At one time I tried to be able to remember obscure journal abbreviations and the like, but recently I started favouring more bulky bibliography entries.

So I started wondering if it might be useful to include series and volume number of a book, e.g. Graduate Texts in Mathematics (GTM). Sometimes library shelves, book stores, publisher's sites, etc. are ordered by book series and often it helps to know the series and number to track down a book. Traditionally, the bibliography information for a book would be

Takeuti, G. & Zaring, W.M., Introduction to Axiomatic Set Theory, Berlin: Springer, 1981.

with the title of the book in italics. But then journal names are also in italics, which could mean that book series should be as well (after all, some book series even have ISSN numbers, so how different are they really?). But then there is not really enough contrast between the book title and the series...

Takeuti, G. & Zaring, W.M., Introduction to Axiomatic Set Theory, Graduate Texts in Mathematics, 1, Berlin: Springer, 1981.

My questions are

  1. Would it be good to include book series in a bibliography? If yes:
  2. How should I style the book title and the book series?

(As apparent from the example book, my field is mathematics.)

  • 1
    Please, don't post book titles that can be interesting... it can hurt my wallet ;-) Jan 18, 2016 at 20:25
  • 1
    I chose GTM 1 as the first volume of maybe the most popular series of probably the largest publisher of books in mathematics. I have to admit that I have never read the book... (My personal favourites of the GTM series are volumes 82 & 52.)
    – Earthliŋ
    Jan 18, 2016 at 20:30
  • 3
    BTW, as a mathematician, you're probably using LaTeX to typeset your documents, aren't you? Let LaTeX choose the correct format, on the basis of the publisher's style, typically given through a BibTeX style file. The bibliography entry type book has the optional fields volume and series for exactly that purpose. Jan 18, 2016 at 20:38

2 Answers 2


It is generally quite difficult to provide too much bibliographic information, and this is no exception: while few will notice or care about the additional information, it will certainly do no harm.

As for how to format it: that depends on the publication venue. Every publication style, however, has a standardized form for books that are part of a series (intended for those books where the series is important bibliographic information) and you simply need to comply with that standard.


Honestly, I'm just going to go ahead and say it doesn't really matter. Anyone who's interested will just Google it and find the result immediately anyway. The same is true for anyone searching for it in an actual library. I'd say to just use a reference manager like Mendeley, EndNote, Zotero, etc, and pick a formatting style that you like. Then you don't have to worry about correct formatting of the book title, etc, if you wish to include it.

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