Citing online numerical data

There is no standard yet for citing numerical data retrieved from online databases and web sites. Some resources, such as the CQ Collections, ICPSR, and the U.S. Census Bureau, offer their own citation suggestions with each data set they provide, which you are welcome to follow. For others, like Europa World Plus, the Armed Conflict Database, and World Development Indicators (WDI) Online, we recommend including, at minimum, the following elements:

  • Author of the original study or data set – this can be the name(s) of an individual author(s) or of an agency
  • Year of publication or production, in parentheses – if unavailable, leave out
  • Title of the original study or data set
  • [Data file] to indicate use of an electronic data set
  • URL of publicly available web site, or name of database
  • Date of access, preceded by "Retrieved"


Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics (1993). “National Health Provider Inventory: Home Health Agencies and Hospices, 1991” [Data file]. Available from National Technical Information Service Web site, Retrieved April 20, 2006.

  • Use "Available from [name of Web site] Web site" when your data set requires additional steps to download, ie. when a stable url to the final data set cannot be provided.

U.S. Census Bureau. “Health Insurance Coverage Status And Type Of Coverage By Sex, Race, And Hispanic Origin, 1987 to 2004.” Health Insurance Historical Table 1 [Data file] . Retrieved April 20, 2006.