I would like to cite a chapter from a book which is listed in the catalogue as Attosecond and XUV Spectroscopy: Ultrafast Dynamics and Spectroscopy (Wiley, 2014, edited by Thomas Schultz and Marc Vrakking), found here at the Wiley site and here on Amazon. I'm somewhat confused about how exactly to cite this book, since if you look at the cover...

... the title is different. To add to the confusion,

  • the book is listed under the catalogue title (Spectroscopy) in multiple library catalogues and most google search results,
  • but not everywhere, including WorldCat and several Wiley pages;
  • the citing articles on Google Scholar are split about 50/50 on both (with Google Scholar correctly recognizing both forms as citations to the same resource!),
  • some of them even switching sides;
  • the title page has the same title as the cover; and
  • each book chapter has a footer with the cover title (Physics).

My question is: how do I cite this book? Given that pretty much every rule of libraryness seems to have melted down, do I just choose whatever I find sexier and forget about it all?

  • 1
    To really confuse people: there could be two competing books with those two titles...
    – GEdgar
    Jan 12, 2016 at 17:32
  • Not with the same editors and publication year, though. Either choice is pretty unambiguous.
    – E.P.
    Jan 12, 2016 at 18:07

3 Answers 3


List both. The official title is whatever is on the book, no matter what (so even including any typos and stuff). Still, it makes sense to mention the problem:

Thomas Schultz and Marc Vrakking (eds). Attosecond and XUV Physics: Ultrafast Dynamics and Spectroscopy [also known as "Attosecond and XUV Spectroscopy: Ultrafast Dynamics and Spectroscopy"]. Wiley, 2014, 624pp. ISBN: 978-3-527-41124-5.

Bear in mind that the title is the one listed inside (on the first sheet of paper), not on the cover (thanks Andrew for pointing this). Also, I would include the ISBN in this case, even if you don't include it for other book references. Either in a standard way as shown above, or in a note like the following; remember that rules for providing auxiliary information are quite loose and you can twist them to your needs:

Thomas Schultz and Marc Vrakking (eds). Attosecond and XUV Physics: Ultrafast Dynamics and Spectroscopy. Wiley, 2014, 624pp. [also known as: "Attosecond and XUV Spectroscopy: Ultrafast Dynamics and Spectroscopy". ISBN: 978-3-527-41124-5.]

  • Ah ok, well, yes, citations of chapters are very big. Nothing to worry about. Sorry for my strong response in the previous comment, I was really scared by the thought.
    – yo'
    Jan 11, 2016 at 23:27
  • 4
    "whatever is on the book" is correct, but you should mention the one enormous caveat: it's the title page, not the cover, that defines this. Covers can have all sorts of extraneous (or missing) text on them and you should always defer to the title page if in doubt. Jan 12, 2016 at 17:05

Any one will do.

The main aspect behind citations is to make the reference reachable to the readers. If both citations indicate the same content then you may use any one you feel content with (and stick to it for uniformity).

  • And for the very reason you say, both titles should be listed, not any single one of them. Giving more information is the way to make the reference reachable.
    – yo'
    Jan 13, 2016 at 22:29

Pick one, preferably the one that is listed on publishers own lists. The important thing is that the ISBN number is right and anyone who might be interesting in getting to the referred material can adequate do so with the given information.

  • In case it wasn't clear from the question, the publisher's lists are inconsistent. I'm not using a citation style with ISBNs - it is not used in the physical sciences as far as I'm aware.
    – E.P.
    Jan 12, 2016 at 15:29
  • @E.P. I would be for an exception with the ISBN in this case, I'll update my answer to reflect this.
    – yo'
    Jan 12, 2016 at 15:44

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