The Oxford Standard for Citations of Legal Authorities (OSCOLA for short) is a standardised system for legal citations. It is also the main legal citation style in UK and international jurisprudence, so you should know this referencing style if you’re studying law. But how do you cite an ebook in OSCOLA?
This can be tricky, since the fourth edition of OSCOLA makes no explicit reference to ebooks. Nevertheless, we have some tips to share.
How to Cite an Ebook in OSCOLA Footnotes
OSCOLA references for ebooks are similar to those used for print books. In fact, if the ebook edition contains the same page numbers as the printed publication, you should cite the source as if it were a print book.
Therefore, for most ebooks, you’ll use the following format:
n. Author Name, Title (Additional Information, Edition, Publisher Year) Pinpoint Reference.
The additional information here can include editors, translators, or any other clarificatory detail. An example of this would be:
1. Arnold Barrister, Life in Law (3rdedn, PME Publications 2015) 317.
If no page numbers are available in the ebook edition of a book that is available in print, use the standard book referencing style with the electronic format included before the publisher and chapter/section/paragraph numbers for pinpoint references:
2. Jane Judges, Jurisprudence (Kindle edn, PME Publications 2014) ch 1, para 30.
However, if you are citing an ebook that is only available electronically, your citation should end with the web address and an access date:
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n. Author, Title (Additional Information, Edition, Publisher Year) <URL> (date of access).
A citation of this kind would therefore appear in the footnote as:
3. Terry Futurebrain, Law Online (PME Publications 2012) <www.ebooks.au/futurebrain> (accessed 1 July 2015).
How to List Ebooks in an OSCOLA Bibliography
Like print books, in OSCOLA referencing, ebooks are included in the ‘Secondary Sources’ section of the bibliography. Sources should be listed alphabetically by author surname.
Furthermore, while footnote citations require pinpoint references and a full stop at the end, you don’t need either of these in the bibliography. As such, we would list the examples cited above as follows:
Barrister, A, Life in Law (3rd edn, PME Publications 2015)
Futurebrain, T, Law Online (PME Publications 2012) <www.ebooks.au/futurebrain> (accessed 1 July 2015)