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
Brumfiel, G. (2003). French minister breaks diplomatic ice with visit to US. Nature, 422(6932), 551.
A journal article with 2 authors
Cresswell, J. E., & Thompson, H. M. (2012). Comment on “A common pesticide decreases foraging success and survival in honey bees.” Science (New York, N.Y.), 337(6101), 1453; author reply 1453.
A journal article with 3 authors
Dominguez, G., Wilkins, G., & Thiemens, M. H. (2011). The Soret effect and isotopic fractionation in high-temperature silicate melts. Nature, 473(7345), 70–73.
A journal article with 8 or more authors
Said, M., Cappiello, C., Devaney, J. M., Podini, D., Beres, A. L., Vukmanovic, S., et al. (2014). Genomics in premature infants: a non-invasive strategy to obtain high-quality DNA. Scientific reports, 4, 4286.

Books and book chapters

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

An authored book
Anaya-Lara, O., Campos-Gaona, D., Moreno-Goytia, E., & Adam, G. (2014). Offshore Wind Energy Generation. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
An edited book
Benato, R. (2010). EHV AC Undergrounding Electrical Power: Performance and Planning. (A. Paolucci, Ed.). London: Springer.
A chapter in an edited book
Rodríguez-Sánchez, A. J., & Piater, J. (2014). Models of the Visual Cortex for Object Representation: Learning and Wired Approaches. In L. Grandinetti, T. Lippert, & N. Petkov (Eds.), Brain-Inspired Computing: International Workshop, BrainComp 2013, Cetraro, Italy, July 8-11, 2013, Revised Selected Papers (pp. 51–62). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

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
Davis, J. (2015, November 14). Sharks’ Ability To Hunt Could Be Altered Under Climate Change. 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. (1992). Compensatory Education: Most Chapter 1 Funds in Eight Districts Used for Classroom Services (No. HRD-92-136FS). 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
Zhang, Y. (2013). Crossroads A World War II story (Doctoral dissertation). California State University, Long Beach, Long Beach, CA.

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
Murphy, M. J. O. (2016, January 1). Friday File: When the Ball First Dropped on New Year’s Eve. New York Times, p. C26.

In-text citations

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

This sentence cites one reference (Brumfiel 2003).
This sentence cites two references (Brumfiel 2003; Cresswell and Thompson 2012).

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

  • Two authors: (Cresswell and Thompson 2012)
  • Three or more authors: (Said et al. 2014)

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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