (2008), that there were five principles…’
In this example, the article written by Jones in 2008 would be included in your reference list, but the book by Smith wouldn’t because you haven’t read it.
If you do use secondary referencing, you need to make it clear in your writing that you have read someone else’s interpretation of the original author’s work. For more help with secondary referencing, see the Guide to Harvard Referencing and Citations (Pages 16 & 17).
You may also be interested in: Help with referencing guide (library help guide)