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
Schilling, G. (2000). ASTRONOMY: The Virtual Observatory Moves Closer to Reality. Science (New York, N.Y.), 289(5477), 238a–9a.
A journal article with 2 authors
Williams, D., & Baverstock, K. (2006). Chernobyl and the future: too soon for a final diagnosis. Nature, 440(7087), 993–994.
A journal article with 3 authors
Neumann, G., Noda, T., & Kawaoka, Y. (2009). Emergence and pandemic potential of swine-origin H1N1 influenza virus. Nature, 459(7249), 931–939.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Si, Q., Rabello, S., Ingersent, K., & Smith, J. L. (2001). Locally critical quantum phase transitions in strongly correlated metals. Nature, 413(6858), 804–808.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Feyel, P. (2013). Loop-shaping Robust Control. Hoboken, NJ USA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Ganzha, M., & Jain, L. C. (Eds.). (2013). Multiagent Systems and Applications: Volume 1:Practice and Experience (Vol. 45). Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Szymanek, A. (2010). “Defence-in-Depth” Strategy in Transport Risk Management. In J. Mikulski (Ed.), Transport Systems Telematics: 10th Conference, TST 2010, Katowice – Ustroń, Poland, October 20-23, 2010. Selected Papers (pp. 51–58). 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
Taub, B. (2016, May 12). Watch An Enormous Whale Feed From Just A Few Feet Away. 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. (1977). National Science Foundation’s Actions on Recommendations of GAO Report “Opportunities for Improved Management of the Research Applied to National Needs (RANN) Program” (No. HRD-77-54). 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
Guo, Z. (2008). Experimental Analysis of Polymer Nanocomposite Foaming Using Carbon Dioxide (Doctoral dissertation). Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

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
Eligon, J. (2017, April 6). Ferguson Voters Return a White Mayor to Office. 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 (Schilling 2000).
This sentence cites two references (Schilling 2000; Williams and Baverstock 2006).

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

  • Two authors: (Williams and Baverstock 2006)
  • Three or more authors: (Si et al. 2001)

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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