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Computer Science Resources: ACM Style Guidelines

How to find resources in the field of Computer Science and keep up with the latest CS research. Also, the basics of ACM's style for citations.

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Kathleen McElhinney

ACM Reference Format - Reference Lists

Reference linking and citation counts are facilitated by use of these standard reference formats.  Citations must be in the format below for all ACM papers.

Here are examples of the most common reference types formatted for ACM journals.

For a paginated article in a journal:

Patricia S. Abril and Robert Plant. 2007. The patent holder's dilemma: Buy, sell, or troll? Commun. ACM 50, 1 (Jan. 2007), 36-44. DOI:

For an enumerated article in a journal:

Sarah Cohen, Werner Nutt, and Yehoshua Sagic. 2007. Deciding equivalances among conjunctive aggregate queries. J. ACM 54, 2, Article 5 (April 2007), 50 pages. DOI:

For a monograph (whole book):

David Kosiur. 2001. Understanding Policy-Based Networking (2nd. ed.). Wiley, New York, NY.

For a divisible book (anthology or compilation):

Ian Editor (Ed.). 2007. The title of book one (1st. ed.). The name of the series one, Vol. 9. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. DOI:

For a multi-volume work (as a book):

Donald E. Knuth. 1997. The Art of Computer Programming, Vol. 1: Fundamental Algorithms (3rd. ed.). Addison Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc.

For a (paginated proceedings) article in a conference proceedings (conference, symposium or workshop):

Sten Andler. 1979. Predicate Path expressions. In Proceedings of the 6th. ACM SIGACT-SIGPLAN symposium on Principles of Programming Languages (POPL '79). ACM Press, New York, NY, 226-236. DOI:

For a Patent:

Joseph Scientist. 2009. The fountain of youth. (Aug. 2009). Patent No. 12345, Filed July 1st., 2008, Issued Aug. 9th., 2009.

For an informally published work (such as some technical reports and dissertations):

  • Technical Report:

    David Harel. 1978. LOGICS of Programs: AXIOMATICS and DESCRIPTIVE POWER. MIT Research Lab Technical Report TR-200. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

  • Doctoral dissertation:

    Kenneth L. Clarkson. 1985. Algorithms for Closest-Point Problems (Computational Geometry). Ph.D. Dissertation. Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA. UMI Order Number: AAT 8506171.

  • Master's Thesis:

    David A. Anisi. 2003. Optimal Motion Control of a Ground Vehicle. Master's thesis. Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden.

For an online document/WWW resource:

Harry Thornburg. 2001. Introduction to Bayesian Statistics. (March 2001). Retrieved March 2, 2005 from

For a Video (two examples):

Dave Novak. 2003. Solder man. Video. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2003 Video Review on Animation theater Program: Part I - Vol. 145 (July 27-27, 2003). ACM Press, New York, NY, 4. DOI:

Barack Obama. 2008. A more perfect union. Video. (5 March 2008). Retrieved March 21, 2008 from

In-Text Citations

When writing a paper, refer to other references using an in-text citation.

Single author

Enclose in square brackets the last name of the first author and year of publication, thus: [Burando 2007]

Two authors

Enclose in square brackets both last names and the year of publication: [Burando and Lee 2007];

More than two authors

Enclose in square brackets the last name of the first author, followed by an "et al." [Burando et al. 2007].

Sequential parenthetical citations

Enclose in square brackets, separated by semi-colons: thus [Burando 2007; Burando and Lee 2007].

Citation part of the text of the sentence

When a citation is part of a sentence, the name of the author is NOT enclosed in brackets, but the year is: "So we see that Burando et al. [2007]..."

Multiple articles within a single year

When an author has more than one article published in the same year, add lower-case letters to distinguish the articles:  [Burando 2007a] and [Burando 2007b].

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