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Bibliographic referencing guide

The purpose of this referencing guide is to allow you to cite your sources in a complete and homogeneous manner in accordance with the guidelines specific to Isara and Isema, based on the style of the international standard ISO-690: 2010.

General guidelines

When writing a document (file, report, dissertation), you must reference the source of all your exact quotations or paraphrases in order to:

  • Justify the content of your document by allowing the reader to assess the validity of the information presented and to further his or her research by reading the sources,
  • Respect the intellectual property of the authors on whom you base your work and avoid plagiarism,
  • Demonstrate that your document has been thoroughly researched, which reinforces the credibility of your work.

Your bibliography contains a list of bibliographic references for all the sources used (quoted or paraphrased) in your document. It allows your reader to identify and locate your sources.

/!\ This list is presented sorted in alphabetical order of authors’ names and then in chronological order for a given author.

/!\ The bibliography is not presented by type of document.

The bibliography is found at the end of your document (last numbered page).

You will present it in a homogeneous way in the Isara – ISO-690 bibliographic style resulting from the international standard ISO-690: 2010 (in its author-date citation format).


To use an excerpt from a book, article, web page or other document (that you did not write yourself) in your work, you must insert a short quotation (in quotation marks) or a paraphrase (rephrasing) in the body of the text.

In all cases, it is necessary to follow the excerpt with a citation associating the information used with the source from which it comes (see next section).

The short quote is also called exact quote. It is an exception to the French “copyright” allowing you to use an extract of a work without asking the author’s permission.

It is essential to indicate the exact text (verbatim) of the original source.

Insert the phrase(s) used between quotation marks, in the body of the text. Use […] to cut a quote.

Pay attention to the size of the quote (size of the excerpt / size of the personal essay).

Paraphrasing is the process of rephrasing an idea from another source by explaining it. It consists in retelling in your own words the idea expressed by another.

Change the order of speech and the structure of sentences, do not be satisfied with synonyms.

Make sure that you respect the meaning of the original text and that you are understandable to your reader.


When a book, article, or other document is quoted or paraphrased in the body of the text, a citation in the format (Author, Date) must always indicate the resource cited.

/!\ The citation is found just after the quoted extract in quotation marks or paraphrased.
It is the link between the quotation in the body of the text and the corresponding bibliographic reference which is found in the bibliography at the end of the document.

It will be structured in the same way whatever the type of document: book, article, thesis, web page…

The form of the citation (or citation call) depends on the bibliographic style used.

For your reports and dissertations at Isara and Isema, you must use the “author date” system.

You will not use numerical citation calls ([1], [2]…) or footnotes.

/!\ The citation call is identified, whatever the type of document, by the author’s last name and the year, indicated in brackets.
For example: (FAO, 2017).

When a paper has more than two authors, cite the 1st author followed by the phrase “et al.” :

  • One author: (Lamine, 2003)
  • Two authors: (Lamine, Chateauraynaud, 2007)
  • Three or more authors: (Lamine et al., 2010)
  • (Mundler, Valorge, 2015)
  • “For we are entering an era where, in the face of human planning, nature will decide and set limits” (Rabhi, 2008).

Eventually, you can specify in the parenthesis the page or section of pages consulted in a book or article.

  • According to a study conducted in several countries (FAO, 1990, pp. 12-15), the issue of agro-ecology is becoming prevalent…

When you want to indicate that you are citing an idea that is present in the same form in several different sources, include the citation calls in a single parenthesis, in alphabetical order and separated by a semicolon: (Lamine, 2003; Lecrayon, 2017).

Each source will have a separate bibliographic reference in the final bibliography.

Writing bibliographic references

In this section you will find an example of a complete bibliographic reference for various types of physical or digital resources.

A bibliographic reference is defined as the set of elements that describe a document or a resource and allow it to be clearly identified and located.

The elements that make up the bibliographic reference vary according to the type of document and the medium of the document. The way they are presented (order, formatting) depends on the bibliographic style used.

/!\ Some elements of a bibliographic reference are in all cases essential to the complete description of a resource:

  • One or more names of the author(s): person or legal entity / collective (organization, company, community…)
  • A date (year of publication, publication, online publication…)
  • A title
  • A publisher (or distributor, host…)

Other elements may appear for specific types of documents or media (see below the section I want to reference…):

  • For a book: mention of edition, place of publication, ISBN, number of pages
  • For a journal: title of the publication, volume numbering, ISSN

The author’s last name is indicated in capital letters in the bibliographic reference, followed by his or her full first name if known.
The title of a book or a journal is in italics.

Several authors
When a document has more than two authors:
– in the citation, mention the 1st author followed by the mention “et al.”.
– in the bibliography, if possible, transcribe all the authors.

Several sources from the same author
To differentiate between several documents by the same author published in the same year, the dates in the citation and the bibliographic reference are followed by a distinct letter (a, b, c…).

Mention of an international standard number
If possible, indicate the ISBN for books and the DOI (digital object identifier), which is an alternative to URLs that allows for permanent identification of online articles.

Digital document
Always indicate [en ligne] in square brackets after the title. Do not forget to indicate the [date of consultation], the complete URL and/or the DOI.

Partial document
To reference only a part of a document (chapter of a book, deep web page…), remember to indicate after the title the mention “In:” followed by the title of the book or the name of the site.

Atypical document
If the resource is not a printed or digital text, specify its nature in brackets after the title of the document. Examples: [DVD], [podcast], [software], [map], [photograph], [poster], etc.
If you use Zotero, don’t forget to add it manually in the Title field.

You can write your citation calls and references manually, or use software that will allow you to automate these actions.

Zotero is a free, open source, bibliographic reference management software that allows you to automatically record, cite and reference various types of physical or digital resources.

You can find instructions and tutorials (installation and handling of the software) on the page dedicated to the Zotero user guide on this website.

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