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A quote ( which , latin citatum to lat "cited, Called". Citare "set in motion, summon," see. "Someone in court cite ") is a verbatim or in substance by passage from a text or a reference to a particular passage . Content from other media can also be adopted: there are picture , music and film quotes .

Well-known literal quotations are often used as a winged word . For example, many passages of text from the Bible are so firmly anchored in common language that they are hardly perceived as quotations. In the case of political disputes, too, one speaks of quotes when one refers to the statements of others. In journalism , a quote that is used directly is also referred to as the original sound ( original sound).

As a rule, a quotation is supported by a reference to the source or a bibliography , in which the author and the exact text passage are named. Such a reference is called a citation in library science . Citations can also appear without an accompanying quote. Quotations whose original context is lost and can no longer be reconstructed become fragments .

Quotes and copyright

The use of quotations is regulated by copyright law and permitted under certain conditions without the author's permission or remuneration having to be paid ( Section 51 UrhG in Germany, see below). The general justification for this is that quotations serve the cultural and scientific development of a society (see also freedom of information ). Quotations represent a sub-case of the copyright barriers .

Citations are to be provided with references to the literature (requirement to cite the source in Section 63 of the German Copyright Act in the sense of a precise indication of the source). The right to quote may only be claimed by works which themselves enjoy copyright protection, i.e. have their own " height of creation ". Accordingly, collections of quotations that exclusively reproduce third-party services may not invoke the right to quotation. The (economic) interests of the author or rights holder of the quoted work must not be unduly restricted by a quotation.

Quotations are prohibited from changing , but abbreviations are permitted if they do not distort the meaning.

A distinction is made between:

Capital quotes
are only permitted in academic papers. The prerequisite for a large quotation is that it has already been published.
Small quotes
may be used more extensively. The purpose of the citation must be clear. The quote must therefore be in some way related to one's own performance, for example as a basis for discussion. The scope of the quote must be appropriate to the purpose.
Image quotes
are the most difficult to handle legally. Image quotations are on the one hand justified as large quotations (in the scientific field), but on the other hand, according to prevailing teaching, they can also be used as “large small quotations”.
Movie quotes
are viewed as a special form of picture quotations. However, it is not uncommon in the film industry, for example, to produce parodies of entire films that are viewed and accepted as works of art in their own right , even if the parodied original (necessarily in this art form) is clearly recognizable.


According to German copyright law , § 51 UrhG applies to citations (as of March 1, 2018):

“Duplication, distribution and public reproduction of a published work for the purpose of quoting is permitted, provided that the scope of use is justified by the particular purpose. This is particularly permissible if

  1. individual works are included in an independent scientific work after publication to explain the content,
  2. Positions of a work are listed in a separate language work after publication,
  3. individual passages of a published work of music are cited in an independent work of music.

The right to cite according to sentences 1 and 2 includes the use of an image or other reproduction of the quoted work, even if it is itself protected by copyright or a related right. "

- § 51 UrhG

The so-called "quotation privilege" is derived from this, which makes use of the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of ideology, art, opinion, information, press and academic freedom ( Art. 4 and Art. 5 GG).


Art. 25 quotations from the Copyright Act (URG) reads:

«¹ Published works may be quoted if the quotation serves for explanation, reference or illustration and the scope of the quotation is justified by this purpose.
² The quotation as such and the source must be identified. If the source refers to the authorship, this must also be indicated. "

- Art. 25 CopA

If the purpose of the quotation justifies it, a quotation may also include an entire work (e.g. a poem). In the case of language works, the content of the quoting text must be related to the quoted work.

«This contextual reference also determines the permissible scope of the quotation. If it is missing, the inclusion of the quoted work in the quoting text cannot be justified by the right to quote. The purpose and scope of the quotation are related to one another in such a way that the quotation cannot claim an independent meaning or even the main meaning compared to the quoting text ([...]). »

A legal dispute between the historian Georg Kreis and the newspaper Schweizerzeit was of importance for the interpretation of this provision . The Swiss time printed on 26 July 2002 a previously Tages-Anzeiger published contribution of the Zurich politician Christoph Mörgeli and the few days after the contribution of Mörgeli also in the Tages-Anzeiger published reply by circuit together with a "final comment" the publicist Eduard Stäuble from. Georg Kreis had not given permission for the article to be printed. The higher court of the canton of Zurich dismissed Kreis's action on September 9, 2004 on the grounds that the reproduction of his article was justified by the right to quote according to Art. 25 CopA. The Federal Supreme Court, on the other hand, approved Georg Kreis' appeal by decision of June 22, 2005 and found that his copyrights had been infringed by the publication during the Swiss period. In addition to a box from the editorial team, Stäuble's text, in which reference is made to Kreis's article, does not justify a quotation from the full article.

“In contrast to the editorial text in the 'box', Eduard Stäuble's text does indeed deal with the content of the plaintiff's article. The reference is limited to individual parts of the article. "

- Swiss Federal Supreme Court

The Federal Supreme Court also held that "under the aspect of freedom of expression and the freedom of the media, there was no need to print the plaintiff's article verbatim and in full." It rejected the opinion of the Zurich Higher Court, which derived the right to complete printing from freedom of the media and freedom of expression and information within the meaning of Art. 16 and Art. 17 of the Federal Constitution :

“Finally, the view of the higher court is also to be rejected in principle, because this results in a restriction of the copyright usage rights, which is not provided for in the Copyright Act. It would mean that those involved in the public political struggle for opinion would have to tolerate the use of their copyrighted language works by third parties without further ado. Such a regulation, as provided in German and Austrian copyright law under restrictive conditions in the form of a statutory license , is missing in Swiss law and cannot simply be introduced by a court with reference to the constitutional fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the media ([...] ). »

- Swiss Federal Supreme Court


Section 42f UrhG regulates the right to quote. Image quotations are not included in the wording, but were considered permissible by the case law.

“(1) For the purpose of quoting, a published work may be copied, distributed, broadcast by radio, made available to the public and used for public lectures, performances and demonstrations, provided that the extent of use is justified by the particular purpose. This is particularly permissible if

  1. individual works are included in a main scientific work after their publication; a work of the type specified in § 2 no. 3 or a work of the visual arts may only be included to explain the content;
  2. published works of the fine arts are presented to the public in a scientific or instructive lecture that focuses on the main subject merely to explain the content and the necessary copies are made;
  3. individual passages of a published language work are cited in a separate new work;
  4. individual passages of a published work of musical art are cited in a literary work;
  5. individual passages of a published work can be cited in an independent new work. "
- Section 42f para. 1 UrhG


The template for the reception of the Liechtenstein copyright law was the Swiss copyright law.

Art. 27 quotations from the Liechtenstein Copyright Act reads:

«1) Published works may be quoted if the quotation serves for explanation, reference or illustration and the scope of the quotation is justified by this purpose.
2) The quote as such and the source must be identified. If the source refers to the authorship, this must also be indicated. "

- Art. 27 CopA

There is not yet any significant case law by Liechtenstein courts on this provision .


In the public debate, statements by politicians or other public figures are often used in order to reject them or to support their own views. The author cannot defend himself against true quotations. Nobody needs to put up with the fact that false quotations are slipped on them or that quotations are falsified by omissions, for example. Such manipulations violate personal rights . As the Berlin Regional Court underlined in a legal dispute between Federal Environment Minister Jürgen Trittin and the Bild-Zeitung , strict requirements must be placed on the reproduction of verbatim quotations.


Quotes have their greatest importance in science. Scientists are always dependent on using the work of other people so that unnecessary repetitions of an experiment can be avoided and so that the origin and development of arguments can be understood.

Scientists work on the shoulders of a giant , so to speak (i.e. on the experience of their many predecessors): For example, in the introductory text of a dissertation , quotations are used to indicate which aspects of the topic are already known and which gaps in knowledge still exist. The same applies to articles in scientific articles and other scientific texts. Often there is a section or chapter called the state of research .

In science, it is assumed that a researcher is familiar with the literature on his subject and has dealt with previous findings ( autopsy principle ). If you take over something from another author, you have to make the source and, if necessary, the type of takeover clear, otherwise you expose yourself to the charge of plagiarism (see also Fraud and Forgery in Science ). Quoting and citing the source have the following meaning:

  • Scientific work is work in a scientific community; work that has already been done should not be unnecessarily repeated.
  • Scientific work must be verifiable, so it must be specified exactly what one is referring to.
  • Scientific work must be recognized. Taking over knowledge without mentioning the author used is mental theft; it is immoral and can have social and legal consequences.

You learn how to use quotations correctly during your studies. Mastering this is particularly important for term papers and theses such as the bachelor's or master's thesis . To learn these techniques, universities often offer tutorials or courses.

Law quotes

Legal quotations are used in jurisprudence and case law as a source of law to clarify a certain legal question or as a reference to an existing legal provision . That is one of the reasons for existing legal norms , namely to be quoted in everyday life. Also in the law, case law and legal literature are statements to justify. This is done through arguments with evidence, whereby the legal quotations are among the standard arguments . Legal norms are usually not written out in full, but are quoted with an indication of the classification unit ( Article [Art.] Or Paragraph [§]) and, if necessary, further subdivisions (paragraph, clause, number, etc.) and legal information. Thus, according to § 433 para. 1 BGB in the purchase agreement committed to selling an asset, the buyer the thing to pass and the property to give to the cause. The buyer in turn is obliged to pay the seller the agreed purchase price and to accept the purchased item in accordance with Section 433 (2) BGB .

Scientific citation guidelines

In theoretical scientific work , theses are developed or checked on the basis of existing literature. The reference to the literature on which it is based should be represented by the quotation.

In the case of short quotations (one word, one part of a sentence), make sure that the quoted text passage is meaningful in itself or that it is supplemented accordingly by the context of the sentence.

In general, it must be checked whether a work is quotable at all .

Regulations specifying how to deal with sources in texts and citing the relevant evidence for these sources (citation manuals) may vary according to the academic discipline and language of publication. In the field of psychology, for example, the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA) provides guidelines for the design of English-language texts; the guidelines of the German Society for Psychology (DGPs) apply to the creation of German texts . The American Medical Association (AMA) has regulations for medical texts . The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), which was developed over 100 years ago, is also used in the English-speaking world . The Harvard method is widespread internationally , but it is also implemented differently according to local conventions.

A uniform citation style must be maintained within a text.

Verbatim quote

A verbatim or direct quotation must match the original in terms of form and content, including emphasis (underlining, blocked print, etc.) and idiosyncratic punctuation. It is indicated by quotation marks , a quotation within a verbatim quotation is indicated by half quotation marks ( ‚Text‘).

Verbatim quotations should be used if not only the content of the statement but also its wording is important. If this is not the case, an analogous representation in the form of an indirect quotation is preferable.

Your own highlighting or inserted explanations - in square brackets - must be emphasized by a note (such as highlighting the author or explanation by the editor ). Example: "It may not be the impression [is meant here the impression AK] arise that Additiones [additions, AK] stood so already in the template" (emphasis AK), with AK for the initials is the author.

Errors or misspellings in the original should be marked with a sic , on the one hand not to change the original, but on the other hand not to suspect the citing of having made the mistake themselves.

Omissions ( ellipses ) of one or more words are by ellipsis and round or square brackets (z. B. (…)or […]) to be marked. It is important to ensure that the omissions do not distort the meaning. Omissions from just one word can be marked with two dots (..).

If a longer verbatim quote is incorporated into your own work, it is also indicated by indenting .

Analogous quote

The indirect quotation takes place in order to distinguish one's own statements, expediently in indirect speech in the subjunctive . It is often additionally identified by the name of the author and a note such as vgl.; vgl. hierzu: ...or sinngemäß nach .... The analogous reproduction of statements made by others ( borrowing ) can also be marked accordingly.

The analogous reproduction must also be identified by giving the exact source.


All quotations must be supplemented by an exact reference to the source , this can be done in different ways.

The use of different citation systems is regulated differently from subject to subject.

The following systems are particularly common in the humanities:

  • Chicago Manual of Style : Both footnotes / endnotes and “author-date” information are regulated by “Chicago Style”. Thus, the often read information in German sources that “Chicago Style” implies a single form of citation is wrong. For more details and exact solutions in complicated citation cases see: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html
  • Modern Language Association (MLA): Both footnotes / endnotes and “author-date” information are also regulated by “MLA Style”. However, they differ from “Chicago Style” in some details.
  • Harvard citation : Also known as "parenthetical citation" or author-year citation . Here the cited source with the author's details, year of publication and, if applicable, the page is named directly in the text - in brackets (Theisen 2004). The author-year citation style does not come from Harvard University and is not regulated by Harvard University. There are no publications like Chicago or MLA that officially regulate problem cases and changes in citation practice. The so-called "Harvard Style" thus offers some guidelines on citation forms, but is not used by academic publishers in Anglo-Saxon countries as a template for questions of style ( Chicago is instead often used as the basis for questions of style in publications).

The source can be given in the form of a full reference in the footnote or as a short reference at the end of the entire work. Various forms are common for the short document. The most space-saving, but least meaningful citation style is the consecutive numbering of all cited sources.

A combination of the first three letters of the author's name and the last two digits of the year of publication (e.g. "The04" for Theisen 2004) is common in IT. Probably the most widespread is the full author's name with the year of publication, whereby several sources by the same author are identified by consecutive letters within one year (e.g. "Theisen 2004c").

Less common, but most meaningful, is the indication of the source with the addition of a catchphrase, which usually allows the reader familiar with the subject to recognize the cited source, e.g. B. in the form of "Theisen (Scientific Work, 2004)". Since several citation styles or techniques are available, several are usually not used in one document; a selected citation style is consistently maintained throughout the document.

There are different citation guidelines for citing printed literature in the various subjects.

If a second-hand quotation is made, i.e. from a work that the author has not viewed himself, the original source is mentioned first in the footnote, followed by “quoted by” / “quoted in. at “/“ quoted after “/“ quoted according to ”and the work that the author has viewed.

In general, it should be said that there is no uniform citation style. Every university has i. d. R. their own specifications. Within a work should always be quoted consistently, i. In other words, the same formatting should be used for citations in both the footnote and the list of sources at the end of the thesis.

Quoting from author writings (monographs)

When quoting from books, the following is stated:

  • First name and surname of the author
    • if no author is given, then "o. V. "=" without statement of responsibility "
    • up to three authors are written out in full, if there are more than three authors, the abbreviations “u. a. "or" et al. "usual (e.g." Theisen et al. 2004 ")
  • Title of the book
  • (possibly) translator
  • Edition
  • Place of publication; in the case of more than three places of publication, as with the authors, it is usually abbreviated.
  • Publisher name
  • Publishing year;
    • if no year of publication is given, then "o. J. "=" without year "
  • Page number; If the quoted passage extends over the following page, this is indicated by the addition f. to be marked. If it extends over several following pages, the addition "ff." Is necessary

From this z. B. result in the following scheme:

Chicago Manual of Style (for footnotes / endnotes + literature list):

Author name, first name. Title. Subheading. Place: publisher, year.

Chicago Manual of Style (with author date in the text + a literature list):

Author name, first name. Year. Title. Subheading. Place: Publisher.

MLA (with inserted references in the text + a literature list)

Author name, first name. Year. Title. Subheading. Place: publisher, year. Printed.

Quoting from magazine articles or newspaper articles

When quoting from journal articles

  • First name and surname of the author. Some of these are not mentioned in newspaper articles, in which case the author's signature or the publisher are given.
  • Title of the essay
  • Magazine title erschienen in
  • Year number (= volume)
  • Issue number
  • Year number
  • Page reference

From this z. B. result in the following scheme: Chicago : footnotes / endnotes + bibliography

Literature list: surname, first name. “Title: Subtitle.” Journal title Volume, no. Issue (year): y – z.
Example: Olson, Hope A. "Codes, Costs, and Critiques: The Organization of Intermation in Library Quarterly , 1931-2004." Library Quarterly 76, no. 1 (2006): 19-35.
Footnote: First name, last name, "Title: Subtitle," Journal title Volume, no. Issue (year): y – z.
For example: 1. Hope A. Olson, "Codes, Costs, and Critiques: The Organization of Intermation in Library Quarterly , 1931-2004," Library Quarterly 76, no. 1 (2006): 19-35.

Chicago : author date in the text + a literature list

Last name First Name. Year. "Title: Subtitle." Journal title Volume (booklet): y – z.
Ex .: Mnookin, Robert, and Lewis Kornhauser. 1979. "Bargaining in the Shadow of the Law: The Case of Divorce." Yale Law Journal 88 (5): 950-97.

MLA : Inserted references in the text + a literature list

Last name First Name. “Title: Sub-title.” Journal title Volume Issue (year): y – z. Printed.

Quoting from compilations (editors' writings)

  • First name and surname of the author
  • Title of the essay
  • Title of the collective work = "in"
  • Name of the editor = "Ed. ... "
  • Edition
  • publishing company
  • Place of publication
  • Publishing year
  • Page reference

From this z. B. result in the following scheme:

Author name, first name: title. Subheading . Edited by first name surname. Edition. Publisher, place, year (= series title).

Titles for articles in editors' publications follow the same scheme, but the page numbers are also given:

Author name, first name: title. Subheading . Edited by first name surname. Edition. Publisher, place, year (= series title). S. x-y.

If a source is quoted several times, it is sufficient to name the author from the second time on with the note "at the place indicated (op. Cit.) + Page reference" or, if the same page is repeatedly referred to, also " ibid " (ibidem) ; Example: Hegemann, Heinen, Scholz: Economics and social studies . Part 1. 4th edition. Cologne-Porz 1976. p. 160; cited below as: Hegemann, Heinen, Scholz, a. a. O., S. ... or (ibid.).

Quoting from lexicon articles

If the author is known, the following scheme can result:

Author's name, first name: Lemma . In: Lexicon name. Edited by first name surname. Place: Publisher year. S. x-y.

If there is no author, you can proceed as follows:

[Art.] Lemma. In: Lexicon name. Edited by first name surname. Place: Publisher year. S. x-y.

Tables and charts

Each table must be given a heading. At the head of each table, the word “table” is written out with the respective number. All figures are to be evidenced by footnotes. All figures in tables and diagrams must be provided with references.


For authors of cited works, citations play an essential role in building a reputation .

There are special citation databases for researching and analyzing citations . The citation analysis examined as part of the scientometrics , the quantitative study scientific processes, so-called Zitationsgraphen, which are networks of publications that are connected by citations. Cocitation and bibliographic coupling appear as indirect relationships based on citations . Citation analysis found a number of regularities in citation graphs. Its use for assessing scientific performance, which has been taking place since the late 1950s, is controversial.

The fact that publications are not cited or cited incorrectly can also be examined. The phenomenon of not quoting is called uncitedness in scientometrics . It is believed that a substantial part of the cited literature was not read by the author. Linda C. Smith found in a study on the citation of the most famous work by Vannevar Bush that the authors quoted the work out of context in order to substantiate any statements that were sometimes even in contradiction to the cited article.

Quoting on the Internet

In discussions on the Internet, for example by e-mail (e.g. in mailing lists ) or in discussion forums in which one refers to other discussion participants, it is often necessary to quote what has been said. There one often speaks of quoting ( English for "quoting"). Many discussion participants are annoyed if the quotation is not clearly marked as such or if more than necessary is quoted.

Collections of quotations

  • Dudenredaktion (ed.): Quotes and sayings. 4th, revised and expanded edition. Dudenverlag, Berlin 2017, ISBN 978-3-411-04124-4 (= The Duden in twelve volumes - Volume 12; origin, meaning and use of 7,500 citations from antiquity to today).
  • Digital library (product) , vol. 27: In medias res. Lexicon of Latin Quotes and Expressions (4th Edition), 2006, ISBN 978-3-89853-227-3 .

See also


  • Marcel Bisges : Legal requirements for citations in academic papers . In: JURA . 2013, p. 705-710 , doi : 10.1515 / jura-2013-0088 .
  • Marcel Bisges: Limits of the right to quote on the Internet, GRUR 2009, pp. 730–733 . 2009.
  • Stephan Keiler and Christoph Bezemek : leg cit ^ 3 . Legal Citation Guide. 2014, ISBN 978-3-7046-6258-3 (3rd edition, citation rules with focus on Europe, EU, international and digital, with plug-in for Zotero).
  • Harald Jele: Scientific work: quoting . 3. Edition. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2012, ISBN 978-3-17-022328-8 .
  • Anton Schäfer : Abbreviations, terms, suggested citations (acronyms) . Verlag Österreich, Vienna 2008, ISBN 978-3-7046-5112-9 .
  • Jens Runkehl, Torsten Siever: The quote on the Internet . An electronic style guide for publishing, bibliographing and citing. 3. Edition. Revonnah, Hannover 2001, ISBN 978-3-927715-83-7 .
  • German Institute for Standardization V. (Ed.): DIN 1505 . Title references from literature. Beuth, Berlin 1984.
  • Uwe Böhme and Silke Tesch: Quote: why and how? Nachr. Chem., Vol. 62 (2014) 852-857 ,.

Web links

Wiktionary: Quotation  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wikiquote: Quote  - Quotes

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Pfeifer: Etymological Dictionary of German .
  2. Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Article “Quote” from August 5, 2011 by Klaus Bartels.
  3. ^ Paul W. Hertin: Copyright. Munich 2004, p. 72.
  4. a b Stefan Haupt (ed.): Copyright for media professionals in Germany, Austria and Switzerland . Orell Füssli, Zurich 2007, ISBN 978-3-280-07130-4 , p. 291-292 .
  5. a b c d e BGE  131 III 480
  6. ^ URG
  7. URG, LGBl 160/1999
  8. picture blog .
  9. Bernd Juraschko, Practical Guide to Law for Libraries and Information Facilities , 2013, p. 9
  10. Susanne Kassel, Martina Thiele, Margit Böck: Quoting in academic papers FU Berlin, October 15, 2006.
  11. Anne Gärtner, Alexander Behnke: Information from the field of psychology on citing and creating bibliographies according to APA 6th Edition (2010) and DGPs (2007) Technische Universität Dresden, November 2006
  12. American Medical Associatin (AMA) Citation Style 2012 (English)
  13. Christof Sauer (Ed.): Preserve Form - Handbook on the Harvard Method ( Memento of the original from December 24, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. GBFE , 2004. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.acf.de
  14. Duden, article "sic" .
  15. Omissions, Techniques, Scientific Work, accessed on January 1, 2018
  16. Holger Matthes: Citation Techniques Retrieved January 1, 2018.
  17. Citation Rules University of Leipzig, accessed on January 1, 2018
  18. ^ Hans-Otto Schenk: The thesis. A guide for economists and social scientists , Göttingen 2005, UTB 2657, pp. 82–86, ISBN 3-8252-2657-3 .
  19. Quoting correctly - citation rules. Retrieved May 11, 2020 .
  20. Linda C. Smith: Memex as an image of potentiality in information retrieval research and development . In: Proceedings of the Annual ACM Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval . 1980, p. 345-369 .
  21. Uwe Böhme, Silke Tesch: Quoting: why and how? In: News from chemistry . tape 62 , no. 9 , 2014, ISSN  1868-0054 , p. 852-857 , doi : 10.1002 / nadc.201490286 ( wiley.com [accessed August 19, 2020]).
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on October 3, 2005 .