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DCMI Citations Working Group

Citation Styles

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative - Citation Working Group

24 October 2006

This version:

Editor: Ann Apps <>

MIMAS, The University of Manchester, UK

Contributor: Eric Childress, OCLC

Status of this document: Completed Working Group Resource

Description: This document contains details of citation styles which could be used as encoding schemes for a citation identifier.


There may be utility in registering with DCMI as encoding schemes tokens for selected citation guides to allow users to identify a citation scheme that guided their citation text. This might facilitate conversion of text to a structured form, but it also seems quite possible that bibliographers and others would be pleased to use and to find 'DC.Identifier.citation, scheme=mla' ("MLA" style) over 'DC.Identifier.citation' (even if the form of the "free" text follows MLA) to expressly identify the scheme guiding any formally-prepared citation. Librarians might even choose to add the same citation in a record in more than one style as an aid to students/researchers in which case a scheme would be particularly helpful.

There seem to be lots of style manuals (see a brief listing below), but probably a small number see the widest use. It may be best to pursue a small number of these, at least initially, as schemes for registering (perhaps Chicago, MLA, APA).

Citaton Style Variations

Reference styles tend to be peculiar to disciplines and to vary in the following ways. The ISO and NISO standards are probably not in themselves a sufficient guide to all of these variations.

Citation Style Guides

[A brief and not scientific or comprehensive study.]


In looking at MARC 21, a small number of citation styles are currently defined (all for legal style guides).

re00524bMARC 21 - FIELD 524 (Preferred Citation of Described Materials Note)

Bieber's dictionary of legal citation (Buffalo, NY: W.S.Hein)
Fundamentals of legal research (Westbury, NY: Foundation Press)
Guide to legal citation and sources of citation aid (Don Mills, ON: De Boo)
A Uniform system of citation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard Law Review Association)

For English language legal materials this should probably also be added:



Social Sciences


Several useful sites that list style guides