MHRA - In-text citations and ibid?


I was wondering if I could ask forum members for their advice on the issue of in-text citations using the MHRA style of referencing?

I've looked at a lot of online resources, and even contacted the MHRA, but I can't seem to find an authoritative answer to the issue of whether the MHRA recommends in-text citations. When I've been using Zotero to create citations using MHRA referencing, it does not generate in-text citations; each citation is presented as a footnote.

What I would like to know is this: is it safe to rely on Zotero's MHRA referencing, with each citation footnoted? In addition, I have noted that some documents which are referenced using MHRA style use ibid. as well as in-text citations. Is it OK to just rely on Zotero's MHRA styling? I would prefer to do all my referencing this way, to avoid manual editing later.

If anyone can shed any light on this matter, I'd be very grateful.

Many thanks

  • I'm not sure what you mean by "in text" citations: MHRA describes both a note-based style and an author-date style (the latter in 11.4). Zotero supports both: humanities
    The note style is what people usually refer to as MHRA, since the manual spends 20 pages on it, compared to barely 1 for the author-date version. Both are legitimate citation styles, though.

    Ibid should never be used for author-date citations in English.

    Zotero's MHRA implementation does not use ibid. at all. The manual is rather vague about this, counceling that
    the term ‘ibid.’ should be used very sparingly and limited to those situations where there is no possibility of confusion, such as a second reference which is separated from its predecessor by no more
    than four lines of typescript.
    (p. 76f.)
    In light of this, not using ibid at all seems like the best solution.

    Lastly, though--the question is for what you're using this? If you're writing for publication, your publisher (or the journal's editor) is the best source of answers for this. If you're still a student, you want to check what your advisor prefers.
  • Hi Adam

    Thanks for getting back to me, and for clearing up the ibid. question; I won't use it from now on.

    Sorry for being a bit unclear on the 'in text' citations I referred to. I looked through the MHRA guide and found it describes what I'm referring to:

    'If no ambiguity is possible, the (volume and) page numbers should be given along and preferably be included in parentheses within the text rather than as a note.' Source:

    Under '10.2 Methods of Limiting Notes', it says:

    'Simple references (such as line numbers or page references to a book already cited in full) can usually be incorporated into the text, normally in parentheses after quotations [...] Notes should not repeat information already clear from the text; if, for example, the author has been named before a quotation there is no need to repeat the name in a note reference.' Source:

    However, Zotero doesn't insert references in parentheses within the text -- all MHRA references generated by Zotero appear as footnotes.

    Reading the above, it looks like it wouldn't be possible to add parenthetical references automatically if an author's name has been already mentioned.

    I'm using Zotero to create the referencing for my PhD thesis; the guidelines from my own institution make no reference to parenthetical citations within the text:

    I'd much rather automate ALL my referencing, as manually inserting parenthetical citations is time-consuming and potentially a source of errors. I guess it boils down to my need to know whether I can entirely entrust my MHRA referencing to Zotero.

    It's probably difficult to assess, but I was wondering whether any other forum members who have entirely automated their MHRA referencing using Zotero have met with any objections from examiners? The MHRA seems (as the above instances indicate) to be a little vague, which is where this problem arises.

    Sorry for the rambling post!

  • Parenthetical references cannot, indeed, be automated at the moment, but in practice I find that this isn't much of an issue. I use MHRA frequently; I would say that the implementation is quite good at this point, but like everything else, you need to ensure that the data in Zotero is accurate, and that you know the style guide and proofread.
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