Citation Style and Reference Formats

Page last updated July 11, 2023 by C. Rodkin



The in-text citation style is as follows: For parenthetical citations we enclose the number of the reference, thus: [1]. Sequential parenthetical citations are enclosed in square brackets and separated by commas, thus [1, 2]. When a citation is part of a sentence, the name of the author is NOT enclosed in brackets, but the year is: "So we see that Burando et al. [1999]..."


Reference linking and citation counts are facilitated by use of these standard reference formats. Please adhere to the reference formats that we use for ACM publications. If you do not, and your paper is accepted, it will be returned to you for proper formatting.

By using your BibTeX (.bib) file with the appropriate .bst file (ACM Reference Format) your references should require minimum editing.

ACM's preference is for full names and not initials or abbreviations.

Here are examples of the most common reference types formatted for ACM journals.

Note: For BibTeX examples see:

For a paginated article in a journal:

[1] Patricia S. Abril and Robert Plant. 2007. The patent holder's dilemma: Buy, sell, or troll? Commun. ACM 50, 1 (Jan. 2007), 36-44.

For an enumerated article in a journal:

[1] Sarah Cohen, Werner Nutt, and Yehoshua Sagic. 2007. Deciding equivalences among conjunctive aggregate queries. J. ACM 54, 2, Article 5 (April 2007), 50 pages.

For a monograph (whole book):

[1] David Kosiur. 2001. Understanding Policy-Based Networking (2nd. ed.). Wiley, New York, NY.

For a divisible book (anthology or compilation):

[1] Ian Editor (Ed.). 2007. The title of book one (1st. ed.). The name of the series one, Vol. 9. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

For a multi-volume work (as a book):

[1] Donald E. Knuth. 1997. The Art of Computer Programming, Vol. 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd. ed.). Addison Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc.

For a (paginated proceedings) article in a conference proceedings (conference, symposium or workshop):

[1] Sten Andler. 1979. Predicate path expressions. In Proceedings of the 6th. ACM SIGACT-SIGPLAN Symposium on Principles of Programming Languages (POPL '79), January 29 - 31, 1979,  San Antonio, Texas. ACM Inc., New York, NY, 226-236.

For a Patent:

[1] Joseph Scientist. 2009. The fountain of youth. (Aug. 2009). Patent No. 12345, Filed July 1st., 2008, Issued Aug. 9th., 2009.

For an informally published work (such as some technical reports and dissertations):

  • Technical Report:

    [1] David Harel. 1978. LOGICS of Programs: AXIOMATICS and DESCRIPTIVE POWER. MIT Research Lab Technical Report TR-200. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

  • Doctoral dissertation:

    [1] Kenneth L. Clarkson. 1985. Algorithms for Closest-Point Problems (Computational Geometry). Ph.D. Dissertation. Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. UMI Order Number: AAT 8506171.

  • Master's Thesis:

    [1] David A. Anisi. 2003. Optimal Motion Control of a Ground Vehicle. Master's thesis. Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden.

For an online document/WWW resource: Website year can be found at the bottom of the website page or by viewing page properties/source to see when the page was last modified.

[1] Harry Thornburg. 2001. Introduction to Bayesian Statistics. (March 2001). Retrieved March 2, 2005 from

[2] ACM. Association for Computing Machinery: Advancing Computing as a Science & Profession. Retrieved from

[3] Wikipedia. 2017. WikipediA: the Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved from

For a Video (two examples):

[1] Dave Novak. 2003. Solder man. Video. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2003 Video Review on Animation theater Program: Part I - Vol. 145 (July 27-27, 2003). ACM Press, New York, NY, 4.

[2] Barack Obama. 2008. A more perfect union. Video. (5 March 2008). Retrieved March 21, 2008 from

For arXiv:

[1] Martha Constantinou. 2016. New physics searches from nucleon matrix elements in lattice QCD.  arXiv:1701.00133. Retrieved from

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