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
Ploehn, H. J. (2015). Materials science: Composite for energy storage takes the heat. Nature, 523(7562), 536–537.
A journal article with 2 authors
Giessen, H., & Vogelgesang, R. (2009). Physics. Glimpsing the weak magnetic field of light. Science (New York, N.Y.), 326(5952), 529–530.
A journal article with 3 authors
Verhulst, E. C., Beukeboom, L. W., & van de Zande, L. (2010). Maternal control of haplodiploid sex determination in the wasp Nasonia. Science (New York, N.Y.), 328(5978), 620–623.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Volkov, I., Banavar, J. R., Hubbell, S. P., & Maritan, A. (2003). Neutral theory and relative species abundance in ecology. Nature, 424(6952), 1035–1037.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Allman, K., & Nogales, X. E. D. (2015). Impact Investment. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
An edited book
Kim, Y. S., Kang, B. H., & Richards, D. (Eds.). (2014). Knowledge Management and Acquisition for Smart Systems and Services: 13th Pacific Rim Knowledge Acquisition Workshop, PKAW 2014, Gold Cost, Qld, Australia, December 1-2, 2014. Proceedings (Vol. 8863). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
A chapter in an edited book
Huebner, A. R., Somparn, P., Benjachat, T., Leelahavanichkul, A., Avihingsanon, Y., Fenton, R. A., & Pisitkun, T. (2015). Exosomes in Urine Biomarker Discovery. In Y. Gao (Ed.), Urine Proteomics in Kidney Disease Biomarker Discovery (pp. 43–58). Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

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
Andrew, E. (2015, October 16). Extra “Mystery” Neurons Make Males Prioritize Sex. 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. (2007). Business Systems Modernization: Strategy for Evolving DOD’s Business Enterprise Architecture Offers a Conceptual Approach, but Execution Details Are Needed (No. GAO-07-451). 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
Mbwiri, F. I. (2017). Remedial Math Instruction Intervention: Efficacy of Constructivist Practices on Alternative Students with Disabilities Mathematics Achievement (Doctoral dissertation). Northcentral University, Scottsdale, AZ.

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
Vecsey, G. (2010, November 12). How Broken Must College Football Be to Fix It? New York Times, p. B11.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Ploehn 2015).
This sentence cites two references (Giessen and Vogelgesang 2009; Ploehn 2015).

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

  • Two authors: (Giessen and Vogelgesang 2009)
  • Three or more authors: (Volkov et al. 2003)

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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