APA | Chicago | MLA | Legal Citations | About the"Harvard" Style

For further assistance with citation styles or locating these materials at Harvard Library, Harvard affiliates can contact our Ask a Librarian. (Please specify the citation style and your Harvard school/department for the most expedient assistance.)

There are many different citation styles. The major styles used at educational institutions in the US tend to be APA (American Psychological Association); MLA (Modern Language Association); and Chicago. The preferred styles tend to vary by discipline (for instance, academics in History usually use Chicago). If you are unsure of which style you should be using, check with your instructor or other academic advisor. If writing for publication, usually the publisher will tell you what style is preferred.

APA Style

APA Style Reference Examples

APA: Frequently Asked Questions about APA Style

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th Edition (Print Only)

The print guide to APA is the official guide to citing in APA style, but the online guidance should cover most citation questions.

Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition (Harvard Login)

  • Can also get to the 16th edition from here

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition

  • For those who don't have access to the official style guide or want to see the information presented in a slightly different way.

MLA Style

MLA Style Center

MLA Handbook, 8th Edition (Print Only)

It may be helpful to use both the print and online guidance, as the MLA print guide may not have guidance on newer types of sources. 

About the "Harvard" Style

also called the Harvard Referencing System or "Author-date Referencing"

"Harvard" s misleading. There is no official institutional connection between Harvard University and this citation style.

It's just another name for the author/date citation system, the custom of using author and date in parentheses, e.g. (Robbins 1987) to refer readers to the full bibliographic citations in appended bibliographies.  Some Harvard faculty were among the first practitioners in the late 19th century, and the name stuck, particularly in England and the Commonwealth countries. 

For a full explanation, please see the Wikipedia article for Parenthetical References; History.  The definitive scholarly article on the subject is Chernin C. The "Harvard System": a mystery dispelled.  British Medical Journal 297:1062-1063, October 22, 1988.  

Harvard Library doesn't provide support for this specific style. If you're looking for authoritative guidance, there are many excellent sources freely available online, and the Chicago Manual of Style has an excellent chapter on Author-Date Referencing.