How to format your references using the Information Retrieval citation style

This is a short guide how to format citations and the bibliography in a manuscript for Information Retrieval. For a complete guide how to prepare your manuscript refer to the journal's instructions to authors.

Using reference management software

Typically you don't format your citations and bibliography by hand. The easiest way is to use a reference manager:

PaperpileThe citation style is built in and you can choose it in Settings > Citation Style or Paperpile > Citation Style in Google Docs.
EndNoteFind the style here: output styles overview
Mendeley, Zotero, Papers, and othersThe style is either built in or you can download a CSL file that is supported by most references management programs.
BibTeXBibTeX syles are usually part of a LaTeX template. Check the instructions to authors if the publisher offers a LaTeX template for this journal.

Journal articles

Those examples are references to articles in scholarly journals and how they are supposed to appear in your bibliography.

Not all journals organize their published articles in volumes and issues, so these fields are optional. Some electronic journals do not provide a page range, but instead list an article identifier. In a case like this it's safe to use the article identifier instead of the page range.

A journal article with 1 author
Kim, J. (2014). Absorption-assisted mode transformation in butterfly compound eyes. Scientific reports, 4, 6291.
A journal article with 2 authors
Choi, J.-K., & Bowles, S. (2007). The coevolution of parochial altruism and war. Science (New York, N.Y.), 318(5850), 636–640.
A journal article with 3 authors
Wang, Z., Xu, B., & Zhou, H.-J. (2014). Social cycling and conditional responses in the Rock-Paper-Scissors game. Scientific reports, 4, 5830.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Rebeiz, M., Pool, J. E., Kassner, V. A., Aquadro, C. F., & Carroll, S. B. (2009). Stepwise modification of a modular enhancer underlies adaptation in a Drosophila population. Science (New York, N.Y.), 326(5960), 1663–1667.

Books and book chapters

Here are examples of references for authored and edited books as well as book chapters.

An authored book
Duffy, D. J. (2006). Introduction to C++ for Financial Engineers. Oxford, UK: John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
An edited book
Heumann, C. (2016). Introduction to Statistics and Data Analysis: With Exercises, Solutions and Applications in R. (M. Schomaker & Shalabh, Eds.). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Guttman, J. (2009). Hydrogeology. In H. Hötzl, P. Möller, & E. Rosenthal (Eds.), The Water of the Jordan Valley: Scarcity and Deterioration of Groundwater and its Impact on the Regional Development (pp. 55–74). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.

Web sites

Sometimes references to web sites should appear directly in the text rather than in the bibliography. Refer to the Instructions to authors for Information Retrieval.

Blog post
Luntz, S. (2015, August 17). Even Buying Online, Choices Can Embarrass Us. IFLScience. IFLScience. Accessed 30 October 2018


This example shows the general structure used for government reports, technical reports, and scientific reports. If you can't locate the report number then it might be better to cite the report as a book. For reports it is usually not individual people that are credited as authors, but a governmental department or agency like "U. S. Food and Drug Administration" or "National Cancer Institute".

Government report
Government Accountability Office. (2012). Highway Infrastructure: Federal-State Partnership Produces Benefits and Poses Oversight Risks (No. GAO-12-474). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Theses and dissertations

Theses including Ph.D. dissertations, Master's theses or Bachelor theses follow the basic format outlined below.

Doctoral dissertation
Shaw, R. M. (2012). The influence of organizational culture on employee attitudes towards information security policy (Doctoral dissertation). Capella University, Minneapolis, MN.

News paper articles

Unlike scholarly journals, news papers do not usually have a volume and issue number. Instead, the full date and page number is required for a correct reference.

New York Times article
(nyt), S. K. (2002, June 26). World Briefing | Europe: Russia: Rebels’ Offer To Talk Brushed Aside. New York Times, p. A11.

In-text citations

References should be cited in the text by name and year in parentheses:

This sentence cites one reference (Kim 2014).
This sentence cites two references (Choi and Bowles 2007; Kim 2014).

Here are examples of in-text citations with multiple authors:

  • Two authors: (Choi and Bowles 2007)
  • Three or more authors: (Rebeiz et al. 2009)

About the journal

Full journal titleInformation Retrieval
AbbreviationInf. Retr. Boston.
ISSN (print)1386-4564
ISSN (online)1573-7659
ScopeInformation Systems
Library and Information Sciences

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