How to Cite a Standard in Harvard Referencing
  • 3-minute read
  • 28th August 2021

How to Cite a Standard in Harvard Referencing

National and international standards provide essential guidelines for many different industries and methods. But how do you cite a standard when using the Harvard referencing style in your document? In this article, we outline the basics.

Citing a Standard in Harvard Referencing

Harvard referencing uses an author–date citation style. Typically, then, citing a source means giving the author’s surname and date of publication. But since technical standards don’t have an author in the same way as a book or article might, you will instead need to cite the organisation that developed the standard.

Because organisation names are often quite long, though, you may need to abbreviate the full name. In the example below, for instance, we have abbreviated the name ‘International Organization for Standardization’ to just ‘ISO’:

One key standard for IT security is ISO/IEC 27014:2020 (ISO, 2020).

The only thing to keep in mind here is that, if you do abbreviate the organisation name when citing a standard, you will need to include the abbreviation in the reference list entry. We’ll look at how to reference technical standards next.

Adding a Standard to a Harvard Reference List

If you cite a standard while using the Harvard referencing style, you must also add the source to a reference list. The format for this is as follows:

Full Name of Publishing Organisation [Abbreviation if Required] (year) Number and Title of Standard, Place of publication (if known), Publisher Name.

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And for standards accessed online, you can add ‘[Online]’, a URL and a date of access at the end of the reference, as shown below:

Full Name of Publishing Organisation [Abbreviation if Required] (year) Number and Title of Standard, Place of publication (if known), Publisher Name [Online]. Available at URL (Date of Access).

Note that we include the full name of the publishing organisation here as well as the abbreviation. This is so the reader has both the full name of the group that developed the standard and the abbreviation used in the citations.

Following this format, you can see some example references for standards below:

International Organization for Standardization [ISO] (2007) ISO/IEC 27006:2007 Information Technology — Security Techniques — Requirements for Bodies Providing Audit and Certification of Information Security Management Systems, ISO.

International Organization for Standardization [ISO] (2018) ISO/IEC 27014:2020 Information Security, Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection — Governance of Information Security, ISO [Online]. Available at (Accessed 23 July 2021).

Harvard Variations and Proofreading

Hopefully, this article has provided a clear guide on how to format standards using Harvard referencing. It is important to note, however, that Harvard referencing is not a system but rather a style. Therefore, it is a good idea to check your style guide if you have one, as formats can differ slightly from university to university.

And if you’d like an expert to check your referencing, our editors are available 24/7.

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