I'm trying to reference data from this particular book. However, it's an old book, so there isn't an e-book version available for me to purchase, and the price is quite high. I only need to cite one or two lines from the entire book, so it would kind of be a waste to purchase it anyway.

I've found a summary of excerpts from the book, and it contains all the evidence from the book that I need. My question is, am I allowed to cite this link, or am I required to cite the original book instead? The problem with the excerpts is that it does not mention the pages they were taken from, so if I do reference the book, I would not be able to reference the page number, like this:

Gene G. Abel and Nora Harlow, The stop child molestation book: what ordinary people can do in their everyday lives to save three million children (Philadelphia: Xlibris, 2001).

Is it wrong to cite the whole book when I simply can't figure out the page numbers, but know that the lines are in the book? Or can I just reference the excerpt, like this:

Gene G. Abel and Nora Harlow. “The Abel and Harlow Child Molestation Study.” ChildMolestationPrevention.org. https://www.childmolestationprevention.org/pdfs/study.pdf (accessed July 27, 2017).

I'm working according to the Chicago-Turabian manual of style when it comes to citations.

  • In my experience of citing references, it was generally said that you need the page numbers so that someone won't need to read the whole book to find your quote. I personally have avoided using references/sources that required me to buy it, even if the information was available in the abstract they give for free. You may want to double check with the teacher for clarification but you could potentially be docked points for not properly citing. I don't know if it will be anything worse than that though.
    – ggiaquin16
    Jul 27, 2017 at 16:58
  • It's for my book. No teacher will grade this. Could it still pass in that case? And to clarify, you're telling me that citing the whole book is better than citing the excerpt pdf? Jul 27, 2017 at 17:07
  • If it's for a book, then you definitely will need to have the paper trail available. There are many fact checkers and critiques out there who will look to cross analyze anything that seems off. I doubt someone will go out and spend $$$ just to validate your book, but you also don't want to lose credibility by having reviews state that you lack proper citation. Or it could be as simple as stating you found the information in the abstract.
    – ggiaquin16
    Jul 27, 2017 at 17:13
  • I would wait though to see what other people have to say. They may have a differing opinion or provide you with a solution. Mine is merely speculative opinion.
    – ggiaquin16
    Jul 27, 2017 at 17:24
  • Indeed. I'll wait until I have an answer. Jul 27, 2017 at 17:42

1 Answer 1


This is generally known as a "secondary source" citation and while not favored or viewed as highly as a primary source citation, provided it is accurately referenced from the secondary source it is generally considered acceptable.

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