Following good referencing practice demonstrates that you have conducted a thorough and appropriate literature search and that you are appropriately crediting the authors you have read. 

You will need to use a referencing style to accurately acknowledge other people's work and ideas. The two styles most commonly used at Imperial are Harvard and Vancouver. 

There are 2 parts to referencing: 

  • Citing 
  • Creating a reference list 

By using the correct style, you will ensure that anyone reading your work can trace the sources you have used in the development of your work, and give you credit for your research efforts and quality. 

If you do not acknowledge another writer's work or ideas, you could be accused of plagiarism. 

Consult our Reference Management web pages. 

Referencing accordion

Storing bibliographic information

Bibliographic information is descriptive information about a piece of work, such as author, title, date of publication, etc. 

Storing this information will help you to cite the sources you have used, saving you time when you write up your work. 

Take advantage of reference management software to keep a record of the information sources you use. This will allow you to: 

  • Record reference information so you don’t lose information or sources 
  • Make notes about where you found a particular item 
  • Directly import reference information from Library Search and many databases 
  • Directly import reference information from Google Scholar 
  • Store full-text documents 
  • Record links, so you have immediate access to full-text articles (where available via the library) 
  • Share your references with your classmates, lecturers, project group, etc. 
  • Search for items in your reference database 
  • Insert in-text citations, and produce a fully-formatted reference list and/or bibliography 

RefWorks is one of the reference managers we recommend to students. It’s web-based, and you can access your personal database of references whether you’re on- or offline. There are tutorials available on the library website, and further help is available from RefWorks. 

Reference management software

When you begin your research for any piece of work, it is important that you record the details of all the information you find. You will need these details to provide accurate references, and to enable you to locate the information again at a later date, should it be necessary to do so. 

Reference management (or bibliographic) software allows you to manage all the references you need for your papers, reports, essays or thesis by enabling you to keep them in your own personal database or library. It allows you to: 

  • search easily for a particular reference to which you need to refer back 
  • print or save a list of references 
  • insert citations into your document and automatically produce a bibliography in whatever style you require 

Use our Reference management software comparison.pdf to help you select the right reference management software package for you. If you require further advice, please contact your librarian. 

We provide access, support and training for the following reference management packages: 

We also provide access to the EndNote basic (EndNote online) web-based package.