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
Burns, J. A. (2002). Solar system science. Two bodies are better than one. Science (New York, N.Y.), 297(5583), 942–943.
A journal article with 2 authors
Suit, H. D., & Withers, H. R. (2001). Endothelial cells and radiation gastrointestinal syndrome. Science (New York, N.Y.), 294(5546), 1411.
A journal article with 3 authors
Segawa, Y., Yamashita, M., & Nozaki, K. (2006). Boryllithium: isolation, characterization, and reactivity as a boryl anion. Science (New York, N.Y.), 314(5796), 113–115.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Ahn, J.-H., Kim, H.-S., Lee, K. J., Jeon, S., Kang, S. J., Sun, Y., et al. (2006). Heterogeneous three-dimensional electronics by use of printed semiconductor nanomaterials. Science (New York, N.Y.), 314(5806), 1754–1757.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Tostmann, K.-H. (2005). Korrosion. Weinheim, FRG: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA.
An edited book
Tamaki, N., & Kuge, Y. (Eds.). (2010). Molecular Imaging for Integrated Medical Therapy and Drug Development. Tokyo: Springer Japan.
A chapter in an edited book
Qiang, H.-F., Zhong, Q.-Y., & Tan, L.-L. (2012). Further Issues about Classroom Teaching of Holding a Post Education in Military Academy. In Y. Wang (Ed.), Education and Educational Technology (pp. 29–34). 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, September 30). Stress Harms Infants’ Learning Flexibility. 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. (2006). Abstinence Education: Efforts to Assess the Accuracy and Effectiveness of Federally Funded Programs (No. GAO-07-87). 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
Delisio, J. P. (2017). Fighting For A Cure: The Berry Plan’s Impact on Civilian Medical Research (Doctoral dissertation). George Washington University, Washington, DC.

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
Kelly, C. (2009, February 8). Skate, Sure, But Don’t Expect A Zamboni. New York Times, p. LI7.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Burns 2002).
This sentence cites two references (Burns 2002; Suit and Withers 2001).

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

  • Two authors: (Suit and Withers 2001)
  • Three or more authors: (Ahn et al. 2006)

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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