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WHSL Citing the Medical Literature: Citing e-Books

How to cite print and electronic books and journals using Vancouver or Harvard styles for use in the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand (GEMP 1 BMCS, MTP1, MTP2)

General Rules for Citing e-Books

If an e-book is available from more than one publisher (on a different "platform"), cite the version you consulted. The following components need to be included:

  • Author/s (Surname, Firstname, Initial/s (if given)
  • Book title
  • Place of publication (if shown - usually this will be found at the bottom of the web page for an online book)
    • Some publishers show the same kind of title page and verso as seen in a print book
  • Publisher
  • Date (in some e-books, the date may be a range, especially if the book is updated, 2001-2011).
    • This indicates the book began its electronic life in 2001, and has been constantly updated to the present)
  • The URL at which you were able to read the book. This will often show the instiutional server on which you were able to access the material.
    • The URL is preceded (exactly as shown here) by the word Available:
  • The date on which you accessed the e-book, enclosed in square brackets, eg. [Accessed 12.01.2011]

Exercise (Vancouver)

Cite the e-book example shown on the right of this page in Vancouver Style.

Hint: Use the guide by K. Patrias (Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors and Publishers. 2nd ed. Bethesda, MD: National Library of Medicine, 2007 -) to help you with this exercise. the link is Please remember that WHSL does not require you to copy the example, but to rewrite it using the Vancouver style as shown in the examples given in this LibGuide. For instance, you do not need to show the type of medium.

Example of an e-Book Citation

In some e-books, there is a section at the top or bottom of the page, which says "How to Cite this Chapter". If such help exists, use it! Here is an example taken from Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology, Chapter 3. Immunity, Infection, & Inflammation. 

How to Cite the Chapter

Barrett, KE, Barman SM, Boitano S, Brooks H, "Chapter 3. Immunity, Infection, & Inflammation" (Chapter). Barrett KE, Barman, SM, Boitano S, Brooks H: Ganong's Review of Medical Physiology, 23e:

  • Remember you still need to rework this citation in either Vancouver or Harvard style, depending on which style you are using. The publisher in this case is using a form of the Harvard (Chicago) Style
  • You must add the publisher, in this case McGrawHill
  • You must also add the URL, and the date of access in this case: Available: [Accessed 10.01.11].
  • No publication dates are given, so you may need to add these, if you can locate them
  • 23e means 23rd ed. (edition). You may need to change this when you cite.

The ONLY TIME it is permissible to "copy + paste" is when you copy the URL, as these are long, and you risk making a typing error if you try to retype the URL

Exercise (Harvard)

Cite the e-book example shown above this box in Harvard Style.