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Chapter 3: Writing Mechanics Help
Chapter 12: Teaching Writing
Chapter 23: Teaching Reading
College English Composition: Help and Review
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Citations for Authored, Edited, and Revised Books

While it’s true that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that cover holds some great information when it comes to citing books in our reference page. So let’s examine the average book cover and see what clues we can find that will help us figure out how we will be referencing it in our piece.

The cover tells us if a book is authored (meaning the content was written by an individual or a group of individuals) or if it is edited (meaning the information was compiled by an individual or individuals but not written by them). The cover can also tell us if the book is a revision, meaning the content is largely the same but the book has gone through some changes since it was first published.

Now let’s follow our friend as she gathers resources she would like to use in an essay about China. We will see how each of these books will appear as references in her paper when she uses 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual and the MLA 8th edition.

Authored Books

An authored book is a book written by one or more individuals. Instead of it having a conglomeration of many different articles, this one author (or set of authors) will be guiding you through the entire subject. An authored book is recorded in our reference page quite similarly to the way we record articles, journals, and other types of reference material.

The first book she has pulled is an authored book with one author. If she uses information found in this book, this is how it will look in her reference page using APA style:

Pancella, P. (2003). Qin Shi Huangdi: First emperor of China. Heinemann Library.

The first thing we see is the name of the author. We use the last name, then first and middle initial (if available). This author provided no middle initial. The second entry is the year the book was published. Next we see the title of the book, as well as its subtitle, which should both be italicized. Only capitalize the first letters of the first word of the title and subtitle, as well as all proper nouns. We then see the name of the publisher. These are the steps for referencing an authored book.

Now, here is the same book, cited using the MLA format.

Pancella, Peggy. Qin Shi Huangdi: First Emperor of China. Heinemann Library, 2003.

You will notice that the citation looks slightly different. When citing a book with one author using MLA format, you start with the author’s name. Similar to APA style, you begin with the last name, then first name. Next comes the title of the book, then the name of the publisher and the date of publication. In certain situations, you may need to include the city of publication prior to the name of the publisher (for example, if the book was published prior to 1990). Notice that there’s a period after the author’s name, the book’s title, and publication date, and commas are used to separate the publisher and publication date.

Let’s see what other books our friend may find that would make great additions to her essay.

Edited Books

An edited book is a book in which an editor or group of editors has put together articles from a number of different sources and the book has no listed author. While each entry deals with the same topic, they may have been written at different times, from different perspectives, and from a variety of different authors. This means we may find contradictory or opposing views in an edited book that are often not found in an authored book. The possibility of opposing views is important for your reader to understand when following citations throughout your writing.

Our friend has found an interesting edited book on China and the United States. Let’s see how this book appears in the reference page using APA style.

Erickson, A. S., Goldstein, L. J., & Li, N. (2010). China, the United States and 21st-century power: Defining a maritime security sea partnership. Naval Institute Press.

The first thing we see is the name of the editors. They may not be the authors of the various writings within the book, but we still use their names in the reference page. Next, we see the year of publication. Our next entry is the name of the book, including the subtitle. Finally, we see the name of the publishing company.

Lets see how this book will look when it is cited using MLA style.

Erickson, A.S., Goldstein, L.J., & Li, N., editors. China, the United States and 21st-Century Power: Defining a Maritime Security Sea Partnership. Naval Institute Press, 2010.

You’ll notice that this citation also begins with the names of the editors. This time, though, you have to include the word ‘editors’ after their names, and end everything with a period. Next comes the title (make sure it’s italicized), then the name of the publisher and the year of publication, which is separated by a comma. Make sure you include a period after the title and date of publication.

Now let’s move on with our friend to see if there are any more good books she can find on her study of China.

Revised Books

A revised book is a book that has been updated from an earlier version. Some book revisions have major changes, like changing statistics, definitions, and revising study results. Many revised books, especially textbooks, have more subtle changes, sometimes changing only things such as chapter order. It is important to be clear on the edition of the book you are citing, especially if you are giving a direct quote where a page number appears in the citation. Letting the reader know the edition you are using will help them know if they are getting the most current information from the author. It can also let the reader know why information you have cited may be different from information they read in the past.

Our friend has found an amazing book on the arts of China. Since we understand that art changes all the time, and ancient pieces are often being uncovered by archeologists, we would expect a book such as this to have some revisions. Sure enough, this book has been revised. Let’s look at how our friend would cite this book in her reference page using APA style.

Sullivan, M. (2009). The arts of China (5th ed.). University of California Press.

Like our other references, we start with the name of the author. We then list the year of the publication date for the edition we are using. The next thing we list is the title of the book. We also put the edition of the book in parenthesis. Lastly, we list the name of the publisher.

Now, how would it look cited using MLA style?

Sullivan, M. The Arts of China. 5th ed., University of California Press, 2009.

It looks very similar to the authored book citation above, except you include the edition after the title and before the name of the publisher.

Lesson Summary

So let’s review what we have learned.

First, we learned to look at the cover. The cover gives you some good clues to the type of reference you will be dealing with.

Second, we learned the difference between an authored and an edited book. An authored book is written by one or more individuals, while an edited book may have material from many different authors; however, the book is put together for publication by an editor or group of editors.

We learned that when referencing an edited book, use the name of the editors instead of the actual individual that may have written the piece.

Finally, we learned about revised books. Revised books are books that keep the same general content but are republished with new information as well. When referencing a revised book, be sure to use the edition of the book you read. Using these steps, you are now well on your way to being an expert in citing books in your reference page.

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