Element Citation

A bibliographic description of a work (such as a journal article, book, or personal communication), typically a work that is cited in the text.

This element is composed of bibliographic descriptive elements (such as <article-title> and <fpage>) in any order, repeated as needed, with no untagged text portions and all the punctuation and spacing between elements removed.


For a detailed discussion on the use of <element-citation>, see Tagging Bibliographic References.

This element is intended for capturing a publisher’s specific element order; therefore, it does not enforce a particular element order on its own.

Best Practice: Although this Tag Set does not enforce it, best practice is to tag as many of the following elements as possible within an <element-citation> to a journal article or a book, so that PubMed Central, CrossRef, or other matching service can make the journal citation into a live link.


The title of the journal in which the cited article was published. (For journal titles, publishers and archives typically establish authority lists, for example, in PubMed Central processing, the journal title source is usually the NLM title abbreviation of the journal name <source>Physiol Rev</source>.) For book citations, this is the title of the book: <source>Moby Dick</source>.


Title of the article (Use the <source> element for titles of books, reports, conference proceedings, etc.)


Number of the applicable volume of the journal


Issue number of the applicable issue


Page number on which the article starts


Surname (familial name) of an author or editor (This element is used inside a <name> element or <string-name> element which is repeated when multiple authors must be listed.)


The year of publication


The month of publication (if present)


The day of month of publication (if present)

The other elements may be tagged if desired.

Linking Note: In order to make citations into live links, as much of the author and date information as is available should be preserved, even if it not possible to tag all the elements just named. The most important date tag is <year>, and it should always be tagged if possible, for example, <year>2008</year>. The <day> and <month> tags are used more rarely; they are provided because some of the citation matching services can use the month and day information if it is available.

Attribute. The @publication-type attribute should normally be used to distinguish between journal articles, books, reviews, personal communications, and so on.

Conversion Note: This element is one of the elements that replaces the citation element of versions prior to 3.0.


id Identifier
publication-format Publication Format
publication-type Type of Publication
publisher-type Type of Publisher
xlink:actuate Actuating the Link
xlink:href Href (Linking Mechanism)
xlink:role Role of the Link
xlink:show Showing the Link
xlink:title Title of the Link
xlink:type Type of Link
xmlns:xlink XLink Namespace Declaration

Related Elements

This <element-citation> element contains the bibliographic description of a work; the pointer to that description uses the <xref> element. These two elements are sometimes confused because in common language both may be called “citations”.

There are three kinds of citations in this Tag Set:

Content Model

<!ELEMENT  element-citation
                        (%citation-elements;)+                       >

Expanded Content Model

(bold | italic | monospace | overline | roman | sans-serif | sc | strike | underline | alternatives | inline-graphic | private-char | chem-struct | inline-formula | label | abbrev | milestone-end | milestone-start | named-content | styled-content | annotation | article-title | chapter-title | collab | comment | conf-date | conf-loc | conf-name | conf-sponsor | date | date-in-citation | day | edition | email | elocation-id | etal | ext-link | fpage | gov | institution | isbn | issn | issue | issue-id | issue-part | issue-title | lpage | month | name | object-id | page-range | part-title | patent | person-group | pub-id | publisher-loc | publisher-name | role | season | series | size | source | std | string-name | supplement | trans-source | trans-title | uri | volume | volume-id | volume-series | year | sub | sup)+


One or more of any of:

This element may be contained in:

<license-p>, <p>, <ref>, <td>, <th>, <title>

Example 1

<element-citation publication-type="journal" publication-format="print">
<name><surname>Llanos De La Torre Quiralte</surname>
<name><surname>Garijo Ayestaran</surname>
<name><surname>Poch Olive</surname>
<article-title xml:lang="es">Evolucion de la mortalidad
infantil de La Rioja (1980-1998)</article-title>
<trans-title xml:lang="en">Evolution of the infant
mortality rate in la Rioja in Spain 
<source>An Esp Pediatr</source>
<comment>Figura 3, Tendencia de mortalidad infantil
[Figure 3, Trends in infant mortality]; p. 418.

Example 2

<element-citation publication-type="book" publication-format="print">
<chapter-title>Tobacco use</chapter-title>
<person-group person-group-type="editor">
<source>Clinical methods: the history, physical,
and laboratory examinations</source>
<publisher-loc>Stoneham (MA)</publisher-loc>
<publisher-name>Butterworth Publishers</publisher-name>
<year content-type="copyright-year">1990</year>