Referencing sources with no author in Harvard style
This guide shows you what to do when the source you need to reference has no author. Sometimes, you’ll come across sources that don’t have authors listed. These types of sources are often ones like reference books, Wikipedia pages or newspaper articles. How you reference a source with no author varies somewhat, based on the type of source. The general rule is to use the title of the book, article or newspaper in the place of the author in both the in-text citation and full reference.
Here are some examples of how to reference sources with no author in Harvard style.
Books with no author
If you are referencing a book with no author, simply use the title of the book in italics where you would have used the author’s surname.
In-text citation template:
(Book name, Publication year, Page number)
The moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical orbit in 27 days and 8 hours (Children’s illustrated treasury of knowledge: Earth, 2013, p. 5).
The word ‘ballast’ is defined in the Concise Oxford English dictionary (2011, p. 101) as ‘a heavy substance, such as gravel or lead, placed in the bilge of a ship to ensure its stability’.
When referencing a book with no author in the reference list, the following format is used:
Title of the book (Publication year) Place of publication: Publisher name.
Children’s illustrated treasury of knowledge: Earth (2013) London: BPI Worldwide.
Concise Oxford English dictionary (2011) 12th edn. New York: Oxford University Press.
Web page with no author
For web pages with no author, such as Wikipedia pages, you’ll use the page title in single quotation marks in place of the author’s surname.
Here’s how the in-text citation would look:
Early New High German was an early form of German predominant in the early modern period (‘Early New High German’, 2020).
For the full reference, you’ll follow a similar format:
‘Early New High German’ (2020) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_New_High_German (Accessed: 19 October 2020).
Often when citing websites, it may appear that the web page has no author when it actually has an organization as its author, or the author is using a handle or username instead of their real name. This guide on how to cite a website in Harvard style provides details on how to cite web pages with different types of authors.
Newspaper/magazine articles with no author
When citing a newspaper or a magazine article in which the author’s name is not given, the format used for the in-text citation is:
(Name of the newspaper, Year of publication)
The article (The Guardian, 2020) stated that …
For the reference list, you’ll also use the newspaper title where you would normally place the author’s name. This is followed by the year of publication, the title of the article, the day and month, and, finally, a page reference if it is a print article, or a URL and access date if it is an online article.
Full reference template:
Newspaper title (Year of publication) ‘Title of the article’, Day Month of publication. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).
The Guardian (2020) ‘Wednesday briefing: last orders in fight to avoid lockdown’, 23 September. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/23/wednesday-briefing-last-orders-in-fight-to-avoid-lockdown (Accessed: 23 September 2020).
Published October 29, 2020.
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