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My girlfriend was advised to use Ibid in her assignment's citations to help reduce the word count (I pointed out that references are usually not part of the count, but regardless); but she couldn't grasp the concept or why Ibid would be used.

I explained that it would typically be used when writing footnotes1 and that 
the material you were referencing2 is the same, and used in more than one place3.

^1: Anon, Lorem Ipsum (SE Publishing, 1999), p23
^2: Ibid.
^3: Ibid., p30

My argument was that you would save redundancy, by not having to write out the author name/title again, as well as provide a logical way of keeping footnotes numbered (1,2,3..) rather than (1,1,1,2) if the same work was cited more than once.

Is my understanding correct? Could anyone clarify and explain it in a better way?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You are right. "ibid" is short for "ibidem", meaning "in the same place". It is used to not repeat the same title again and again.

Also have a look at this question:
Vancouver system, citing multiple sentences from the same book

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thank you for confirming; and the link. –  Dave Nov 21 '11 at 22:02

Be careful, though. "ibid" is considered, at least in some circles, to be old-fashioned, even archaic. What citation style is your girlfriend using?

ETA: Unless someone in authority advised her to use it, I don't think she should. You're using it as correctly as possible, but it's still not likely to be a popular choice in this day and age.

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This sounds more like a comment, Kate. I almost flagged it before I saw that it was you. Could you elaborate the alternatives to make it an answer? (To your concern: I have linked to the Vancouver question exactly for the same reason. On the other hand he said she was advised to do it.) –  John Smithers Nov 21 '11 at 22:44
Not long ago, at least in my main discipline (music), Ibid. was not only in use, but required in situations where it could be used. I recall Idem. being out of favor and not to be used at all. The style is basically Turabian/Chicago. I don't have my manual handy, but do you have a source? –  Andrew Nov 26 '11 at 3:23
I don't know Chicago all that well, so maybe ibid survives there. I was thinking of MLA and APA. In terms of a source - it's a bit tricky, because there's more of an absence of mentions, rather than a specific ban. They both use in-text citations, which are already largely abbreviated, so I guess maybe they just don't see the need to go that little bit shorter? –  Kate Sherwood Nov 26 '11 at 7:05

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