In-text citations for Web resources

Here are a few guidelines for dealing with problems you may encounter when writing in-text citations for Web resources.

Lack of page numbers

Many Web resources lack stable pagination unless they are available as PDFs. If no stable pagination is available, omit page numbers in your in-text citations. If the source includes section or paragraph numbers, you should use those.

So a reference in MLA style might look like this for a Web page without paragraph numbers:

(Davidsen)

And like this for a Web page with paragraph numbers:

(Davidsen, par. 3)

["Par." is the MLA abbreviation for paragraphs.]

A reference in APA style might look like this for a Web page without paragraph numbers:

(Davidsen 2001)

And like this for a Web page with paragraph numbers:

(Davidsen, 2001, para. 3)

["Para." is the APA abbreviation for paragraphs.]

The American Psychological Association (APA) further recommends that if no page or paragraph numbers are given but the source includes headings, you should cite the heading and the number of the paragraph following it.

Such a reference might look like this:

(Davidsen, 2001, Introduction, para. 4)

Unknown authors

Many Web resources do not provide author information. In this case, use the same format that you would use for books or articles without an author. If the title is brief, use the full title in place of the author's name in in-text citations. If the title is lengthy, use just the first few words of it.

No publication date

In APA style, the author, date method is used for in-text citations. If a Web resource does not include a date of publication or a date that the resource was last updated, use the abbreviation n.d. (for no date) just as you would for a book or article with no date.

(El NiƱo, n.d.)

For a review of the basics

For basic information on in-text citations in MLA style, see The St. Martin's Handbook (2015), pp 405-411. For basic information on in-text citations in APA style, see pp. 454-458.