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Electronic Legal Deposit: Citing pages

for readers and reading room staff

Purpose of this guide


This guide is intended for students and researchers at the University of Oxford, or those visiting, who seek support in using the Bodleian Libraries’ electronic Legal Deposit special collection.

Use this guide to find out about electronic Legal Deposit, what is available and how to access this special collection.

Please note that electronic Legal Deposit is not the same as commercially available digital material. All the Legal Deposit Libraries are bound by the same UK legislation that restricts access to this material.


Citing e-Legal Deposit (eLD) material which lacks page numbers

 This guide is intended to provide assistance to staff who may have citation enquiries from readers faced with NPLD ebooks which lack page numbers. It is not intended to take precedence over any guidance provided by academic tutors / supervisors who may have a recommended style they want people to follow.

Why do we need this? 

Citation styles in printed publications normally use page numbers to direct readers to a section of text. All subscription ebook packages purchased by the Bodleian Libraries currently provide pagination matching the printed book in PDF format. However, many of the NPLD ebooks are coming through without page numbering in EPUB format accessed via Calibre software. This requires a new method for citation.

Citing NPLD EPUB eBooks

The recommendation is to use chapter and paragraph to create the reference, e.g.:

In some cases the chapter and paragraph may be easy to identify, e.g.:


The menu to below has a Table of Contents icon which can aid identification of the chapter within the ebook. The paragraph number can be counted on the screen (This is easier in some cases than others!)


In Calibre software, with the Reference mode on, when the user hovers over a paragraph the software provides a chapter and paragraph number which initially seems very simple - but note that these may need to be adjusted!


Using the same example as above one gets chapter 11, paragraph 4:

The 11 refers to a section of the book, which may include cover, title, contents, introduction etc before the chapters start. Similarly, everything except headings is classed as a paragraph, so in this example that includes the initial quote and then the reference, so the second paragraph is actually referred to as paragraph 4. Consequently the paragraph identified as 11.4 is actually chapter 5, paragraph 2.

 Finding text in an NPLD EPUB ebook from a citation that refers to pages in the printed book

If an exact quotation is provided, e.g.:

… originally described as ‘the way to the north’ (Oliver, 2013, p. 118)

it can be searched for in the book using the search function at the top right of the screen:

If writing this citation initially from the NPLD ebook it would be written like this:

Some quotations, however, are paraphrased in the text, e.g.:

Two days after Canute died Gorm also died and Harald became King

(Oliver, 2013, p 223).

In this case the exact phrase used is not in the text of the ebook anywhere, so it may be difficult to search for it. Check the index (if present) at the back of the ebook as this may provide assistance. If you are unable to find the citation in the ebook you may need to use a printed copy. Alternatively check if Google or Amazon have a copy of the book with a table of contents and see what chapter that page is in.

Taking the example above and using a table of contents from Amazon, we can see that page 223 is near the beginning of chapter nine. So we would look at the start of chapter 9 in the ebook to find the corresponding text.