Bibliographic Citation or Identification

As more and more databases are stored and accessed electronically, abstracts are more frequently reproduced apart from the entire article or document. In a large corporation or government entity, for instance, an abstract of a progress report might be circulated and stored in a dozen offices or on multiple computers even though the report itself is filed in only one location. Clear identification is crucial so that readers who want to review the entire text can locate it from the information given with the abstract.

Depending on where your writing is printed and stored, you'll need to include different kinds of identifying information with your abstract:

Bibliographic Citation

If your writing will be printed and disseminated as a book, part of a book, or an article in a journal or magazine, give a full bibliographic citation that includes all the publication information so that readers can find print copies of the article (even if your abstract will appear in unrelated electronic databases). For example, an abstract for a journal article begins with this citation:

Harris, L.D., & Wambeam, C.A. (1996). The Internet-Based Composition Classroom: A Study in Pedagogy. Computers and Composition, 13(3), 353-372.

Organizational Identification

If your abstract is part of a corporate or government document that will not be printed or disseminated outside the organization, you need only include your name, the title of the document, its completion date, a project name (if you produced the document as part of the work on a larger project), and an authorization or organizational number (if there is one).

If your abstract will be circulated outside your organization (for instance, if you work for a consulting company that writes reports for other companies), add to the information above: your company or organization name, the name of the organization that commissioned the document, a contract number (if there is one), a security classification (as appropriate for government documents), and key words to help in cataloguing your abstract.

Internet Citation

If you're "publishing" your own work on the World Wide Web or if your writing will appear on the Internet as part of a full-text electronic database, you can save readers time by citing the Internet address for the full text. Typically, writers note both print publication information and the URL (universal resource locator)--the http or www address--with the abstract.

For example, one of the abstracts cited in this module has this citation that includes both bibliographic information and the Internet address:

Environmental Impact Statement. "Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Revision of Special Regulations for the Gray Wolf." Federal Register: December 11, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 238). Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior. http://www.epa.gov/fedrgstr/EPA-SPECIES/1997/December/Day-11/e32440.htm

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