Harvard Referencing – How to Cite an Edited Book
  • 3-minute read
  • 3rd April 2016

Harvard Referencing – How to Cite an Edited Book

Even when you know the basics of Harvard referencing, it’s easy to get confused by the variations required for different source types. But your references need to be clear, complete and accurate to ensure you don’t lose out on valuable marks.

To help out, in this post we talk you through how to cite an edited book.

How to Cite a Book in Harvard Referencing

The basic citation format for an edited book is the same as for other books in Harvard referencing, with the author’s name and a date of publication given in parentheses:

Aestheticians require an ‘artistic sensibility’ and the ability to think clearly (Bell, 1995, p.99).

However, citing an edited book becomes more complicated when each chapter has a different author. The basic rule is to cite the editor(s) if you’re referencing the edited volume as a whole and cite the chapter author(s) if referring to a particular essay or chapter.

The example above cites ‘The Aesthetic Hypothesis’ by Clive Bell, from a book called The Philosophy of Art, edited by Alex Neill and Aaron Ridley. If you were to cite the volume as a whole, it would appear as:

Many aesthetic theories have been put forward (Neill & Ridley, 1995).

Some variations of Harvard referencing also make a distinction between the year of publication of an anthology and the year of original publication for essays therein. But unless your style guide says otherwise, it’s better to use the edited volume’s year of publication in all citations.

Edited Books in a Reference List

If you cite an edited volume as a whole, the information required in the reference list is the same as for any other book, except with ‘ed.’ to indicate the name given is the editor rather than the author of the volume:

Editor Surname, Initial. (ed.) (Year of Publication) Title of Book, City of Publication, Publisher.

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The Philosophy of Art would therefore be listed as:

Neill, A., & Ridley, A. (eds.) (1995) The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern, New York, McGraw-Hill.

If you’re only citing a chapter, the section details are listed first, followed by information on the container volume:

Chapter Author’s Surname, Initial(s). (Year of Publication) ‘Title of Chapter’, in Editor Surname and Initial(s), (ed[s]) Title of Book, Place of Publication: Publisher, page range.

So, Clive Bell’s essay would appear as:

Bell, C. (1995) ‘The Aesthetic Hypothesis’, in Neill, A. and Ridley, A. (eds.) The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern, New York, McGraw-Hill, pp. 98–110.

This format also applies when citing the introduction of an edited volume or a chapter written by the editors of a book:

Neill, A., and Ridley, A. (1995) ‘Introduction’, in Neill, A. and Ridley, A. (eds.) The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern, New York, McGraw-Hill, pp. 1–5.

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Comments (14)
Claudio Guerri
4th December 2017 at 23:32
How to reference a book edited by the autor himself? like: Durand, J-N-L. (1802) Précis de lessons d’architecture. Paris: edition d'auteur.
    6th December 2017 at 13:18
    Hi, Claudio. If the book has one author, you can cite it as a standard book (and you don't need to list the author as the editor too). It's only when a book includes work by several authors, or has been edited by someone other than the author, that you need to worry about including an editor.
      15th July 2018 at 13:31
      Thank you for the great explanation, just one question in case that author and editor of an edited book are the same if we don't mention the name of editor, how should we indicate that this book is an edited one and also which edition of the book we are citing? e.g. 2nd or 3rd? Thank you
      16th July 2018 at 08:11
      Hi, Mohsen. Not all versions of Harvard referencing require you to include an edition number, but those that do typically place it after the title of the book. We'll illustrate with one of the examples from above: Bell, C., 1995. ‘The Aesthetic Hypothesis’. In: A. Neill & A. Ridley (eds.). The Philosophy of Art: Readings Ancient and Modern. 2nd edition. New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 98-110.
14th March 2019 at 11:56
How does one Harvard reference an edited book which does not identify specific chapter authors (only a general list of contributors)?
    14th March 2019 at 17:10
    Hi, James. That sounds quite unusual. If it does not say who authored each section/chapter in either the list of contents or at the start of each section, I would probably suggest citing the editor(s) as the author(s) of the book and list the edited volume as a whole in the reference list. As long as the reader can easily find the cited source in your reference list, this shouldn't be a problem. However, there are many versions of 'Harvard referencing', so you may want to ask your lecturer/supervisor or check your style guide for a definitive answer about how best to do this at your university.
23rd March 2019 at 18:42
How do I correct this "Hassan ( January 1,2018) academic literacy is 'critical for survival ' at university. According to Harvard referencing
    25th March 2019 at 09:31
    Hi there. I'm afraid it's difficult to answer that question without knowing more about the source and the specific version of Harvard referencing you are using. If it is a chapter from an edited book, though, two things stand out: 1. You are quoting the source, but you don't give any page numbers. 2. You would not usually give a month and day in a Harvard-style citation. The format is typically: (Author Surname, Year of Publication, Page number[s]) I'd suggest checking your university style guide for more advice. And you may want to submit your document for proofreading: https://proofed.com.au/student/
Jasmine Boumadi
19th May 2019 at 07:59
Hi there, how do I reference the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, published in 2006 but edited and republished in 2014?
    20th May 2019 at 07:59
    Hi, Jasmine. You're referring to an Act of Parliament, so your best option will be to check your style guide for advice on citing legislation. Keep in mind that different versions of Harvard referencing may approach this differently. We use the OU style guide for our blog posts, but since that is a UK-based organisation it doesn't have specific rules for Australian legislation. However, the Victoria University style guide says: For Acts of Parliament, details to include are: Short title in italics, or use the long title if there is one, year in italics, jurisdiction abbreviation (in round brackets) and section/s if applicable, e.g. Yarra River Protection (Wilip-Gin Birrarung Murron Act 2017 (Vic)
10th June 2019 at 14:50
Hi I wanna reference Practice of psychotherapy. Is collected work of Jung edited by few authors. Do I mention only Jung or should I mention editors?
    12th June 2019 at 09:50
    Hi, Kat. As with any Harvard referencing issue, this may depend on the version of the system you are using, so I suggest checking your style guide if you have one. However, in the version we use, you would cite Jung as the author and include the editor names after the title: Surname, Initial. (Year of Publication) Title of Book, Editor, A., Editor, B. and Editor., C (eds), Place of Publication, Publisher.
25th September 2019 at 10:47
I need to use parenthetical referencing for Immanuel Kant's Practical Philosophy, which has an editor Mary J. Gregor. Do I write (Kant, in Gregor, M. J. (ed.), 1996 p.17) ?
    25th September 2019 at 12:13
    Hi, Luke. Different versions of Harvard/parenthetical referencing have different rules, so ultimately your best option will be to check your university's style guide. However, in most versions, for a chapter from an edited book, you would only cite the chapter author's name, the year of publication of the edited volume, and (if applicable) any page numbers. The editor would only be named in the reference list. The only times you would cite the editor in the main text, moreover, are if you were citing an edited volume as a whole or if you were citing a chapter/introduction that the editor had also written. Hope this helps.

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