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WHSL Vancouver Citation Style Guide for Theses, Dissertations and Research Reports: E-Book Citations

Replaces the section on citations (references) in the official Faculty of Health Sciences Style Guide for Theses, Dissertations and Research Reports

General Rules for e-Books

Although e-books differ in form from print books, the basic rules for citing e-books do not differ radically from the rules for citing print books. The book itself still needs to be identified, and as web sites and electronic platforms disappear and change rapidly, all the elements used to identify a print book also need to be in place in order to identify an e-book.

However, in addition to author/s or editor/s; title of book; subtitle; edition (if available); place of publication; publisher; and year; the location at which the book was found needs to be added (eg. the URL) and the date on which the book was accessed.

Example: Simon, R.P., Greenberg, D.A. & Aminoff, J. Clinical Neurology. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Available: aspx?resourceID=66 [Accessed 04.07.2012]


Rule of Thumb: Page Numbers for e-Books

Rule of Thumb

In general, e-books do not have page numbers. This is why it is important to identify in your reference the section or chapter from which the citation is taken. It is recommended that where possible, you should calculate as best possible the location of the text that you are citing if no page numbers are given (eg. on a Kindle book version). There is a software update (v.3.3) for Kindle Keyboard that apparently allows "real page numbers" to be displayed according to Amazon. Unfortunately, WHSL staff can not help with loading this software - please consult the technical experts in CNS for this.  

E-books are still in a volatile stage at the moment. Citations of e-books should settle as e-books become more ubiquitous, in the same way as e-journal citations now follow a standardised format. Please check these pages frequently for possible updates before you hand in your work.

Elements of an e-Book Citation in Reference List

Elements of e-book citations are the same as those for print book citations. See more examples at Print Book Citations. Remember to add Available: URL [Accessed day.month.year], eg. Available: [Accessed 26 January 2013]

Rule of Thumb: Standardisation

Rule of Thumb

Be consistent when citing date of access for e-book citations. Make sure all dates are enclosed in square brackets and that the word Accessed is always used, with the initial A in upper case. The date itself can be written using any abbreviated format, but the same format should be followed throughout, eg.

[Accessed 04.07.2012]

[Accessed 4.7.2012]

[Accessed 4 Jul 2012]

[Accessed 4 July 2012]

The URL should always be preceded by the word Available: (followed by a colon:) eg.

Available: It is not necessary for the URL to hyperlinked in your text or List of References, unless you want your readers to be able to click on the link immediately and read your reference. Note that the URL will differ from place to place, according to the IP address at which the e-book is read, so it may not always be possible for a hyperlink in the text or Reference List to be followed, as your reader may not have right of access to the resource at the same location at which you were able to access the e-book.