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Patrias K, author; Wendling D, editor. Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers [Internet]. 2nd edition. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007-.

Cover of Citing Medicine

Citing Medicine: The NLM Style Guide for Authors, Editors, and Publishers [Internet]. 2nd edition.

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About this Book

How to cite this publication:

  • Patrias K. Citing medicine: the NLM style guide for authors, editors, and publishers [Internet]. 2nd ed. Wendling DL, technical editor. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); 2007 -    [updated 2015 Oct 2; cited Year Month Day]. Available from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/citingmedicine

How to use this publication

Citing Medicine gives information on constructing citations at three levels:

  1. Diagrammed Citation - Many people need to format a non-complex citation and want to know how to format a citation, without learning why it should be structured that way. The picture of the sample citation and the broad guidelines (what we're calling the Introduction) will be enough for many people in this group.
  2. General Rules and Examples - A smaller number of people will need to view the General Rules and Examples sections to get more information. They either will have a specific problem to solve or their work requires them to build a general knowledge of citation that they can later apply to specific cases. For this group we lay out why citations are structured the way they are and show them what types of citations exist (Examples) and what special, difficult cases they may encounter (Specific Rules).
  3. Specific Rules - A yet smaller number of people will need to enter the Specific Rules section to solve a specific problem, such as handling non-English citations.

The Library intends Citing Medicine to be an evolving publication. Join the CITINGMED LISTSERV at http://list.nih.gov/archives/citingmed.html to learn of additions and changes. Your comments and suggestions are welcome. Please submit them to us via the National Library of Medicine's Contact Form.


This publication updates and supersedes two existing publications:

  • National Library of Medicine Recommended Formats for Bibliographic Citation (1991).
  • National Library of Medicine Recommended Formats for Bibliographic Citation.Internet Supplement (2001).

Why a new edition?

  1. NLM changed some of the rules for citations in MEDLINE/PubMed. For example, we changed the number of authors taken to all and added a period at the end of the journal title abbreviation.
  2. The National Information Standards Organization issued a new standard for Bibliographic References in 2005 (ANSI/NISO Z39.29).
  3. The volume and types of publications on the Internet have vastly increased. For example, instructions on citing wikis and blogs are now included.
  4. We wished to incorporate the feedback received from users over the years. Users wanted:
    • More information about each type of publication, e.g., on the various possible titles for conferences
    • More information on each part of a citation, e.g., author surnames followed by III or Jr
    • More examples
    • HTML format

Terms and Conditions

Citing Medicine is published by the U.S. government and not subject to copyright protection. You may use the material in this publication without permission. We ask that you acknowledge this source in any published writing. We also recommend that you link to the top level of Citing Medicine at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/citingmedicine whenever possible because this address will continue to be valid over time. More specific links to other pages in the publication may change.


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