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I was thinking and researching about the use of Ibid in footnotes/endnotes etc. and found the following example in Wikipedia:

[1] E. Vijh, Latin for Dummies (New York: Academic, 1997), p. 23
[2] Ibid.
[3] Ibid., p. 29.
[4] Al Azif, The Necronomicon (Petrus de Dacia, 1994).
[5] Ibid. 1, at 34

What would one do if there were multiple books of the same title (and no author is mentioned)? For example,

[1] Interesting Book, p. 4
[2] Interesting Book, p. 4
[3] Ibid., at 5

What would happen if this occurred over multiple chapters? (Given that footnote numbers reset at the beginning of each chapter.) What would differentiate the chapters? For example,

Ch. 1

[1] Interesting Book, p. 3

Ch. 2

[1] Interesting Book, p. 3 Note: This is a different book
[2] Even More Interesting Book
[3] Ibid. 1, at 4

Even worse, I was wondering what would occur if there were multiple books titled “Ibid” (where there was no author)? For example,

[1] Ibid, p. 3
[2] Ibid., p. 4
[3] Ibid, p. 5

How would one potentially clarify this? Just given the above example, it would be impossible to know which one would be a new one.

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Please, don't use ibid - it's sheer laziness and makes the reader do your work. Introduce a 'short title' at the first reference, and use that subsequently. You may then distinguish books of the same title with different short titles. In any case, all this is subject to the conventions imposed by your specific publisher or discipline, and is thus beyond the scope of ELU to answer; for that reason I am voting to close it as Off Topic. –  StoneyB Nov 30 '12 at 14:18
    
First, mentioning authors is standard practice; that gets around your first conundrum. In your even more preposterous case (a book entitled "Ibid" with no author), you wouldn't italicize "Ibid" nor put a period after it. You'd say [1] Ibid p. 3 and [2] Ibid. p. 4. But I'm afraid these scenarios seem more like inane cases than practical, real-world problems, so I concur with the vote to close. –  J.R. Nov 30 '12 at 15:55
    
@StoneyB: I don't understand your point about using Ibidem: the reader needs to do less work, because he only needs to read one word instead of several. This is how it's done conventionally, and I personally find it convenient, provided that it be used correctly, of course. –  Cerberus Dec 1 '12 at 5:47
    
@Cerberus If the reference is on the same page, or the same spread, bare ibid is acceptable; but often it's not; the reader has to page back to find the last reference. And very often you get "Jones, ibid, 234", and the reader must scan many preceding notes to find the last work by Jones cited. Ibid and op cit and the latterday inline citations are devices to save the writer trouble and the publisher cost at the reader's expense. –  StoneyB Dec 1 '12 at 12:34
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@StoneyB: Oh, that is totally unacceptable! Ibidem can only be used to refer to a work physically next to (and preceding) it. Referring to the previous page or to a couple of notes back on the same page is unacceptable. One can only add in Ibidems after the lay-out of your book/article has been finalised (if added by hand). I was also taught that "Jones, ibid., 234" is bad practice. Lastly, I often see "Jones (1921), 234", which I think is annoying, because a year is too meaningless, does not serve to identify the work: one should use short titles there ("Jones, Ostracised, 243"). –  Cerberus Dec 1 '12 at 14:20

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Ibidem is only used immediately beneath or next to what it is repeating, so there can never be any doubt as to which work it refers to. With that respect I see no problematic ibidem in your examples. If there could possibly be any doubt, do not use ibidem.

If there are two works whose titles are too similar, you must always add the author when referring to either work.

If a book should be titled Ibid. or Ibidem, which may perhaps exist, you would simply add the name of the author. If there is no author, either use [anonymous] or a description of the context in which the work was conceived, like The Priapic Society of Berlin. If two anonymous works titled Ibidem should exist, add the date, place, or editor to distinguish between them. If two works with the same title should appear on the same day with the same editor, use a distinctive phrase from the first page as a subtitle, as in Papal bulls (like In Nomine Domini from 1059) or psalms. If the contents of the two works should be wholly identical, it doesn't matter which one you refer to.

I hope you will be able to sleep tonight with this advice.

[Edit:] Note that ibidem ought to be used only to refer to a work physically next to (and preceding) it. Referring to a work mentioned on the previous page or to a couple of notes back on the same page is unacceptable. One can only add in Ibidems after the lay-out of your book/article has been finalised (if added by hand). I was also taught that "Jones, ibid., 234" is bad practice. Lastly, I often see "Jones (1921), 234", which I think is annoying, because a year is too meaningless and does not serve to identify the work: one should use short titles there ("Jones, Ostracised, 243").

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Are you sure you have read the basic definition properly? Ibid (from the Latin for 'the same') is just a way to avoid repeating titles again and again. So footnote 1 quoting Ibid is simply a mistake (unless some playful author entitled his work "Ibid; or, More of the Same", in which case no sensible writer would quote it).

If note 1 quotes Interesting Book, p.4 and note 2 Ibid., p.5, then the quotation can be found on page 5 of Interesting Book. If note 3 is simply Ibid, then that quotation is also on page 5. Any books cited in previous notes (whether the same chapter or not) have nothing to do with it.

The abbreviation is also used for authors: a bibliography may read

Interesting Book, J Smith

Dull Book, ibid.

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