IEEE Computer Society Style Guide

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This special section consists of two subsections: sample formats and general style. The first presents examples of most of the reference types that arise in Computer Society publications. The second delineates the policies and style principles underlying the formats. For Transactions, see "Transactions Department References" (compiled November 2011).

To save time, ask the authors for any missing reference information. If they don't provide it, then search for it if possible.

Sample formats

Article in a collection

A.J. Albrecht, "Measuring Application-Development Productivity," Programmer Productivity Issues for the Eighties, 2nd ed., C. Jones, ed., IEEE CS, 1981, pp. 34–43.

Article in a conference proceedings

In general, delete prepositions in conference titles where the meaning is clear without them (see the Abbreviations section). Use the ordinal symbol (2nd, 14th, 23rd) for annual conferences. If available, include the conference initialism in parentheses—for example, (ICDE 98)—following the abbreviated name of the conference. Include the sponsor's name if it's part of the official proceedings title. The publisher's name is unnecessary. Use the page numbers, article number, or DOI.

H. Yuan et al., "Sparse Representation Using Contextual Information for Hyperspectral Image Classification," Proc. 2013 IEEE Conf. Cybernetics (CYBCONF 13), 2013, pp. 138–143.

N. Zhong, "Toward Web Intelligence," Advances in Web Intelligence: 1st Int'l Atlantic Web Intelligence Conf. (AWIC 03), LNCS 2663, 2003, pp. 1–14.

Article in a journal or magazine

Use lowercase for vol. and no. The default is to use the volume and issue number, but for popular publications, you can use the publication date instead. Page numbers through 9999 do not require a comma.

I.E. Sutherland, R.F. Sproull, and R.A. Schumaker, "A Characterization of Ten Hidden-Surface Algorithms," ACM Computing Surveys, vol. 6, no. 1, 1974, pp. 1–55.


To cite the blog itself:

The Official Google Blog, Google; (Google is listed as the publisher here.)

M. Watson, Artificial Intelligence Blog;

Artificial Intelligence and Robots, blog; (no named author or publisher)

Entries in a blog:

M. Sahami, "About the Google Education Summit," blog, 26 Oct. 2007;

M. Watson, "Using the PowerLoom Reasoning System with JRuby," blog, 2 Oct. 2007;

"Reinforcement Learning Is Cool," blog; 24 Oct. 2007; (no named author)


W.M. Newman and R.F. Sproull, Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics, McGraw-Hill, 1979, p. 402.

M.A. Arbib, ed., The Handbook of Brain Theory and Neural Networks, MIT Press, 1998.

Book series

Y. Yao et al., "Web Intelligence (WI): Research Challenges and Trends in the New Information Age," Web Intelligence: Research and Development, LNAI 2198, N. Zhong et al., eds., Springer, 2001, pp. 1-17.

R. Focardi and R. Gorrieri, eds., Foundations of Security Analysis and Design, LNCS 2171, Springer, 2001.

Note: According to CMS 14.128, if the book can be located without it, the series title can be omitted to save space.


Place the term "CD-ROM" following the publication's title and preceding the publisher's name. Note: Some CD-ROMs will have page numbers.

The format for a book that is available on CD-ROM is:

W.M. Newman and R.F. Sproull, Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics, CD-ROM, McGraw-Hill, 1979.

When a proceedings is published on CD-ROM, follow the accepted format for a proceedings, but add CD-ROM:

William Song, "A Semantic Approach to Internal Structure Formation in the Semantic Grid," Proc. Third Int'l Conf. Semantics, Knowledge, and Grid (SKG 2007), CD-ROM, IEEE CS, 2007, pp. 248-253.

Dissertation or thesis

B. Fagin, "A Parallel Execution Model for Prolog," PhD dissertation, Dept. Computer Sciences, Univ. of California, Berkeley, 1987.

M. Nichols, "The Graphical Kernel System in Prolog," master's thesis, Dept. Computer Science and Eng., Rensselaer Polytechnic Inst., 1985.

Electronic publication


Note: If the volume/issue number, date, and page numbers are available, it is not necessary to include the DOI.

Article in a journal

D. Kornack and P. Rakic, "Cell Proliferation without Neurogenesis in Adult Primate Neocortex," Science; doi:10.1126/science.1065467.

Article in a conference proceedings

H. Goto, Y. Hasegawa, and M. Tanaka, "Efficient Scheduling Focusing on the Duality of MPL Representation," Proc. IEEE Symp. Computational Intelligence in Scheduling (SCIS 07), IEEE, 2007; doi:10.1109/SCIS.2007.367670.

Online-only publication

F. Kaplan, "From Baghdad to Manila: Another Lousy Analogy for the Occupation of Iraq," Slate, 21 Oct. 2003;


R. Bartle, "Early MUD History," Nov. 1990;

URL formatting and punctuation

Verify URLs by copying and pasting them into your browser. Some addresses don't start with http://—other protocols are also legitimate, for example, ftp:—and some addresses don't need or even won't work with www. Omit the http:// if the URL starts with www.

Be sure to include all punctuation exactly as supplied (hyphens and tildes, in particular, are very common in Web addresses).

If a URL must run across more than one line, follow these guidelines:

  • Break only after a forward slash or before a "dot" (period).
  • Do not split the double slash.
  • Do not introduce hyphens to break words (be very careful about this as Word may try to hyphenate automatically).
  • Separating the extension (for example, the html at the end) is discouraged.

Some URL examples using







Not acceptable:




Legal citations

Note: In text, italicize the names of court cases.

US Supreme Court decisions

  • Olmstead v. United States, US Reports, vol. 277, 1928, p. 438.
  • Olmstead v. United States, US Reports, vol. 277, 1928, p. 478 (Justice Brandeis, dissenting).

Lower-court decisions

  • US v. Councilman, Federal Supplement, 2nd Series, vol. 245, 2003 p. 321 (US District Court for the District of Mass.).
  • US v. Councilman, Federal Reporter, 3rd Series, vol. 373, 2004, p. 204 (US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit).

US laws

  • US Code, Title 18, section 3123(a)(1),(2), 2000 and 2002 Supplement.
  • Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, Public Law No. 107-56, section 209, US Statutes at Large, vol. 115, 2001, p. 285.
  • Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968, Public Law No. 90-351, sections 801-804, US Statutes at Large, vol. 82, pp. 211-223 (codified as amended in US Code, Title 18, sections 2510-2522, 2000 and 2002 Supplement).


J. Butler, "CASE Outlook," System Development Newsletter, Applied Computer Research, Phoenix, Ariz., Nov. 1987, p. 3.

Non-English source

Including original title

A.N. Zhirabok and A.E. Shumskii, Electronnoe Modelirovanie [Electronic Modeling], Energoatomizdat, Leningrad, 1984 (in Russian).

Original title unprintable

T. Nakayama et al., "NEC Corporation Develops 32-Bit RISC Microprocessor," Nikkei Electronics, vol. 6, no. 12, 1995, pp. 111-121 (in Japanese).


With information about patentee

M. Hoff, S. Mazor, and F. Faggin, Memory System for Multi-Chip Digital Computer, US patent 3,821,715, to Intel Corp., Patent and Trademark Office, 1974.

Without patentee information

Digital-to-Analog Converting Unit with Improved Linearity, US patent 5,162,800, Patent and Trademark Office, 1992.

Pending publication

For an article or paper, include the name of the publication and date if known:

R. Lee, "New-Media Processing," to be published in IEEE Micro, Nov./Dec. 2012.

For a book, include the publisher and year of publication:

R. Lee, Writing New Programs, McMillan, to be published in 2012.

Personal communication and unpublished materials

These are usually not referenced because they are not available to the reader. Authors who insist on attributing material obtained through personal communication should identify the source of the information in the main text (for example, As Maria Youngblood stated during a conference panel, ...).


J.M.P. Martinez et al., "Integrating Data Warehouses with Web Data: A Survey," IEEE Trans. Knowledge and Data Eng., preprint, 21 Dec. 2007, doi:10.1109/TKDE.2007.190746.

Special issue

Computing in Science & Eng., special issue on computing in optics, Nov./Dec. 2003;


Recommendation ITU-R BT.601, Encoding Parameters of Digital Television for Studios, Int'l Telecommunication Union, 1992.

IEEE Std. 1596-1992, Scalable Coherent Interface (SCI), IEEE, 1992.

IETF working draft

L. Martini et al., "Transport of Layer 2 Frames over MPLS," IETF Internet draft, work in progress, Feb. 2001.

Note: Per IETF guidelines, references to working drafts should not include URLs because they expire after six months; use "work in progress" instead.

Industry specification

C. Evans et al., Web Services Reliability (WS-Reliability), v. 1.0, joint specification by Fujitsu, NEC, Oracle, Sonic Software, and Sun Microsystems, Jan. 2003;

MPEG specification

MPEG-21 Overview, ISO/MPEG N5231, MPEG Requirements Group, Oct. 2002.


C. Perkins and E. Guttman, DHCP Options for Service Location Protocol, IETF RFC 2610, June 1999;

W3C note

D. Box et al., Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) 1.1, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) note, May 2000;

W3C recommendation

N. Mitra, SOAP v.1.2, Part 0: Primer, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) recommendation, June 2003;

Supplemental material

K. Xu et al., "Spherical Piecewise Constant Basis Functions for All-Frequency Precomputed Radiance Transfer," IEEE Trans. Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 14, no. 2, 2008, pp. 454–467, supplemental material;

Technical memo, technical report, technical or user manual

Include the department name for technical memos, technical reports, and other material that may not be indexed in a company-wide or university-wide library or by an abstracting service.

Technical memo

"Requirements for Software-Engineering Databases," tech. memo, Imperial Software Technology, London, 1983.

Technical report with report number

C. Hoffman and J. Hopcroft, Quadratic Blending Surfaces, tech. report TR-85-674, Computer Science Dept., Cornell Univ., 1985.

Technical report without report number

E. Yarwood, Toward Program Illustration, tech. report, Computer Systems Research Group, Univ. of Toronto, 1977.

Technical or user manual

The Unix System V Interface Definition, vol. 1, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J., 1991.

White paper

Consolidating the IT Infrastructure, white paper, Oracle Corp., Dec. 2003.


Avoid citing as a reference if a more standardized source is available.

General style

Author names

Use each author's initials and last name. Leave no space between initials, but do leave a space between the period following the last initial and the first letter of the last name: E.F. Codd. For hyphenated first names, use a period for each initial (for example, J.-L. Picard).

If an entry has more than three authors, use the first author's name and follow it with "et al.": T.G. Lewis et al.


Include just the year of publication for books. For periodicals, normally include the volume number, issue number, and year. However, for popular periodicals, include the month and year. If a periodical appears more frequently than monthly, include the date with the month: 15 Mar. 2000. If a periodical appears quarterly, use the season or issue number, depending on the periodical's usage. For periodicals that appear irregularly, do not use the month: vol. 16, no. 5, 1997.

Spell out May, June, and July; abbreviate the other months: Jan., Feb., Mar., Apr., Aug., Sept., Oct., Nov., and Dec. Use a slash for bimonthly issues (Aug./Sept. 2000) and an en dash for a quarterly (July–Sept. 2000). Capitalize the names of seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Electronic references

References to electronic repositories are acceptable in IEEE Computer Society publications, but they are not the references of choice for formal archival use. If possible, replace such references with references to printed material. However, when this is not possible, cite the electronic address along with as much additional information as possible. If the address itself becomes invalid in the future, the other information might help researchers find the same document elsewhere on the Internet. At the very least, a reference to an electronic source must include the Internet URL.

When citing an electronic reference simply to give the reader a place to go for more information, instead of including it in a formal reference list, noting it within parentheses in the running text is acceptable. Because such references break the flow of the text, use them sparingly and do not set them off in italic, boldface, or typewriter font. If an article includes many electronic references, consider placing them in a sidebar or a broken-out list.

When referring to various portions of a WWW page in text, use an initial cap for the designated item. Do not set it off with quotes, parentheses, or italics. Thus, a sample reference could be, The proper way to search the page is to click on the Go button, or The text can be found in the Publications section of the company's Web site.

When referring to hypertext links found on a Web page (the highlighted underlined words), put the entire text of the link in quotes. For example, Click on the "go here" link to reach the table.

When referring to URLs in a string of text, don't apply extra formatting.


Italicize names of books (including collections), magazines, journals, newsletters, technical reports, white papers, and manuals. Use quotation marks to enclose names of articles, papers, theses, dissertations, technical notes, and technical memos.

When listing conference abbreviations in a reference, use the conference abbreviation and the last two digits of the year: AAAI 07.

After the name of a book, thesis, proceedings, or other book-like material, list the publisher, year of publication, and inclusive page numbers if applicable. Delete terms such as Co., & Co., Ltd., S.A., Publisher, and Publishing Co.; retain Press. Where the publisher is a university, add its location if needed for clarity, for example, Miami Univ., Ohio.

Do not include the editor's name for a conference proceedings unless it is an edited volume published as a book.

References for proceedings should tell where an interested reader can find the source, not where the conference took place. If a proceedings did not use a traditional publisher, provide the sponsoring organization and its location.

Use an en dash to indicate multiple issue numbers, for example, vol. 5, nos. 1–4. If the name of a column is cited in the reference, use initial caps without quotation marks, for example, Embedded Computing.


Capitalize the first and last words, and all nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs, and subordinating conjunctions. Lowercase articles, coordinating conjunctions, and prepositions, regardless of length. Example: Toward Better Real-Time Programming through Dataflow.

To make a source easy for researchers to find, use the title as it originally appears. Do not add or remove hyphens, change words to preferred spellings, or lowercase internal capitals.

For foreign-language references, provide the original title first, followed by its English translation (if available) in brackets: Zur experimentalen Aesthetic [Toward an Experimental Aesthetic].

For a complete treatment of titles, see CMS 8.154-8.195.

Abbreviations in references

Use the following abbreviations in the titles of periodicals and when naming publishing institutions:










Communications (of)


Conference (on)


Computer Society


Department (of)


edition, editor












Journal (of)


Laboratory (Laboratories)


Mathematics, Mathematical








Proceedings (of)








Symposium (of or on)


Transactions (on)





Use "Comm." (for Communications) when the term refers to the type of periodical (and is part of the periodical's name), not when it refers to the topic of communications.

Use "Eng." (for Engineering) in the titles of periodicals and conference proceedings and in the names of professional organizations, not in article or book titles.

Drop the "on" from "Workshop on" constructions. When abbreviating institution names, drop "of" except in "University of" constructions—for example, Inst. Systems Research, Univ. of Wisconsin.