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A Quick History of the Harvard Referencing System

The Harvard style of referencing, also known as the Harvard Referencing System, is a system of referencing developed at Harvard University and is widely used in higher education. It is based on an author-date system, where citations are embedded in the text of a document, usually with the author’s name and year of publication. The Harvard style of referencing is used in many disciplines including the humanities, sciences, medicine and law.

Save some time: You can use the Harvard Referencing Generator tool on this website to finish your referencing quickly.

The Harvard referencing system was first developed in the late 19th century by Harvard Law School librarian Dr. Charles Sanders Peirce. He wanted to create a system that would make it easier to cite and reference sources in scholarly writing. The system he developed was based on the existing bibliographic system of citing sources, but he simplified it and made it easier to use.

The Harvard referencing system has gone through several iterations over the years, but the basic principles remain the same. Sources are cited in the text of a document using the author-date system – such as (Smith, 2022) - with the full list of references being provided at the end of the document. The main difference between the Harvard referencing system and other bibliographic systems is that it does not require the use of footnotes or endnotes, which can be time-consuming to create. You just put all the references in a single section at the end of the work.

In the Harvard referencing system, the citation includes the author’s name, the year of publication, and the page number, if applicable. For books, the citation also includes the title and publisher. For journal articles, the citation includes the article title and the journal name. For websites, the citation includes the website URL and the date of access.

You can generate references in the Harvard Style here.

The Harvard referencing system is widely used in academic writing, especially in the humanities and social sciences, as it is a reliable and consistent way of citing sources. It is also easy to use, as all that is needed is the author’s name and the year of publication, so it is a simpler model for students to learn than other systems. It makes it easier to track down sources and verify the accuracy of information.

Overall, the Harvard referencing system is a reliable and consistent way of citing sources, which makes it a popular choice for academic writing. It is easy to use and allows for quick and accurate citation of sources.