Citing Web resources

This guide tries to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about citing Web resources. Additional guides are available on citing articles from databases (like Academic Search Premier or JSTOR) and in-text citations for Web resources.

Components

The components listed below represent the minimum requirements for citing a Web resource.

Other components, such as accompanying print publication information, names of editors and translators, and names of sponsoring organizations can be added for clarification.

Author

  • If author information is not listed at the top of a document, check the bottom or follow any links to the Web site's home page to search for author information.
  • Try to distinguish the author of the content from the page designer and avoid listing the designer as an author.
  • Remember that organizations or government agencies can be authors.
  • If no author is listed, begin the reference with the title of the web page.

Title

  • If there is both an individual document title and a publication title, such as the title of an online journal or the title of the Web site itself, include the publication title following the document title.
  • If you have trouble identifying the title, check the top of your Web browser. The title of the document should appear in the tab you are using, or in the top left corner above the File menu. It also may appear in the top left corner of a printout from your Web browser.

Date of publication or date of last revision

  • The date a Web document was created or last updated is frequently listed at the bottom.
  • If a document includes both a date of creation and a date it was last updated, use only the latter.
  • Include a day and month in addition to a year if they are included on the document.
  • If the Web site 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.

URL

  • No longer required by MLA.
  • Be sure to check your spelling.
  • If the URL is exceedingly long, use the URL for the site's home page or a main page with a search engine for the site.
  • The URL may appear in the upper right corner of a printout from your Web browser.

Date accessed

  • Because Web documents can change or disappear at any time, your reference should include the last date that you viewed the document.
    • In APA this is not required unless "an update seems likely."
  • The date of use usually appears in the bottom right corner of a printout from your Web browser.

Formats

In MLA style, the components are arranged this way:
Author. "Document Title." Publication or Web Site Title. Name of sponsoring organization, Date of publication. Web. Date of access.

Example of MLA style:
Raman, Manjari. “Putting Inner Cities To Work.” Economic Development America. International Economic Development Council, Fall 2005. Web. 24 February 2006.

In APA style, the components are arranged this way:
Author. (Date of publication). Document title. Publication or Web site title. Retrieved from URL

Example of APA style:
Raman, M. (2005, Fall). Putting inner cities to work. Economic Development America. Retrieved from http://www.iedconline.org/EDAmerica/Fall2005/inner_cities.html

In Chicago's Notes & Bibliography style, the components are arranged this way:
Author. "Document title." Web site title. Date published or last modified. Date accessed. URL.

Example:
Raman, Manjari. "Putting Inner Cities to Work." Economic Development America. Fall 2005. Accessed October 13, 2010. http://www.iedconline.org/EDAmerica/Fall2005/inner_cities.html.

In Chicago's Author-Date system, the components are arranged this way:
Author. Year of publication. Document title. Title or owner of the site, month of publication. Date accessed. URL.

Example:
Raman, Manjari. 2005. Putting inner cities to work. Economic Development America, Fall. Accessed October 13, 2010. http://www.iedconline.org/EDAmerica/Fall2005/inner_cities.html.

In CSE's citation-sequence or citation-name style, the components are arranged this way:
Author(s). Title [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher; date of publication [date of latest update; cited date]. Available from: URL

Example:
Raman, Manjari. Putting inner cities to work [Internet]. Washington (DC): Economic Development America; Fall 2005 [cited 2011 Dec 1]. Available from: http://www.iedconline.org/EDAmerica/Fall2005/inner_cities.html

In CSE's name-year style, the components are arranged this way:
Author(s). Title [Internet]. Date of publication. Place of publication: publisher; [updated date; cited date]. Available from: URL

Example:
Raman, Manjari. Putting inner cities to work [Internet]. Fall 2005. Washington (DC): Economic Development America; [cited 2011 Dec 1]. Available from: http://www.iedconline.org/EDAmerica/Fall2005/inner_cities.html

For more information

For more detailed information and examples, consult the sources listed below.

General Style Guides

Research and Documentation Online by Diana Hacker

The St. Martin's Handbook, (7th ed.) by Andrea A. Lunsford
Skillman/Kirby Ref Desks: PE1112 .L86 2011x

Columbia Guide to Online Style by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor.
Skillman Ref Desk: PN171 .F56 W35 or Online

MLA Style

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th ed.), pp. 181-193.
Skillman Ref Desk: LB 2639 .G53 2009

APA Style

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.), pp. 193-224.
Skillman Ref Desk: BF 76.7 .P83 2010

Frequently Asked Questions about APA Style from the American Psychological Association.

Chicago Style

Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide from the Chicago Manual of Style Online.

The Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.), chapter 14, pp. 752-4.
Skillman/Kirby Ref Desks: Z253 .U69

CSE Style

Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers (7the ed.), pp. 556-564.
Skillman Ref Desk: T11 .S386 2006

Comments?

We welcome comments or questions that might help us improve these suggestions.