I am in a position where I am writing both more professional articles, and supplementary articles to undergraduates. The supplementary works is meant to prepare the students for the graduate courses. This is in mathematics, and analysis in particular. I want the notes to be self contained, and therefore I cite, or refer to proofs and further discussions on the lemmas and corollaries that are used. This should also be used for further references, "if you want to know more about metric spaces, please look at Kreyszig [4]".

I have a wide variety of books I can cite, I can pick any of the big books used in Calculus. Calculus by Adams etc Calculus: Early Transcendentals by James Stewart. On the other hand I could refer to the more classical works by Apostol or Rudin (Principles of mathematical analysis)

Choosing the more classical works is good for preping the stundents, but for a first touch these can be a bit terse. Also the proofs in for an example Rudin are a bit on the short side, whilst Adams is very wordy Would citing both, for every lemma and theorem, make the citations too daunting?

Long story short:

When should one cite the terse material, and when to choose the lengthier comprehensible works. How does one choose the appropriate level to cite from when writing an article, paper or notes ?

1 Answer 1


I'd give both, explaining briefly what is to be expected of which reference, something along the lines:

A brief introduction can be found in [1] while [2] gives a terse summary and [3] develops proof 42 in detail.

(substitute whatever citation style you use for [1] etc.)

  • 2
    Ouch. What are these words "[]" and "[]"? How do I read this? Commented May 22, 2014 at 14:16
  • 2
    Those brackets are just meant to be placeholders for citations. Just substitute the style you want/have to use (e.g., AuthorA and AuthorB 1842) Commented May 22, 2014 at 14:20
  • @MichaelMauderer: thanks - yes that is what I meant.
    – cbeleites
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 14:42
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    No, @MichaelMauderer, those brackets are typographical shorthand for footnote markers, not nouns! "Mertens [15] provides a brief introduction; see Gunter, Günter, Gunther, and Petrikov [8] and Abadeer [1,2] for detailed proofs."
    – JeffE
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 3:27
  • @JeffE yes they are now, after the answer has been edited. My comment was about a previous version (see edit history) Commented May 23, 2014 at 8:59

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