Writing a report can, for some people be a daily occurrence while for the rest of us it is usually amonthly task. While a common occurrence for some and rare for others it cannot however be arguedagainst that at some time in one’s career one will be required to write a formal report including alongthe way full citation of sources.This is by no means a 5 minute job. Adding all required sources into the relevant document can be a long job even with dedicated tools/interfaces within the most popular word processing applications. Forexample Microsoft Word 2007 has a very competent citation and bibliography interfaces that the usercan use to add the information needed. The crunch is however that they still need to spend valuabletime manually adding their sources. This is always the case no matter how good the interface is.It would be reasonable to be wondering right about now exactly why people spend so much timemaking sure that their reports are properly cited and that they an exhaustive bibliography section.Simple, for any formal report’s findings/conclusions to be taken seriously the authors of the report muststate the sources of the information which they base their opinions/facts off. This is the only way thatreaders can check the details for themselves. If this was not the case then there would be no way forreaders of the report to confirm or disprove what the author(s) say and would consequently mean thatthe information presented in the report could not be taken seriously. It is also essential to properly citearticles and reports so as not to be accused of plagiarism of another’s work.Here is a definition of the term citation:
‘the pertinent information needed to find the full text of a publication. Citation of a book generally includes: author(s), title, publisher, date. Citation of an article in a periodical generally includes:author(s), article title, source journal title, volume, pages, and date.’
(library, 2007)What are an author’s choices when it comes to citing their sources of information? There are two maincitation systems in use today.
Firstly there’s the Harvard referencing system. Also known as the author-date system and theparenthetical referencing system. And secondly:
The Numeric system.It is said (Hilton & Robinson, 1995, p. 8) that the two prominent differences between the two systems isfirstly the way the author refers to a particular source in the report/articles text and secondly in respectto the position of the date in the reference to that item in the bibliography.The most popular and used system is said (Germov & Williams, 1999) to be Harvard. The Rules (Hilton &Robinson, 1995) for the Harvard referencing system are:I.
The bibliography must be arranged in alphabetical order of author’s surname, followed by thedate of publication, followed by the rest of the publication details.