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Footnotes and other references

V.   Repeated references

     A.   Repeated footnote indicators
     B.   Use of ibid.
     C.   Shortened references
     D.   Repeated footnotes in tables and figures

A reference is given the first time a source or item (e.g. a report, convention or plan of action) is mentioned in the text. In resolutions, a reference is given the first time an item is mentioned in the preamble and the first time it is mentioned in the operative part. Once a reference had been given, it is repeated only when necessary for the sake of clarity or to change a specific element in the reference, such as a section or paragraph number.      


A.   Repeated footnote indicators

When a reference must be repeated, in certain cases the footnote indicator can be repeated in the text without repeating the footnote itself. A numbered footnote indicator can be repeated throughout a resolution or an entire section or set of resolutions as necessary. In documents and publications, normally a footnote indicator can be repeated if it falls within six double-spaced pages of the first reference; otherwise, a shortened reference can be given in a new footnote.

In the following example, the footnote indicators are repeated in the text to identify documents that were cited in full earlier in the resolution. The footnotes themselves are not repeated.


The General Assembly,
. . .

          1. Takes note of the reports of the Secretary-General,1,2,3 the reports of the Office of Internal Oversight Services5,7 and the notes by the Secretary-General;6,8

Repeated footnotes indicated by asterisks and other symbols. When asterisks and other symbols are used as footnote indicators in a list or table of contents, the same symbol can be repeated as necessary when the footnote applies to more than one item. The footnote itself need not be repeated.

B.   Use of ibid.

“Ibid.” (the abbreviation for “ibidem”, meaning “in the same place”) refers to the work cited in the preceding footnote or to the preceding work within the same footnote. The term should not be used when the preceding footnote includes more than one source.

“Ibid.” is used when it is not possible to repeat footnote indicators (e.g. in documents and publications when the repeated reference is more than six double-spaced pages away from the first reference) and to replace those elements that are identical in the preceding footnote or the preceding work within the same footnote. It is never used solely to replace the name of an author. When different works by the same author are cited in consecutive footnotes, the author’s name is repeated in full each time.


1 United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973.

2 Ibid., vol. 2187, No. 38544.

3 Official Records of the General Assembly, Fifty-eighth Session, Supplement No. 20 (A/58/20), para. 239; and ibid., Sixty-first Session, Supplement No. 20 (A/61/20), paras. 245 and 260.

4 Paul Kennedy, The Parliament of Man: The Past, Present, and Future of the United Nations ( New York, Random House, 2006).

5 Paul Kennedy, Preparing for the Twenty-first Century (New York, Random House, 1993).

6 Ibid.

“Ibid.” may be used to replace document symbols in text notes when the document symbol is repeated within six double-spaced pages and no other references intervene.


1. The establishment of one P-5 post for the Conventional Arms Branch is proposed under subprogramme 3 (A/60/6 (Sect. 4), para. 4.35).

. . .

4. One General Service post is proposed for abolition under subprogramme 1 in the Conference on Disarmament secretariat and Conference Support Branch in Geneva (ibid., para. 4.26).

C.   Shortened references

In documents and publications, once a reference has been given in full, a shortened form can be used when the same source is cited again in non-consecutive footnotes. The abbreviations “op. cit.” and “loc. cit.” are not used.

The shortened reference should include:

  1. Author’s last name
  2. Shortened version of title

When the footnotes are widely separated, a cross reference to the original footnote should also be included.


3 Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, “Population ageing in developed and developing regions: implications for health policy”, Social Science and Medicine, vol. 51, No. 6 (15 September 2000).

. . .

18 Lloyd-Sherlock, “Population ageing” (see chap. II, footnote 3).

For works without an author, the shortened title alone is sufficient.


10 Handbook on Geographic Information Systems and Digital Mapping (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.00.XVII.12).

. . .

14 Handbook on Geographic Information Systems.

D.   Repeated footnotes in tables and figures

Source notes. In tables and figures, references to sources are normally given in full (see Tables/Notes to tables). When the same general source is used repeatedly for a series of tables, a shortened reference and a cross reference to the first table containing the full reference can be given in the source note. “Ibid.” should not be used to refer to a source in a previous table.


Source: World Economic and Social Survey 2006 (see table 1).

Footnotes within tables and figures. Footnote indicators are repeated within a given table or figure after every item to which the footnote applies (see Tables/Notes to tables). Lower-case letters are normally used as footnote indicators (see Footnote indicators/Footnotes indicated by lower-case letters).



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