In expanded listings in the Works Cited section at the end of articles, include only information which is directly helpful for library retrieval. Other information (eg, place of publication), if for some reason desired, is readily available from on-line library catalogs, and we do not wish to waste precious vertical space on the journal pages. Don't give information just because you know it, or because it would be required in a full bibliographic essay. Here

We deplore the different grimaces customarily used used to differentiate books (italics) from articles (quotes): in our opinion, books and articles are equally valuable to scholarship, and should be treated with equal dignity. It is sufficient to capitalize the titles of both, to distinguish them from regular prose, and the presence of a journal rather than a press in the entry will adequately distinguish the two from each other.

Some frequently cited reference books and bibliographic aids have their own standard abbreviations in WSP, and a different list in Alpha. Each list changes with the needs of authors in that particular volume, but these samples may serve as a starting point..

Below are samples of entry types in different categories.


This is the basic information:

Author. Title [normally omitting subtitle]. Publisher [no comma] date.

Do not normally specify the series in which a book appears. Give "place of publication" only when needed to distinguish, eg, Taiwan Shangwu from [Shanghai] Shangwu. Do not recite the "place of publication" litany for eg Peter Lang (Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Paris, Wien). A basic example:

Arthur Waley. The Book of Songs. Allen & Unwin 1937

But if a later addition includes important changes, give the original date only, followed by the edition you are using:

Arthur Waley. The Book of Songs. 1937; (ed Allan) Grove 1996

Order entries in a bibliography by surname, but do not reverse surname and personal name, in any language. Simply interfile by surname, giving the whole name in its original order:

Raymond Dawson. Confucius: The Analects. Oxford 1993
Nicola Di Cosmo. Ancient China and Its Enemies. Cambridge 2002
Ding Shvng-shu. Gu/Jin Dz-yin Dwei-jau Shou-tsv. Taiping 1966
J J L Duyvendak. The Book of Lord Shang. Probsthain 1928

German practice is not to alphabetize on "von," etc, so that Lothar von Falkenhausen will be placed in the F part of the bibliography.

If you use a reprint with different pagination than the original, give necessary particulars in your citation (not in the final bibliography), so that readers can find the passage without undue trouble. To indicate in a bibliography entry that a reprint has identical pagination, use this form:

J J L Duyvendak. The Book of Lord Shang. Probsthain 1928 = Chicago 1963

This is courtesy information; when to include it is largely a judgement about availability to readers. That judgement may be made differently by different authors.

Arthur W Hummel (ed). Eminent Chinese of the Ch'ing Period. U S Government Printing Office 1943-1944

It is not necessary to specify that this work is in 2v. Here and always, retain original romanizations in bibliographic citations.

Microfilmed Theses are treated like any other published book:

Luo Chia-li. Coastal Culture and Religion in Early China. UMI 1999
Hagop Sarkissian. Laozi: Re-Visiting Two early Commentaries in the Hanfeizi. UMI 2001

In the second case, the subtitle is helpful, though it can always be eliminated if a space problem develops. We do not give UMI order numbers for theses, just as we do not give ISBN numbers for books. Those numbers can be readily determined via the Internet. It is also not necessary to distinguish PhD from MA theses (the second item above is an MA thesis); UMI publishes both.

Scholarly books no longer give the degrees of authors on title pages of books (eg "MA Oxon"), and scholarly citations should follow suit. Titles of nobility (Sir, Bart, Esq) or of royalty (HRH) or of confessional affinity (SJ) are also suppressed. In the wind of scholarship, one's name is one's only cloak.

Unpublished Theses. There is no equivalent of UMI for European or Asian theses. The only available copy is in the home library. A sufficient aid to locating that copy, and a sufficient warning that it is a thesis and not a regularly published book, should be:

Dan Robins. The Debate Over Human Nature in Warring States China. [PhD, University of Hong Kong] 2001

Edited Books

Bryan W Van Norden (ed). Confucius and the Analects. Oxford 2002
Edward L Shaughnessy (ed). New Sources of Chinese History. SSEC 1997

In the latter example, it is not necessary to spell out "Society for the Study of Early China," or to add "and the Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley."

Festschrifts should be treated like any other edited collection:

David T Roy et al (ed). Ancient China. Chinese University Press 1978

It is not necessary to specify that this volume was dedicated to Herrlee G Creel. When an author collects his own pieces, even if he was assisted by someone as editor, the designation "ed" is superfluous:

Herlee G Creel. What is Taoism? Chicago 1970
Edward L Shaughnessy. Before Confucius. SUNY 1997
Derk Bodde. Essays on Chinese Civilization. Princeton 1981
David S Nivison. The Ways of Confucianism. Open Court 1996

In the last two cases, we need not record that the actual work of editing these volumes was largely done by by Charles Le Blanc and Dorothy Borei (for the Bodde volume) and by Bryan W Van Norden (for Nivison). We are not doing full bibliographic description, or complete publication history. If, exceptionally, some detail of the publication history of a book is relevant to the discussion, that detail may be supplied in the article proper.

When a scholar's works are edited posthumously by colleagues or students, the scholar still appears as author, and only the surname of the principal editor is given:

George A Kennedy (ed Li). Selected Works. Far Eastern Publications 1964

It is not necessary to note that Far Eastern Publications has been absorbed by Yale University Press.


Again, avoid complete publication history. If you cite a translation, give original date and (if different) the date of the edition on which the translation was based. Indicate the translator after the publisher:

Henri Maspero. China in Aniquity. 1927; rev 1965; Massachusetts (tr Kierman) 1978

If you will be citing the original as well, the original title is your main entry:

Henri Maspero. La Chine Antique. 1927; rev 1965; as China in Antiquity, Massachusetts (tr Kierman) 1978

As with "in," there is no colon here after "as." If for some reason only the French edition of Maspero is cited, that entry would be:

Henri Maspero. La Chine Antique. 1927; rev Presses Universitaires (ed Demiéville) 1965

It is not necessary to specify that the 1927 edition was v4 of De Boccard's Histoire du Monde.

Articles in Books

David S Nivison. "Virtue" in Bone and Bronze; in Nivison Ways 17-30

See above for the expansion of Nivison Ways, which should have its separate entry in the Works Cited list if more than one item in that collection is cited in the paper; otherwise condense the entries:

David S Nivison. "Virtue in Bone and Bronze; in Nivison, The Ways of Confucianism (Open Court 1996) 17-30

Note that if the title of this "article" were enclosed in quotes, those quotes would conflict with the author's quotes around the first word. We wish to avoid all such punctuation hierarchy questions.

Journal Articles

Basic information is the same as for a book. Author. Title (omitting subtitle in most cases). Journal (often an acronym, such as JAOS or MS), issue (with date in parentheses), and pages. The page span is necessary for Interlibrary purposes.

David S Nivison. On Translating Mencius. PEW v30 (1980) 93-122
Edwin G Pulleyblank. Chinese Traditional Phonology. AM 3ser v12 #2 (1999) 101-137

See the separate page of Journal acronyms which are slightly adjusted for each WSP or Alpha volume, and need not be spelled out.

E Bruce Brooks. The Present State and Future Prospects of pre-Hàn Text Studies. SPP #46 (1994) 1-74
Carine Defoort. Can Words Produce Order? Cultural Dynamics v12 #1 (2000) 85-109

It is not necessary to specify month dates (July 1994, March 2000) for either of these items. Note that SPP is a monograph series, not a journal strictly speaking, but is here treated essentially as a journal.

When an article is also available in book form, normally give both forms:

David S Nivison. On Translating Mencius. PEW v30 (1980) 93-122; in Nivison Ways (Open Court 1966) 175-201, 305-307

In both article and book form, the page span is needed for Interlibrary purposes. The second set of page numbers is necessary to include the notes, which were included with the original article, but in the book version are put in the back of the book. This is one more argument against putting notes at the back of the book. For other examples from this collection, see above.

Reviews. When a review of a book has its own title, treat it as any other article.

E Bruce Brooks. Journey to the West. HJAS v35 (1975) 221-274

For untitled reviews, put the author and title of the reviewed work in brackets:

George A Kennedy. [Review of H H Rowley, Prophecy and Religion in Ancient China and Israel]. JBL v76 #1 (Mar 1957) 81

Web Pages

Apart from the lack of control in the material displayed, web pages are problematic because (1) the average life on an online page, under the same URL, is 18 months, and (2) because many URL are insanely long, and do not fit across one of our pages. We thus prefer references to printed rather than electronic sources. Those in charge of online materials are herewith asked to keep their URLs short and simple, like the ones on this site (which despite its 2,000 pages is simple in organization). If used, do not break a URL over a line, thus

Sinological Profiles: Albert Terrien de Lacouperie.

Wikipedia articles (and beware of the fact that Wiki will not permit revision of first drafts, even when supplied by enthusiasts on one side of a question) may be sufficiently cited as

Wikipedia: "Warring States period"

Since our journal pages are not hyperlinked, it is superfluous to include the actual URL, which happens to be:


Calligraphic Separator

These are the main editorial preferences. Reasoned departures from them are nearly always discussible.

Back to Journal Page

21 Mar 2014 / Contact The Project / Exit to Project Home Page