My girlfriend was advised to use Ibid in her assignment's citations to help reduce the word count (I pointed out that references are usually not part of the count, but regardless); but she couldn't grasp the concept or why Ibid would be used.

I explained that it would typically be used when writing footnotes1 and that 
the material you were referencing2 is the same, and used in more than one place3.

^1: Anon, Lorem Ipsum (SE Publishing, 1999), p23
^2: Ibid.
^3: Ibid., p30

My argument was that you would save redundancy, by not having to write out the author name/title again, as well as provide a logical way of keeping footnotes numbered (1,2,3..) rather than (1,1,1,2) if the same work was cited more than once.

Is my understanding correct? Could anyone clarify and explain it in a better way?

2 Answers 2


You are right. "ibid" is short for "ibidem", meaning "in the same place". It is used to not repeat the same title again and again.

Also have a look at this question:
Vancouver system, citing multiple sentences from the same book


Be careful, though. "ibid" is considered, at least in some circles, to be old-fashioned, even archaic. What citation style is your girlfriend using?

ETA: Unless someone in authority advised her to use it, I don't think she should. You're using it as correctly as possible, but it's still not likely to be a popular choice in this day and age.

  • 2
    This sounds more like a comment, Kate. I almost flagged it before I saw that it was you. Could you elaborate the alternatives to make it an answer? (To your concern: I have linked to the Vancouver question exactly for the same reason. On the other hand he said she was advised to do it.) Nov 21, 2011 at 22:44
  • Not long ago, at least in my main discipline (music), Ibid. was not only in use, but required in situations where it could be used. I recall Idem. being out of favor and not to be used at all. The style is basically Turabian/Chicago. I don't have my manual handy, but do you have a source?
    – Andrew
    Nov 26, 2011 at 3:23
  • I don't know Chicago all that well, so maybe ibid survives there. I was thinking of MLA and APA. In terms of a source - it's a bit tricky, because there's more of an absence of mentions, rather than a specific ban. They both use in-text citations, which are already largely abbreviated, so I guess maybe they just don't see the need to go that little bit shorter?
    – Kate S.
    Nov 26, 2011 at 7:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.