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What if I cannot find the reference type I need in my referencing guide?

Student studying in the dark looking a little distressed

If you can't find an exact match for the type of resource you want to reference in your referencing guide, don't worry. You just need to gather some information about your source and then create a reference by looking at similar resource types in the guide.You might even find two examples that would suit your reference if they were merged.

For instance, let's say you need to cite information from the back of a seed packet for your project. If you're unsure how to do it, you can ask for help from the library helpdesk. The librarian you talk to recommends checking the referencing guide for something similar. In this case, you're using Cite Them Right as your referencing guide. You'll find information on how to reference packaging, which is the closest match to the seed packet. The guide will show you what elements to include in your reference for packaging sources.

Manufacturer (Year seen) Product name [Medium].

You then adapt the guidance to create a full reference for your seed packet.

The intext citation would be:

(Suttons, 2022)

The full reference would be: 

Suttons (2022) Marigold French Seeds - Red Brocade [Seed packet].

Elements which make up your reference:

  • Who: Who produced the source?
    • If this information is not available, then list the item by its title.
  • When: What year was the source produced or updated?
    • If you cannot find a date, then your referencing style may have a way of expressing that in your reference.
    • In Cite them right Harvard, if you cannot find a date you would include (no date) in the reference.
  • What: What is the title, e.g., the book chapter title, journal article title, TV Show, Podcast etc?
  • Where: Where is the source?
    • Is the source part of a series, such as a journal or a particular edition?
    • Is the source part of a larger publication, such as a newspaper and what is the title of that publication?
    • Is the source published and, if so, where is the place of publication and who published or produced the work?
  • If you are using a web source, then note the URL
  • If you accessed a source online, what date did you access it? This is particularly helpful.
  • Note the format of your source, e.g., eBook, podcast, speech or presentation.

Apply a method as close as possible to your referencing guide so your style is consistent. Identifying as much information as possible to construct your reference, and placing these elements in the right order and relevant format, will help others to locate the source you used.