I would like to cite a book that has first appeared in 1976 and has since seen three editions.

Book on Google Scholar

I need to cite the book in a paper I am writing that will (hopefully) be published by Springer. What version do I cite or do I cite the first but indicate I used the third edition?

It seems there are multiple choices but I can't find a concrete answer in Springer's guidelines nor can I answer this to my satisfaction with my prior experience.

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    Dear reader, both answers are great but I could only accept one, hence, I chose to accept the one with the most votes. However, you should read both if this question peaked your interest. – Eric Apr 15 '15 at 11:10

You cite precisely the version that you use and add something like "5th edition" (that is what the "edition"-entry is there for in BibTeX). Be careful to use the correct year!

  • Unfortunately I am using EndNote for this one. But thank you! – Eric Apr 14 '15 at 12:42

You should cite whatever edition you actually used. But allow me to add that you should have good reasons for not using the first edition (when it matters for your discussion when a claim was first made) or the last edition (when you want to refer to the latest/updated version of the claim made). As a reader, I'm left with an impression of unprofessionalism when I see a reference to a "random" edition of a book.

  • Wouldn't you in those cases still advocate citing the original works and then simply refer to the modifications my editions or date? – Eric Apr 14 '15 at 14:51
  • @Eric: No. Why would I do that? – Sverre Apr 14 '15 at 15:02
  • That is a question only you can answer for yourself! ;) In my opinion it would be "cleaner" to refer to the original and than specify any modifications done in later editions, that is, except in the case of major revisions. – Eric Apr 14 '15 at 15:05
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    @Eric: Let me put it differently. I have never seen anyone do what you're suggesting, and I can't see why anyone would do it either. Hence why I asked why one should do that. I don't know what it means that it is "clean". – Sverre Apr 14 '15 at 15:24
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    @eric If my point was to trace how thinking about a question changed over time, sure, I might say, "In the 1952 edition of Bob's Compendium of All the Knowledge in the Universe, it said that ... but the 1960 edition said this different thing ... and the 2010 edition said something entirely different ..." But if I was just citing some fact, and the fact that theories about this had changed over the years wasn't relevant to my point, I can't imagine why I'd give some long digression about how we got where we are today. – Jay Apr 14 '15 at 20:35

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