Louise is an undergraduate student in economics and management. At the end of the school year, she must submit a report to one of her teachers in order to graduate. While rereading her bibliography, Louise realises that she forgot to reference the anonymous sources she used when writing her report. As a result, Louise questions whether she needs to cite these anonymous sources and how she might do so if necessary.



  1. What is an anonymous source?
  2. Why do some authors choose to remain anonymous?
  3. Why reference sources without an author?
  4. How do I cite anonymous sources?


1. What is an anonymous source?

According to the National Centre for Textual and Lexical Resources, "A source is anonymous if the author's name is unknown." As such, the origin of the source cannot be identified.

On its "Anonymous Books" page, Espace Français quotes Antoine-Alexandre Barbier and adds that "books that lack an editor's name and translations whose translator is unknown should also be considered anonymous works".


Nevertheless, an anonymous source is just as important as a known source. A referencing methodology must be respected when citing an anonymous source.


"For a colander, having holes is not a defect." Anonymous.

"If failure teaches you something, you're not a loser." Anonymous.

Quotations from the website West France on the Quote of the Day page.

plagiarism sources

2. Why do some authors choose to remain anonymous?

A writer is free to disclose their identity or not. There are several reasons why authors may remain anonymous.

For example, a writer may decide not to reveal their name in order to demonstrate humility towards other authors. They may also keep their name secret to avoid judgment from readers or to maintain some distance. And finally, anonymity is sometimes a strategy for an author to arouse readers' curiosity to wonder who is behind the name Anonymous.

However, an anonymous author is often perceived in the same way as a publicly recognised author. Indeed, the reader will judge the words themselves and not always the one who wrote them.


"The ideal reader reads all literature as if it were anonymous." Alberto Manguel.

3.Why reference sources without an author?

It is essential to cite authors in a research assignment, so as not to be accused of plagiarism. For this reason, a student attests to their integrity and quality of work by citing all their sources. In addition, citing anonymous sources promotes original work and contributes to research.

reference source
Why is plagiarism prohibited?

4. How do I cite anonymous sources?

When the author is known (an identified source), you should put the quotation in quotation marks and follow the citation standard and bibliography format chosen or required by the school.


"Better to lose your watch than waste your time" Jean Brassard

Quotation from the website West France on the Quote of the Day page.


When the author is unknown (an anonymous source), you should do the same thing and replace the author's name with "anonymous". By following this approach, there is no risk of making mistakes in referencing sources for your research and writing assignments.


Quotation from the website West France on the Quote of the Day page.


how cite sources
Quotation rules to avoid plagiarism

Known or unknown authors must appear in the body of the text and in the bibliography of Louise's research paper. She must not lose sight of the fact that plagiarism is forbidden and punishable. Finally, citing your sources, whether from a known author or anonymous, must be a habit for everyone. This reflects respectful and honest behaviour towards the work of others.

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