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Citation Style Guide

This guide was created to provide basic instruction on commonly-used citation styles across the faculties of Dalhousie University.

Vancouver Style


Vancouver Style is the citation style used by most biomedical journals, and it is maintained by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. It was established at a meeting of medical journal editors in Vancouver in 1978, which is where the name comes from. It is also known as the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.  Vancouver is the citation style used by Medline and PubMed

The main feature that sets Vancouver apart from other citation styles is its sequential numbering of references in the text. References are numbered according to where they are first used in the text, and will continue to use that number for the rest of the paper. 

In-text Citation with Vancouver:

Vancouver Style only requires one piece of information for the in-text citation:

  1. A number tracking, numerically, when the resources was first cited in the paper. 
  2. Each number refers to unique cited source in the paper.

Example in-text citations, from fictional authors and sources:

While all flies provide sustenance, one obtains more "nutrition for the soul" from high quality specimens [4].

If the author is mentioned in the text, the citation is placed as follows:

While all flies provide sustenance, Ribbit Frog [4] argues that one obtains more "nutrition for the soul" from high quality specimens. 

Once a resource is assigned a number it keeps that number for the rest of the paper. In the example above, this article by Ribbit Frog will be labelled number '4' for the entirety of the paper.

Papers using Vancouver Style to cite their references must include a "References" page at the end of their paper.  This section can either directly follow the text on the same page, or be on its own page following the text.  When citing from online journal articles, you must use a special abbreviation of the journal title.  

This NLM database allows you to search for the abbreviations for commonly-used medical journals. 

The References Page

Documents using the Vancouver style of citation must contain a "References" page at the end of the text. The following are some examples of how to cite commonly used references:


Frog RR. Experts guide to artisanal fly cuisine. 2nd Ed. Halifax: Imaginary Publishing INC; 1998. 243 p. Book and article titles are in sentence case!

Online Scholarly Journal Article

Frog RR, Frog BB. I've got ninety-nine problems but a fly ain't one. J Eso Ridic [internet]. 1999 Mar [cited 2008 Feb 2]; 33(1):12-20. Available from: Journal titles are abbreviated following NLM guidelines!

Page from a Website

Fly Gourmand Association [internet]. Halifax NS: Imaginary Publishing INC; c1998-2016. How to prepare delicious fly scallopini; 2011 Oct 12 [cited 2016 Mar 10]; [about 4 screens]. Available from: For pages from websites: List the home page and place of publication!

For more information on how to cite different formats (such as multiple authors, video, etc) in Vancouver style check out the links to NLM or Monash University's Quick Guide! (Links below.)


Online Guides


Special thanks to Jackie Phinney for her knowledge of Vancouver Style and her help creating the content for this page.