This is the Vancouver style for referencing, used at the Univerity of Portsmouth within the School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences and the Radiography departments.

This guide is modelled on Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (2nd edition). You may wish to consult this source directly for additional information or examples.

  • Keep a careful note of all sources used as you prepare your assignments.
  • Record all the details you need about a library book (including page numbers for any quotations) before you return it - someone else may have the book if you try to go back and check later.
  • Make sure you write down the source details you need on any photocopies you make or that they are properly aligned so that page numbers and headings are clearly visible.
  • Remember to print or save details of any webpage you want to refer to (your tutor may ask to see this) and record the date when you accessed the information.


  • The details needed for a book can be found on the front and back of the title page. Ignore any reprint dates; you need the date when the first, second, third edition, etc. of the book was published, according to which edition of the book you are using.
  • Make sure you locate the name of the publisher rather than the printer or typesetter. You need the name of the publisher in your reference list.
  • The place of publication should be a town or a city, not a county or country. If in the UK, just the town or city. If in the USA, the town is unlikely to be mistaken for a place in UK, but add two letter state code if confusion could arise e.g. Cambridge MA for Harvard University Press. If more than one place of publication is listed, just choose the first one.
  • The library catalogue gives the place of publication and publisher's name, if you are in any doubt.
  • If you haven't got the book, it is probably best to try and retrace your steps. If it is an item you borrowed via the library you can look at your loan history under My Account in the library catalogue and check basic details. If it is something you read in the library check the catalogue for details. If you obtained the book from another source, is useful for verifying bibliographical details.

 Journal articles

  • The details needed for a journal article can usually be found on pages which contain the article, but you can also check the contents list or front cover of the journal issue.

Electronic sources

  • Access electronic sources again directly by retracing your steps through the relevant e-book collection, e-journal article or database.
  • It is very important that when you use general Internet sources, other than facsimiles of printed articles or books, you record at the time the full details, including the internet address (or URL).


  • The details you need can be more difficult to identify, but the first resort is again to examine the original item.
  • More information on feature films can be found on IMDB (Internet Movie Database)
  • The fullest details can be found by using the combined details link for a specific film.
  • If you are tracking a specific DVD edition of a film to identify extras you may find the merchandising link useful.

Television and Radio programmes or recordings

  • The details you need can be more difficult to identify, but the first resort is again to examine the original item.
  • Television and radio channels may publish some information on their websites.
  • Tracing details of these after the broadcast can be difficult. The best source of information is TRILT (Television and Radio Index for Learning and Teaching) which gives details of television and radio programmes schedules from 2001 onwards for over 330 different channels plus a substantial selection of terrestrial television programmes back to 1995. However, this may not give you responsibility data.
  • A general web search with what details you do have, may help track down a source for details.