Editorial Manual | Footnotes and other references

V.   Repeated references

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

A reference is given the first time that a source or item is mentioned in the text. In resolutions, a reference is given once only, the first time that an item is mentioned, whether in the preamble or in the operative part. Once a reference has 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 references

In a change from past practice, numbered footnote indicators are no longer repeated in resolutions. When a reference must be repeated, a new footnote with the identical text should be inserted.


          The General Assembly,

           . . .

          Having considered the reports of the Secretary-General,1,2 the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services3 and the note by the Secretary-General,4

          . . .           

          1. Takes note of the reports of the Secretary-General, the report of the Office of Internal Oversight Services and the note by the Secretary-General;

          2. Approves the measures outlined in the report of the Secretary-General;5

          1 A/74/89.

          2 A/74/112.

          3 A/74/244.

          4 A/74/341.

          5 A/74/112.

Repeated footnote indicators may be used in explanatory footnotes. This is the practice, for example, in the preliminary list of items for inclusion in the agenda of the General Assembly, the provisional agenda and the draft agenda (see e.g. A/BUR/72/1, para. 88), where the same explanatory footnote applies to several items:

16. The role of the United Nations in promoting a new global human order.8

8 This item, which has not yet been considered by the General Assembly at its seventy-first session, remains on the agenda of that session. Its inclusion in the provisional agenda of the seventy-second session is subject to any action the Assembly may take on it at its seventy-first session.

. . .

36. Protracted conflicts in the GUAM area and their implications for international peace, security and development.8

* * *

4. Election of the President of the General Assembly [P.4].9

5. Election of the officers of the Main Committees [P.5].9

6. Election of the Vice-Presidents of the General Assembly [P.6].9

In accordance with rule 30 of the rules of procedure, the General Assembly will hold these elections for its seventy-second session at least three months before the opening of that session.

In documents and publications, it is preferable to avoid repeated indicators and to use a shortened version of the original reference in a new footnote (see Shortened references below).

Repeated footnotes indicated by asterisks and other symbolsWhen 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 repeat footnote indicators are not used 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).

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 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 abolishment 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, or, in the case of an organization as author, acronym
  2. Shortened version of title

When the footnotes are widely separated, a cross reference to the original footnote may 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).

19 World Health Organization (WHO), WHO Recommendations: Intrapartum Care for a Positive Childbirth Experience (Geneva, 2018).

. . .

25 WHO, WHO Recommendations: Intrapartum Care for a Positive Childbirth Experience.

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


10 Handbook on Geographic Information Systems and Digital Mapping (United Nations publication, 2000).

. . .

14 Handbook on Geographic Information Systems.


D.   Repeated footnotes in tables and figures

Source notesIn 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.


SourceWorld Economic and Social Survey 2006 (see table 1).

Footnotes within tables and figuresFootnote 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).