Answered By: Claire Sewell
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2020     Views: 59

Reading lists will differ from subject to subject but generally they will direct you to materials that will help you prepare for supervisions, lectures, writing essays and completing assignments.

Reading lists often contain references to books, chapters in books and journal articles. They may also contain references to other material including dictionaries, websites and films.

Below are some examples of how references may be presented. There is no set way of presenting this information so it may differ from reading list to reading list.

Also be aware that reading lists may contain mistakes! If you have any trouble interpreting your reading list, then please ask your supervisor or a member of library staff for help.


Book references will usually contain author(s), title, edition, publisher, publication date.


  • Kermode, Frank. 2000. Shakespeare’s language (London: Allen Lane)
  • R P Burn: Numbers and Functions, Cambridge University Press

Note: Use iDiscover to find book titles. You can limit your search results to specific libraries.

Chapters in books

References to chapters in books may use chapter titles or book titles, and they may also contain page numbers.


  • Barton, Anne. 1994. ‘Wrying but a little: marriage, law and sexuality in the plays of Shakespeare’, in Essays, mainly Shakespearean (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), pp. 3–30
  • Funder, D. C. (2010). The personality puzzle. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. [Chapters: 4, 8 – 18]

Note: Use iDiscover to find chapters in books. Make sure you search for the title of the book, not the title of the chapter. You can limit your search results to specific libraries.

Journal articles

Journal article references will usually contain author(s), (date), title, journal title, volume number and page numbers.


  • Hayles, N.K. 1980. ‘Sexual disguise in “Cymbeline”’, Modern Language Quarterly, 41, 230–47
  • Buss, D. M. (1987). Selection, evocation, & manipulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 53, 1214-1221.

Note: Use eresources@cambridge to find journal articles. Click the ‘databases’ tab and enter the title of the journal (not the title of the article) you’re looking for. From there, drill down to the correct year and volume/issue number.