404 Not found

  • Jump to menu
  • Student Home
  • Accept your offer
  • How to enrol
  • Student ID card
  • Set up your IT
  • Orientation Week
  • Fees & payment
  • Academic calendar
  • Special consideration
  • Transcripts
  • The Nucleus: Student Hub
  • Referencing
  • Essay writing
  • Learning abroad & exchange
  • Professional development & UNSW Advantage
  • Employability
  • Financial assistance
  • International students
  • Equitable learning
  • Postgraduate research
  • Health Service
  • Events & activities
  • Emergencies
  • Volunteering
  • Clubs and societies
  • Accommodation
  • Health services
  • Sport and gym
  • Arc student organisation
  • Security on campus
  • Maps of campus
  • Careers portal
  • Change password

Citing electronic sources using APA referencing

Electronic sources include websites, emails, films, television programs, social media, podcasts and radio broadcasts, online journals and eBooks.

How do I cite electronic resources using APA style?

Referencing electronic resources can be confusing—it's difficult to know which information to include or where to find it. Electronic citations require many of the same elements, in the same order, as fixed-media sources.

As a general rule, provide as much information as possible concerning authorship, location and availability. Also, determine the type of content so the format can be identified.

For the reference list, provide the following pieces of information:

  • author or authoring body name(s)
  • date (published or last updated)
  • format description (where necessary, identify that you accessed the source in an electronic format, between square brackets [ ])
  • as much electronic retrieval information as needed to locate the source, for example, a webpage URL (Retrieved from http ://xxxxxxxxx), or a DOI (Digital Object Identifier). 

Electronic publishing is now a standard form of accessing information, but many sources are published in both paper and electronic formats. You should cite according to the format you accessed. Unlike fixed-media sources, online materials can easily be changed, or disappear altogether, so full and accurate citation information is essential.

Information about citing e-Books and online journals and media articles.

An entire website

To refer to an entire website:

For a passing reference to a website in text, the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed:

These United Nations policies are outlined on The International Narcotics Control board website ( http://www.incb.org )

Webpage on a website with a group author

In-text citations

Cite the name of the author/authoring body and the date created or last revised:

(International Narcotics Control Board, 1999) 

Include information in the following order:

  • author (name of group)
  • date (created or last updated), between parentheses
  • title of document
  • webpage URL (If possible, ensure that the URL is included without a line-break).

International Narcotics Control Board. (2019). Psychotropic Substances . International Narcotics Control Board  https://www.incb.org/incb/en/psychotropics/index.html

Webpage with an individual author

(Hay, 2014)

  • author (the person responsible for the page)
  • website name

Hay, R. (2014, June 23). Diego Costa, Spain and problems of identity in world football. The Conversation . https://theconversation.com/diego-costa-spain-and-problems-of-identity-…

A website with no author

If the author's name is unknown, cite the website/page title and date. If the title is long, cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title:

("Land for sale on moon" , 2007 )  

Land for sale on moon. ( 2007). Retrieved from http :// www . moonlandregistry.com

A website with no date

If there is no date on the page, use the abbreviation n.d. (no date):

(ArtsNSW, n.d.)

ArtsNSW. (n.d.). New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Retrieved from http :// www . arts.nsw.gov.au/awards/LiteraryAwards/litawards.htm

To refer to an entire blog:

As with a website, mentioning it in text, along with the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed:

Aspects of the postgraduate experience are discussed at The Thesis Whisperer blog ( https://thesiswhisperer.com ) ...

A Blog Post:

Use the screen name of the author as written.

PZ Myers (2014) points out that ...

  • author name
  • date (year, month day)
  • format, between square brackets
  • retrieved from URL of post

PZ Myers. (2014, August 25). Crusaders against GMOs [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/08/25/crusaders-against-gmos/

A Blog Comment:

proximity1 . (2014, August 26). Re: Crusaders against GMOs [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/08/25/crusaders-against-gmos/

Entry in an online reference work (wikis, dictionaries)

Davison (2003, para. 1) defines Australian national identity as "is the most recent and popular of the concepts by which Australians have defined their selfhood as a people."

Davison (2003) suggests that national identity has become deeply embedded in Australian public discourse.

Davison, G. (2003). National Identity. In G. Davison, J. Hirst, & S. Macintyre (Eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian History . Retrieved from http://www.oxfordreference.com/

Entry in an online reference work, no author or editor:

Put the name of the entry in place of the author name.

Hegemeny. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary . Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hegemony

When listing a frequently updated source, note that the retrieval date is needed in this case because, as true for any wiki entry, the source material may change over time.

Science fiction. (n.d.). In Wikipedia . Retrieved October 14, 2009, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction

Generative AI tools

Format for an APA citation for AI in the following order:

  • Name of Company/creator of generative AI Tool
  • Name of generative AI tool
  • Month Date version 
  • Large language model 

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (June 16 version) [Large language model]. https://chat.openai.com/chat

In-text citation example:

  • A common example of a programming language is C++ (OpenAI, 2023).
  • According to OpenAI (2023), when prompted with “Does the human brain have computational power than the most powerful computer?”, it appears there are …

General mentions with a URL:

As with a website, if you are discussing Facebook or a Facebook page in general, give the site URL in the text inside parentheses, the first time it is mentioned. No reference list entry is needed.

Many alpaca breeding enthusiasts connect through social media like facebook ( https://www.facebook.com )

To refer to specific information:

If you paraphrase or quote specific, retrievable information from social media, provide an in-text citation (with the author and date) and a reference list entry (with the author, date, title, and source URL). 

Include the author name and date of posting:

(The Learning Centre UNSW 2015)

  • author name and initial, or group name.
  • date. Provide the year, month, and day for items that have a specific date associated with them (status updates, photos, and videos. Otherwise, provide only the year.
  • title. Provide the name of the page or the content or caption of the post)
  • format [Facebook post]. Describe the content form e.g. Facebook status update, photograph, timeline, or video file after the title in square brackets.
  • source URL. Provide a retrieval URL that leads as directly and reliably to the cited content as possible. Click a post’s date stamp to access its archived URL.
  • retrieval date. Add if the content may change e.g. whole feeds or pages. Do not provide a retrieval date if the post has a specific date associated with it already e.g. status updates, photos, and videos.

The Learning Centre UNSW. (2015, October 8). November is AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month) at UNSW! [Facebook status update]. Retrieved from  https://www.facebook.com/TLC.UNSW/posts/10152980930467126

As with a website, if you are discussing twitter or a twitter account in general, give the site URL in the text, inside parentheses, the first time it is mentioned. No reference list entry is needed.

President Obama's twitter account is run by numerous staff ( https://twitter.com/BarackObama )

(BarackObama 2016)

  • author name and initial, or group name, followed by social media identity information (provide the author’s screen name in square brackets. If only the screen name is known, provide it without brackets.
  • date. (Provide the year, month, and day for items that have a specific date associated with them. Otherwise, provide only the year.
  • title. Provide the name of the page or the content or caption of the post.
  • format. Describe the content form (e.g. tweet, photograph, video file) after the title in square brackets.
  • source url. Provide a retrieval URL that leads as directly and reliably to the cited content as possible. Click a post’s date stamp to access its archived URL.
  • retrieval date. Add if the content may change e.g. whole feeds or pages. Do not provide a retrieval date if the post has a specific date associated with it already e.g., tweets, photos, and videos.

Obama, B. [BarackObama]. (2016, June 9). Watch President Obama Slow Jam the News on @ FallonTonight at 11:35 p.m. ET. # POTUSonFallon [tweet]. Retreived from https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/741068131347660801 . 

Email or electronic mailing list

To cite an email:  

E-mails from individuals should be cited as personal communications. Cite them in text only. Provide author initials and surname, and the date. Personal communications are not included in the reference list.

(J. Smith, personal communication, April 18, 2001)

To cite electronic mail lists:

(Dushant, 2006) 

If the author's full name is available, list the last name first followed by initials. If only a screen name is available, use that.

  • author name and initial.
  • exact date of posting (year, month, day).
  • title (subject line of message, do not italicise)
  • format (description, between square brackets).
  • retrieved from URL

Dushant, Y. (2006, June 12). Re: Films depicting rapid socio/economic changes in Asia [Electronic mailing list message]. http :// h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Film&month=0606&week=b&msg=ikL7dQ0uDMUNlBYVep5ySg&user=&pw=

LatinoEuropa. (2016, June 6). The minute of silence [Online forum post]. Retrieved from http :// historum.com/general-history/113744-minute-silence.html

See next: Broadcast and visual materials

Apa referencing.

  • How to cite
  • Citing different sources
  • Electronic sources
  • Broadcast and visual materials
  • Example activity
  • ^ More support

Study Hacks Workshops | All the hacks you need! 7 Feb – 10 Apr 2024

APA Citation Style, 6th edition & 7th edition

  • How to Cite- examples (7th ed.)
  • Electronic Sources
  • Print sources
  • APA Tutorials (7th ed.)
  • Sample APA Paper (7th ed.)
  • NoodleTools Citation Manager
  • Free Citation Generators
  • About your library

How to Get Help

There are three ways to get help in the library:

Come see us!  Visit the second floor reference desk at the Elsner or Red Mountain libraries during  business hours  and speak with a reference librarian.

Call us!  Call the Elsner library reference desk at 480-461-7682 or the Red Mountain library reference desk at 480-654-7740 and speak with a librarian during  business hours.

Chat with us! The  Ask A Librarian chat service is available 24/7, 365 days a years. Ask A Librarian is a free service providing real-time chat with a librarian to help with any of your research needs.   

How to cite electronic sources (6th ed.)

  • Electronic sources
  • Journal articles
  • Magazine articles
  • Newspaper articles

Examples are taken directly from either Purdue's  Online Writing Lab  (OWL) or from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition. Please be advised that your instructor and the APA manual are the final authority on formatting, mechanics and citing references. This guide provides basic information only. Please refer to the  Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.) for detailed information.

*For other electronic sources not listed here go to  OWL @Purdue or the  APA Style  guide.

In the tabs above you can find sample APA citations for  electronic

  • Newspaper articles 
  • Video clips

Remember that all lines after the first line of each entry in your reference list should be indented one-half inch from the left margin. This is called hanging indentation. All text is double-spaced. Sometimes the formatting on webpages like this do not show the correct format.

Basic format for webpage

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication).   Title of document . Retrieved from http://Web address

Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderland, L., & Brizee, A. (2010, May           

5).   General format. Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

Webpage with no author

When there is no author for a web page, the title moves to the first position of the reference entry:

Example:   All 33 Chile miners freed in flawless rescue. (2010, October 13). Retrieved from                                         http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39625809/ns/world_news-americas/  

Cite in text the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title.: ("All 33 Chile Miners," 2010).

Basic format for Article from a database

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number,           

page range. Retrieved from http://www.someaddress.com/full/url/

Article from a database

Smyth, A. M., Parker, A. L., & Pease, D. L. (2002). A study of enjoyment of peas.  Journal of  Abnormal

Eating, 8 (3), 120-125. Retrieved from http://www.articlehomepage.com /full/url/

Basic Format for Journal article with DOI

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number,   page

range. doi:0000000/000000000000 or http://dx.doi.org/10.0000/0000

Journal article with DOI

Wooldridge, M.B., & Shapka, J. (2012). Playing with technology: Mother-toddler interaction scores lower

during play with electronic toys. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 33 (5), 211-218.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.appdev.2012.05.005

Basic Format for Journal article with url

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of article. Title of Online Periodical, volume

number (issue number if available). Retrieved from   http://www.someaddress.com/full/url/

Journal article with url

Bernstein, M. (2002). 10 tips on writing the living Web.   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites, 149 .

Retrieved from http://www.alistapart.com/articles/ writeliving

range. Retrieved from  http://www.someaddress.com/full/url/

Smyth, A. M., Parker, A. L., & Pease, D. L. (2002). A study of enjoyment of peas.   Journal of Abnormal

Eating, 8 (3), 120-125. Retrieved  from   http://www.articlehomepage.com/full/url/

Basic format

Author, A. A. (Year, Month Day). Title of article.   Title of Newspaper . Retrieved from    

http://www.someaddress.com/full/url/

Newspaper article

Parker-Pope, T. (2008, May 6). Psychiatry handbook linked to drug industry.   The New York Times .

Retrieved from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/05/06/psychiatry-handbook-linked-to-drug-

industry/?_r=0

Basic format for whole ebook

Author, A. (date).  Title of book .  Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx

De Huff, E. W. (n.d.).  Taytay’s tales: Traditional Pueblo  Indian tales . Retrieved from

http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/dehuff/taytay/taytay.html

Davis, J. (n.d.).  Familiar birdsongs of the Northwest .  Available from http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/biblio?

inkey=1-9780931686108-0

Basic format for chapter in an ebook

Author, A. (date). Title of chapter. In E. Editor (Ed.),  Title of book  (pp. xx–xx). Retrieved from

http://xxxxxxxxx

For more information on citing images, try the APA Style blog

No personal communication is included in your reference list; instead, parenthetically cite the communicator's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of the communication in your main text only.

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).

A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication,

November 3, 2002).

Basic format for YouTube Video and other video-posting websites

Author, A. A. [Screen name]. (year, month day). Title of video  [Video file]. Retrieved from http:// ​xxxx

YouTube Video

Apsolon, M. [markapsolon]. (2011, September 9). Real ghost girl  caught on Video Tape 14 [Video file].

Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nyGCbxD848

J Dean. (2008, May 7). When the self emerges: Is that me in the mirror? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from

http://www.spring.org.uk/the1sttransport ​

   Video Blog 

   Psychology Video Blog #3 [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqM90eQi5-M

E-mails are not included in the list of references, though you parenthetically cite them in your main text: (E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).

  • << Previous: How do I Cite (6th ed.)
  • Next: Print sources >>
  • Last Updated: Jun 2, 2022 1:46 PM
  • URL: https://mesacc.libguides.com/APA

Alternate content for non-Flash-capable browsers goes here, and actually in a div.

Writing Center Home Page

OASIS: Writing Center

Reference list: electronic source references, basics of citing electronic sources.

Most of the sources Walden students cite will be electronic because you primarily use an online library. Electronic source reference entries often have additional components (like electronic retrieval information):

Author. (Publication date). Title of document. Publishing information or electronic retrieval information.

See the subpages for detailed information about how to cite each kind of electronic source.

DOI, Other URL, or No Electronic Retrieval Information?

A DOI number, or a "digital object identifier," is a unique alphanumeric string that identifies content and provides a persistent link to its location on the internet. A DOI is a number that is specific to a certain piece and identifies it among other digital sources. Journal articles will commonly have a DOI associated with that specific article. Depending on where an article can be found, you may need to include a URL in place of a DOI. Guidelines for including a DOI or a URL can be found in the APA 7, Section 9.34. 

Here are the general guidelines:

  • Include a DOI for all works that have a DOI, regardless if you use the online version or the print version.
  • If a print work does not have a DOI, do not include any DOI or URL in the reference.
  • If a work has both a DOI and a URL, include only the DOI.
  • For works without DOIs from websites (not included in databases), provide a URL in the reference.
  • For works without DOIs from academic databases, do not include a URL or database information in the reference because these works are widely available. The reference should be the same as the reference for a print version of the work.
  • Other alphanumeric identifiers such as the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) are not included in APA style references.

Use this click-through flowchart to help you determine whether to use a DOI, another URL, or no electronic retrieval information for your journal article source.

Do you see a DOI on the article?

Often, publishers include the number in the header or footer of the article. It may appear in a slightly different format, starting with an http://dx.doi.org, https://doi.org, DOI:, or some other way of identifying the number as a DOI. Many DOI numbers start with 10.

Yes       No

Include the DOI number.

Include the DOI number at the end of your reference entry. The standard format is:

Park, S., Zo, H., Ciganek, A. P., & Lim, G. G. (2011). Examining success factors in the adoption of digital object identifier systems. Electronic Commerce Research and Applications , 10 (6), 626–636. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.elerap.2011.05.004

Use the https://doi.org format consistently throughout your reference list. Use Microsoft Word's automatic hyperlink formatting (blue text, underlined, and active hyperlink). Also see our Quick Answer FAQ, "Can I use the DOI format provided by library databases?"

Do not end the reference list entry with a period as it might interfere with the hyperlink.

Take a look at more resources on reference list entries for articles with DOI numbers .

Check CrossRef.org for a DOI.

Check CrossRef.org's metadata search for the DOI. Search on CrossRef with the author(s), article title, and other publication information.

Did you find one?

Did you find the article in an academic database?

Most of your sources for scholarly research should come from publications you find in Walden University library's databases or through Google Scholar. Review the library's help page on evaluating resources to help you recognize what is a scholarly journal or not.

Leave out electronic retrieval information for the reference entry.

Your reference entry will look like one for a print version of a scholarly journal article. Here is an example:

Casler, T. (2020). Improving the graduate nursing experience through support on a social media platform. MEDSURG Nursing , 29 (2), 83–87.

Include the URL of the webpage where you found the article.

If your article is from a scholarly journal published on the open web, include the URL of the webpage where you found the article. Note that sources you find on the open web might belong to a number of different reference categories, so you should follow the format for those categories as applicable (such as for technical reports, white papers, or other forms of research that are part of gray literature—research produced and circulated outside of the peer-review process). Review the library's guidance on evaluating resources to make sure your sources are appropriate for your paper or study.

Here is an example of a journal article published on the open web:

Ford, T., Fix, M., Madsen, T., & Stroud, S. (2020). The eyes have it: A low-cost model for corneal foreign body removal training. Journal of Education and Teaching in Emergency Medicine , 5 (1). https://escholarship.org/uc/item/99z7d1xv

Formatting DOIs and URLs

  • In APA 7, present both DOIs and URLs as hyperlinks (i.e., beginning with “https://” or “http://”).
  • Use the default display settings in Microsoft Word for hyperlinks (blue font, underlined, and hyperlinked). It is also acceptable to present the DOI or URL in plain black text that is not underlined. Be consistent in how you format the hyperlinks throughout your reference list.
  • Links should be live if the work is to be published or read online.
  • As recommended by APA 7 and the International DOI Foundation, format your DOI as follows: https://doi.org/xxxx
  • Do not add a period after the DOI or URL because it may interfere with link functionality
  • Also see our Quick Answer FAQ, "Can I use the DOI format provided by library databases?"

Related Resources

apa owl electronic sources

Knowledge Check: Electronic Source References

Didn't find what you need? Search our website or email us .

Read our website accessibility and accommodation statement .

  • Previous Page: Multiple Sources With the Same Author and Year
  • Next Page: Online Journal Articles
  • Office of Student Disability Services

Walden Resources

Departments.

  • Academic Residencies
  • Academic Skills
  • Career Planning and Development
  • Customer Care Team
  • Field Experience
  • Military Services
  • Student Success Advising
  • Writing Skills

Centers and Offices

  • Center for Social Change
  • Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services
  • Office of Degree Acceleration
  • Office of Research and Doctoral Services
  • Office of Student Affairs

Student Resources

  • Doctoral Writing Assessment
  • Form & Style Review
  • Quick Answers
  • ScholarWorks
  • SKIL Courses and Workshops
  • Walden Bookstore
  • Walden Catalog & Student Handbook
  • Student Safety/Title IX
  • Legal & Consumer Information
  • Website Terms and Conditions
  • Cookie Policy
  • Accessibility
  • Accreditation
  • State Authorization
  • Net Price Calculator
  • Contact Walden

Walden University is a member of Adtalem Global Education, Inc. www.adtalem.com Walden University is certified to operate by SCHEV © 2024 Walden University LLC. All rights reserved.

Learn more about how the Cal Poly Humboldt Library can help support your research and learning needs.

Stay updated at Campus Ready .

Cal Poly Humboldt

  • Cal Poly Humboldt Library
  • Research Guides

Citing Your Sources

  • Zotero - Citation Management This link opens in a new window
  • Evaluating Sources This link opens in a new window
  • Special Collections This link opens in a new window
  • Online SkillShops This link opens in a new window

APA Citations Online SkillShop

Students viewing posters at ideaFest

American Psychological Association Style

The American Psychological Association (APA)  has established a style that it uses in all of the books and journals that it publishes. Many others working in the social and behavioral sciences have adopted this style as their standard as well.

APA's style rules and guidelines are set out in their publication manual:

apa owl electronic sources

Citation styles change over time. Be sure to only use the most recent resources that reflect the current edition. The current edition for APA is the 7th.

  • APA Manual 7th edition: The most notable changes The newest version of the Publication Manual has some notable changes compared to the 6th edition. This article highlights some that may be helpful.

Screen shot of APA Style homepage with links to resources including style guides and information about APA style.

Online Resources from APAStyle.org

APA Style This is a great resource for examples of how to cite different kinds of resources, to get an understanding of the differences between in-text citation and the reference list, and also better understand what plagiarism is and how to prevent it when using APA style. The APA manual is more in-depth with explanation, but this is a good reference for many common citation questions.

About APA Style

Watch the Tutorials and Webinars on APA Style .

The APA Style website also has their APA Style Blog , which includes blog posts answering questions that come up for APA citation that are commonly asked. 

Purdue OWL APA Guide Homepage

Citing Online Sources in APA

Citing Online sources: 

  • APA Reference List: Electronic Sources (7th edition) - Purdue OWL

Citing Websites:

  • APA Style Blog : Visual of egg

Citing Images, Videos & Other Media

  • Clip Art or Stock Image References If you are using images in your slide presentation, paper or project, APA requires copyright attribution rather than typical in-text citations. Quick note: if your image is free to reproduce with no attribution required, do not include any attribution.
  • APA Style Guide to Common Reference Examples This quick reference guide (pdf download) includes examples of almost every kind of source, including podcasts, infographics, Tweets, and more!
  • Reference Examples: AudioVisual Media In-depth list of styles for audio and video. This page also includes styles for data sets, social media posts, online forums, and more.
  • How to cite a single song or track reference
  • How to cite a music album reference
  • << Previous: Citations
  • Next: MLA >>

Common APA Errors

Below is a reminder of some common formatting details that sometimes are overlooked.

  • Line Spacing: double-space the reference list.
  • Hanging indent: indent all but the first line of each entry (the opposite of how you indent a paragraph).
  • Italicization: b ook titles,  journal titles and  volume number are  italicized; do not italicize article titles.
  • DOI: for electronic materials, if you have a doi#, you do not need to include the URL.
  • You do not need to include which database you found the article in (this is sometimes included if you use an auto-generated citation from a database--you should always double check auto-generated citations for accuracy). 
  • Capitalization: for book or article titles, only capitalize the first word of the title and subtitle. Also capitalize proper nouns.

Purdue University

  • Ask a Librarian

Library Guide for Education Graduate Students

  • Library Basics
  • E-Books on Educational Research
  • Find Journal Articles
  • Find Dissertations & Theses
  • Literature Search Strategies
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab
  • APA Style Guide
  • Citation Managers
  • Useful Library Guides

APA 7th Edition

Cover Art

Purdue's OWL (Online Writing Lab) provides instruction on how to use APA 7th. Below are a few topics covered by the OWL.

  • APA Style Introduction APA 7th
  • APA Overview and Workshop APA 7th
  • General Formatting APA 7th
  • In-Text Citation: Authors APA 7th
  • Foot Notes and Appendices APA 7th
  • Changes in the 7th Edition APA 7th
  • << Previous: Purdue Online Writing Lab
  • Next: Citation Managers >>
  • Last Edited: Feb 9, 2024 10:42 AM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.purdue.edu/Education_GraduateStudents

Academic Integrity at MIT logo

Academic Integrity at MIT

A handbook for students, search form, citing electronic sources.

Do not assume the information you find on the Internet is common knowledge. Everything on the Internet has been written by someone and may need to be cited.

Simply including a URL is not enough.

Even if there is no visible author, there is other information that should be included in the citation. Consult your citation style guide on how to cite electronic sources, including social media posts.

Different disciplines and published journals use different citation styles. If you are unsure which to use, check with your instructor or research supervisor. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) of Purdue University provides useful examples of citing electronic sources for each style:

American Psychological Association (APA)

Modern Language Association (MLA)

Chicago Manual of Style (CMS)

Citations of electronic sources often require the URL or the name of the database from which you retrieved the information. Always keep the URL for your own records so you can refer back to it.

Citing Creative Commons-licensed Content

  • When you use content made available under a Creative Commons license, follow the terms of the specific Creative Commons license attached to the content.  All Creative Commons licenses require that you cite the creator of the content. 
  • In addition to giving credit to the creator, you should cite the content as any other online source. Provide as much information as possible and adapt the citation entry to the style you are using.  Also include the URL to the Creative Commons license at http://creativecommons.org .

Wikipedia is Not a Reliable Academic Source

Many of us use Wikipedia as a source of information when we want a quick explanation of something.  However, Wikipedia or other wikis, collaborative information sites contributed to by a variety of people, are not considered reliable sources for academic citation, and you should not use them as sources in an academic paper.

The bibliography published at the end of the Wikipedia entry may point you to potential sources. However, do not assume that these sources are reliable – use the same criteria to judge them as you would any other source. Do not consider the Wikipedia bibliography as a replacement for your own research.

Evaluating Electronic Sources:  Is the Information Reliable?

Articles from online publications and databases often provide an author’s name and credentials so that you can evaluate the author’s reliability as a source. However, the reality is that anyone can put up a website, create a Facebook page, or post via the multitude of other social media tools.

Before you take information from a source you have found on the Internet, assess its reliability by looking for the following:

Name of the author:  Is the author a recognized authority? Or is the author a student who has posted his or her paper online?

If the person is not a qualified expert, you should not use the information.

Name of the sponsoring institution:

Is the sponsoring institution a name that you recognize as a reliable, unbiased source of information?  For example, the World Health Organization, The United Nations, The American Medical Association.

If you cannot locate this information or you are not sure of the reliability of the institution, do not use the information.

Date of posting:

Has the website been recently updated? Is the information current? 

The relevance of the information can be affected by timeliness of the post. Based on your topic, you need to evaluate if timeliness is critical.

Some electronic sources have no clear author. This may include:

Government websites and social media

University, institutional or organizational websites and social media

When using sources without a clear author, always look for the name of the sponsoring institution and investigate its reliability.   If you cannot locate this information or you are not sure of the reliability of the institution, do not use the information.

Authenticity of Social Media Posts  

In evaluating social media posts, first follow the guidelines outlined above.

In addition, the authenticity of the author should also be assessed.  Outright imposters, as well as parody accounts, have proliferated within social media networks.  To assess the authenticity:

Some social media tools, such as Twitter, perform their own verification testing, which can be helpful in identifying the “true” account of an individual.

A Twitter name is not always indicative of the author’s true identity. Verified Twitter accounts are marked with a blue check badge next to the name. This indicates that Twitter has verified the identity of the individuals of these accounts. For example:

President Obama uses Twitter to keep citizens informed on current issues. "Barack Obama @BarackObama" is President Obama's verified Twitter account whereas "Barack Obama @theUSpresident" is a parody account.

Look at the quality of the previous posts to see if the content is consistent with who the author says s/he is.
Read any associated bio to see what is said about the individual’s identity, beyond just the name. Does the bio link to his/her website, book site or blog? Can you verify the author’s credentials on LinkedIn or similar sites?

If you are in doubt of the person’s true identity, do not use the source.

When you do cite a social media source, cite it by its handle or vanity URL, not by the name it professes. This ensures you are accurately reflecting your source to the reader.

For example, if you found the Twitter feed @cola78456 listed as Coca Cola Company and your assessment led you to believe it was authentic, you would cite the source as:

@cola78456 says…”  not “Coca Cola Company on Twitter says…”

In some cases, you may want to quote social media posts by “everyday people” to help exemplify a viewpoint or trend. In this case, the challenge is not assessing the authenticity of the author, but determining if the person is real and not an automated web “bot.” To assess if the author is real:

Check the quality of previous posts.  Bots tend to post of spam and re-post content of others.

Consider the tone of the posts.  Bots typically post a statement and a link.  Opinions and sentiments usually come from a real person, not a bot.

If the social media account is being curated, it is more likely a legitimate person.

If you are in doubt whether a social media post is from a person or bot, do not use the source.

Finding and Evaluating Internet Sources

  • Finding Quality Information
  • Subject Specialists at MIT Libraries

Link to CSU Home

Michael Schwartz Library

Students in the Connection Lounge

Citing Sources & Avoiding Plagiarism

  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Integrating Sources
  • Citation Relay
  • Notes & Bibliography
  • Author/Date
  • ASA Citation Style
  • Citation Managers

APA Style Guide to Electronic References

See this guide for help with citing online sources in APA style.

  • Purdue OWL: APA Formatting and Style Guide
  • APA Style Guide to Electronic References (6th ed.) Guide to citing online sources in APA format. Off-campus users will need to log in with their student number and library PIN.
  • Cornell Library APA Citation Guide
  • Son of a Citation Machine Automatic citation generator. Be sure to double-check with a style manual!

APA Style Manual

Cover Art

Interviews, Email, and Other Personal Communication

No personal communication is included in your reference list; instead, parenthetically cite the communicator's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of the communication in your main text only.

(E. Robbins, personal communication, January 4, 2001).

A. P. Smith also claimed that many of her students had difficulties with APA style (personal communication, November 3, 2002).

Basic Format

Author, A. A. (Year of publication). Title of work: Capital letter also for subtitle . Location: Publisher.

Example - One Author

Shotton, M. A. (1989). Computer addition? A study of computer dependency. London, England: Taylor & Francis.

Example - Book Chapter

Haybron, D. M. (2008). Philosophy and the science of subjective well-being. In M. Eid & R. J. Larsen (Eds.), The science of subjective well-being (pp. 17-43). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Purdue OWL: ALA Citation - Books

Journal Articles

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, xx, pp-pp. doi:xx.xxxxxxxxxxx

Example - Article from Online Periodical with DOI

Herbst-Damm, K. L., & Kulik, J. A. (2005). Volunteer support, marital status, and the survival times of terminally ill patients. Health Psychology, 24, 224-229. doi: 10.1037/0278-6133.24.2.225

Example - Article from Online Periodical without DOI

Sillick, T. J., & Schutte, N. S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem mediate between percieved early parental love and adult happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology , 2 (2), 38-48. Retrieved from http://ojs.lib.swin.edu.au/index.php/ejap

Purdue OWL: APA Citation - Electronic Sources

Web Sources

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Date of publication). Title of document . Retrieved from http://Web address

Example - Entire Website

Angeli, E., Wagner, J., Lawrick, E., Moore, K., Anderson, M., Soderland, L., & Brizee, A. (2010, May 5). General format. Retrieved from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/

In-Text Citations

Material from your paper that's from another source needs to be cited both in the text immediately after the cited material (in-text or parenthetical citation) and at the end of the paper in the works cited. However, if you mention information about the source in the text of your paper, you do not need to include that information in the citation immediately afterward.

For example ...

(Box adapted from LMU/LA Library APA Guide)

  • << Previous: MLA Style
  • Next: Chicago/Turabian Style >>
  • Last Updated: Jan 30, 2024 11:46 AM
  • URL: https://researchguides.csuohio.edu/citingsources
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Therapy Center
  • When To See a Therapist
  • Types of Therapy
  • Best Online Therapy
  • Best Couples Therapy
  • Best Family Therapy
  • Managing Stress
  • Sleep and Dreaming
  • Understanding Emotions
  • Self-Improvement
  • Healthy Relationships
  • Student Resources
  • Personality Types
  • Verywell Mind Insights
  • 2023 Verywell Mind 25
  • Mental Health in the Classroom
  • Editorial Process
  • Meet Our Review Board
  • Crisis Support

How to Reference Electronic Sources in APA Format

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

apa owl electronic sources

Cara Lustik is a fact-checker and copywriter.

apa owl electronic sources

Bernhard Lang / Getty Images

There are a number of special style concerns for citing electronic sources in APA format. Electronic sources such as online periodicals, ebooks, websites, and message boards all have unique formatting requirements, not to mention YouTube videos, podcasts, Facebook posts, and tweets.

Always keep track of the electronic sources you refer to as you are researching a topic and collecting references. It is important to note the exact URL link or web address for any electronic source you use. This article will show examples of citations from a variety of electronic sources.

Things to Know Before You Start

A few mentionables before we dive in:

Type of Source:

  • Review the source carefully to determine if it is an online news article, journal article, government report, blog post, etc. The format of the citation is slightly different in each case.

Date of Publication:

  • Always look for the date of the electronic publication. Sometimes it is near the top of the webpage, other times it is at the very bottom.
  • You may have to use the date that it was last updated or a copyright date.
  • Do not use a "last reviewed" date because there may not have been any changes or updates.
  • If there is no date, then put "n.d." where you would have put the date in the citation.

Retrieval Date:

  • The 7th edition of the APA Publication Manual no longer requires a "Retrieved [date], from URL" statement before DOIs and URLs.
  • A special exception is when you are using a source that is not archived and is subject to updates over time (for example, Wikipedia, online dictionaries, encyclopedias), or when using n.d. for an open-date webpage. In these cases, you would want to include the date you retrieved the article like this "Retrieved November 11, 2023, from https://www.psychology.site.URL..."

DOI or URL:

  • When available, include the digital object identifier (DOI) hyperlink at the end of the citation as this will be the most stable, long-lasting link.
  • If there is no DOI, use the URL instead. However, do not include the URL if the article is from a database, as it is subject to change leaving you with a dead link.
  • Do not place a period at the end of the hyperlink.

Proper APA Format for Electronic Sources

The following examples can help you prepare your electronic references in proper APA format.

Online Periodicals and Journal Articles

Online periodicals and journal articles should be cited exactly like printed journal articles, with the addition of the DOI link (if there is one) at the end of the citation. If there is no DOI then include the URL. The basic structure is as follows:

Author, A. B., Author, C. D., & Author, E. F. (Year). Title of article in sentence case. Title of Periodical in Italics and Capitalize Each Word , Volume (Issue), X-XX. DOI or URL https://doi.org/xxxx.no period

For example:

  • Jenet, B. L. (2006). A meta-analysis on online social behavior. Journal of Internet Psychology, 4 (2), 12-19 . https://doi.org/10.32777/jip.1999.07.07.49

Articles Retrieved From a Database

Articles that are retrieved from online databases (such as PubMed, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and Scopus) are formatted similarly to an online or printed journal with one exception. If there is a DOI number, include it at the end of the citation; however, if there is no DOI, then do not include the URL in its place. According to the APA Publication Manual, it is not necessary to include the database information or the URL in the citation since the URL information may change over time creating a dead link.

Example from PubMed with DOI:

  • Henriques, J. B., & Davidson, R. J. (1991). Left frontal hypoactivation in depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 100 (4), 535-545. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.100.4.535

Example from PubMed without DOI, URL not included:

  • Schaffer, C. E., Davidson, R. J., & Saron, C. (1983). Frontal and parietal electroencephalogram asymmetry in depressed and nondepressed subjects.  Biological Psychiatry ,  18 (7), 753–762.

Website or webpage

When you search the web from your internet browser, you may decide to use a website or webpage as one of your sources of information. Examples include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Cleveland Clinic, and so on. Whether it is a university, a foundation, or a government organization, you will use the following format:

Author, A. A. or Group or Organization Name. (Year, Month Day of publication). Title of webpage or article in italics and sentence case . Website Name/Publisher/Parent Organization - only include if different from the author. URL

  • Cherry, K. (2023, November 8). Support and criticism of Piaget's stage theory . Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/support-and-criticism-of-piagets-stage-theory-2795460
  • National Alliance for Mental Health. (n.d.). Mental health in schools . Retrieved November 11, 2023, from https://www.nami.org/Advocacy/Policy-Priorities/Improving-Health/Mental-Health-in-Schools
  • National Institute of Mental Health. (n.d). Depression . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. Retrieved November 11, 2023, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression

There are a number of news websites such as BBC, Huffpost, NPR, Reuters, Guardian, and Vox. These news organizations that have their articles published on the internet (and not in print), will be referenced in the same format as other websites as mentioned above.

  • Hales, L. (2023, October 28). ‘Why would you find me attractive?’: The body disorder that needs more attention . The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/29/why-would-you-find-me-attractive-the-body-disorder-that-needs-more-attention

However, some news publications can be found online and in print , such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Newsweek Magazine. In these cases, the name of the publishing organization is in italics instead of the title of the article.

  • Hayasaki, E. (2014, November 19). The end to eyewitness testimonies. Newsweek. https://www.newsweek.com/2014/11/28/end-eyewitness-testimonies-285414.html

Online Guides, Government Reports, Fact Sheets

Citations for business reports, technical guides, and government reports that are published on the web require that you place the report number or publication number in parentheses after the title of the report. The basic format is as follows.

Author, A.A., Group, or Organization. (Year, Month Day). Title of report in italics and sentence case (report number if provided). Name of Organization/Parent Organization if Different from Author. URL

  • U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2023, July 11). COVID-19: GAO recommendations can help federal agencies better prepare for future public health emergencies (GAO-23-106554). https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-23-106554

Electronic Version of a Book

In this modern age, books are being published electronically in various formats such as ebooks, audiobooks, kindle books, and pdf versions you can download. You can "check out" ebooks from the library and you may be using free online college textbooks from open educational resources (OER).

Nevertheless, your citation will have the same nuances as a typical printed book reference except that you include the DOI or URL at the end of the citation. The basic structure is as follows:

Author, A. A., & Author, B. B. (Copyright Year). Title of the book in italics and sentence case (Xth ed.). Name of Publisher. DOI or URL

Exception to the Rule: You only have to indicate that it is an electronic book if the text of the online book is different from the print version of the book (edited, abridged, etc). In that case, after the title of the book, indicate in brackets if it is a special format such as a Kindle, an audiobook, or another type of ebook format. The basic structure is as follows:

Author, A. A. (Copyright Year). Title of the book in italics and sentence case [Kindle Edition]. Name of Publisher. DOI or URL

  • Freud, S. (2016). Totem and taboo: Resemblances between the psychic lives of savages and neurotics . [Kindle Edition]. HardPress. http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/37065.kindle.images

Online Forums, Discussion Lists, Blogs, or Newsgroups

Messages posted by users on forums, blogs, discussion lists, and newsgroups can be great sources of information, and the APA format for these citations has some unique features to take note of.

  • Use the author's real name followed by their screen name in brackets. If you do not have their real name, list their screen name without brackets.
  • Provide the title of the post, up to the first 20 words in italics and sentence case.
  • If it is the original post, indicate the type of post in brackets after the title [Blog Post], [Online forum post],
  • If it is a comment to a post, indicate that it is a comment along with the title of the post. It will look something like this [Comment on the discussion forum post I'm a forensic psychologist specializing in cults. Ask me anything ."].
  • Provide the name of the online hosting platform for the post (examples: Reddit, Mind Hacks).
  • Provide the exact URL for the post. If it is a comment to a post, provide the exact URL for the comment rather than the link to the whole post.

To copy the URL of the comment itself (rather than the URL of the whole post), click the share button or select the date stamp of the comment and then copy that specific URL.

  • Rutledge, P. (2023, November 2). 7 ways to help kids cope with war images on social media [Blog post]. The Media Psychology Blog. https://www.pamelarutledge.com/blog-3/
  • Myer, J.L. [817_Judy]. (2007, January 12). Why do people keep joining cults? I just lost another family member to a charismatic cult leader [Comment on the cult discussion forum post I'm a forensic psychologist specializing in cults. Ask me anything ."]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/6whpqs/judy_is_here/lea82mk/

Tweets, Instagrams, TikTok Posts

Similar to blogs and forums, there are a number of ways to communicate through social media including Twitter, FaceBook, TikTok, and so on. If it is a general post and not a personal communication, you will list it as a source in your references. Here are a few things to know:

  • Use the author's real name if it is available followed by their handle [@username] in brackets.
  • Provide the exact date of the post.
  • The title includes up to the first 20 words of the post, in italics and sentence case.
  • If the tweet includes an image, a video, a poll, or a thumbnail image with a link, indicate that in brackets after the title: [Image attached], [Video attached], [Thumbnail with link attached].
  • Identify if it is a Tweet, Instagram, or other form of social media post in brackets [Tweet].
  • Provide the name of the hosting platform (Example: TikTok).
  • Provide the exact URL for the post or comment.

The first 20 words of a post may include emojis, hashtags, and other URLs. These should be included in the 'title,' and each counts as one word. Although the title is formatted in italics, do not italicize the emojis.

  • LePera, N. [@theholisticpsyc]. (2023, November 12).  Emotionally immature parents have very primitive and child-like responses to the world around them . [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/Theholisticpsyc/status/1723698976246165732

More Tips for Citing Electronic Sources

Interviews and emails should not be included on your References page, although they should be cited in the text as personal communication .

The APA also provides information on the preferred spelling of several electronic terms, including the following:

  • email (no longer hyphenated)
  • ejournal, ereader, ebook (all lowercase, no hyphens)
  • internet (no longer capitalized)
  • the web, webpage, website
  • emoji, emojis (plural)

A Word From Verywell

Getting the hang of APA format can sometimes be a struggle, but it is well worth the investment. Electronic sources require special consideration as the format of your references may be different depending on where you found the information.

Utilize this guide as a start, but always be sure to check your work against the guidelines issued in the most current edition of the APA Publication Manual.

American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . Seventh Edition; 2020.

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

404 Not found

Banner

Citing Sources: Internet Sources - APA

  • Understanding Citations
  • In-Text Citations- MLA
  • Articles - MLA
  • Books - MLA
  • Internet Sources - MLA
  • Reference Sources- MLA
  • Audiovisual/Images - MLA
  • Shakespeare and MLA
  • PowerPoint and MLA
  • Works Cited page - Quick Guide
  • In-text Citations - APA
  • Articles - APA
  • Books - APA
  • Reference Sources- APA
  • Internet Sources - APA
  • Audiovisual/Images - APA
  • Reference page
  • Footnotes - Chicago
  • Citing Religious Texts
  • Tutorials to help you use NoodleTools effectively.
  • NoodleTools - Using Notecards
  • Research Process This link opens in a new window
  • Paraphrasing This link opens in a new window

Evaluating Websites

More information is provided in the Research Guide about evaluating websites. The acronym C.R.A.A.P. cas serve as a quick reminder:

The CRAAP Test  

C urrency :  

Is the information up-to-date for your topic?

R elevance : 

Does the information relate to your topic and is it at a good reading level for you?

A uthority:  

Who is the author (or publisher, source, sponsor) and are they qualified to write about the topic?

Does the language seem unbiased and are there no grammatical errors?

What is the reason for the site? Is it to inform and teach or is it designed to sell, entertain, or persuade? 

(Adapted from the Meriam Library, California State University, Chico and the Michigan Library Association CRAAP Test Worksheet)

This LibGuide is based on the APA Citations LibGuide  created by Montgomery College Libraries. The content and format are used with permission.

The APA Formatting Style Guide by OWL  at  Purdue was also used with permission.

APA Citation Guide from Columbia College was also used with permission.

General Information - APA and Internet Sources

Internet Sources  are difficult to cite because the information available is not consistent. When creating your citation, follow the citation guidelines and use as much information as you have.  

  • Alphabetize your reference list  by the first word of the citation (usually the author's last name).
  • Double space  all of the citations on your reference page.
  • Indent  the second & following lines of the citation 5-7 spaces.  
  • For 2-7 authors:  Wingert, P., Smith, J., & Brown, P.
  • For more than 7 authors: List the first six authors, then put an ellipses  (. . .)  before the final author’s name.
  • Only capitalize the first word of the document title . If there is a colon in the title, capitalize the first word after the colon.
  • Vol., issue, and pages  may not always be available on Internet sources.  If they are not used, the name of the journal is all that can be provided in the reference list.
  • No Date : Use n.d. (no date) when a publication date is not available.
  • URL:  Break a URL that goes to another line after a slash or before a period.
  • No period  after URL address is required.

Creating an Entry for Internet Resoures in a Reference List

  • Reference List - Web Sites NoodleTools will help you create a citation for different types of article formats. For examples of the various citations, please use the APA Reference List: Electronic Sources from OWL at Purdue.

Referring to a Web Site

If you reference an entire Web site (not a specific part of or document on the site), you may just give the URL address in the text. No entry is needed in the Reference List.

In the text of your paper, cite like this:

The Maryland Nurses Association Web site offers information about membership ( http://www.marylandrn.org ).

In-text Citations with APA - Electronic Sources with No Page Numbers

A database source is NOT the same as an Internet source. Most sites do not reproduce the article exactly as it was published in the original journal or magazine. If you find an article on a news website, such as the BBC site or CBC site please remember to cite the source as a website.

Use author or title and year.  For an electronic source without pages but with numbered paragraphs, use “para.” and the paragraph number. If there are no numbered paragraphs, provide a section header.

Format Signal phrase, "quote" (Author, Year).

Signal phrase, "quote" (Shortened title, Year).

Example According to a study, "Twins reared apart report similar feelings" (Palfrey, 2005, Conclusions section).

In-text Citations with APA - Electronic Sources with No Publication Date

Use the abbreviation “n.d.” for “no date.” 

If there are no page numbers on an electronic source, you can use numbered paragraphs. Use "para." and paragraph number or provide a section header.

Format Signal phrase with author’s name (n.d.), “quote” (p. page number). Signal phrase, “quote” (Author, n.d., p. page number).

Example According to Magnus (n.d.), "it has been difficult to identify a connection between watching television and eating habits" (p. 67).

APA Checklist - Quick Guide for Printing

  • APA Checklist
  • SPHS Science APA Paper Guide

For more information on APA from OWL at Purdue

  • APA Sample Paper
  • Formatting Tables, Figures, and Equations
  • APA Formatting and Style Guide
  • APA Syle Reference List: How to Reference Newspaper, Newsletter, & Magazine Articles

Citation Tools

apa owl electronic sources

APA Videos created by Memorial University

  • Referencing Sources in APA: A Basic Introduction
  • APA Style Reference List: How to Reference Websites
  • APA Style Reference List: How to Reference eBooks
  • APA Style Reference Canadian Government Documents
  • How to Reference a Citation Within a Citation in APA Style
  • << Previous: Reference Sources- APA
  • Next: Audiovisual/Images - APA >>
  • Last Updated: Nov 14, 2023 9:43 AM
  • URL: https://stpauls-mb.libguides.com/citations

Purdue Online Writing Lab Purdue OWL® College of Liberal Arts

MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

OWL logo

Welcome to the Purdue OWL

This page is brought to you by the OWL at Purdue University. When printing this page, you must include the entire legal notice.

Copyright ©1995-2018 by The Writing Lab & The OWL at Purdue and Purdue University. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, reproduced, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our terms and conditions of fair use.

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (9 th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.

Best Practices for Managing Online Sources

Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).

It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources

If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Use the following format:

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing an Entire Web Site

When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.

Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

Course or Department Websites

Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.

Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.

English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.

A Page on a Web Site

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.

Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.”  eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.

“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ”   WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Silva, Paul J.  How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.

Note:  The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.

Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ”   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print

Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.

Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ”   Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.

Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ”  Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ”   Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ”   Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

A YouTube Video

Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

A Comment on a Website or Article

List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.

Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ”  ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

COMMENTS

  1. Reference List: Electronic Sources

    Cite Using citation machines responsibly Powered by Please note: the following contains a list of the most commonly cited electronic sources. For a complete list of how to cite electronic sources, please refer to the 7 th edition of the APA Publication Manual. Webpage or Piece of Online Content

  2. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    Basic Rules Basic guidelines for formatting the reference list at the end of a standard APA research paper Author/Authors Rules for handling works by a single author or multiple authors that apply to all APA-style references in your reference list, regardless of the type of work (book, article, electronic resource, etc.) Articles in Periodicals

  3. Reference List: Electronic Sources

    Reference List: Electronic Sources - Purdue OWL® - Purdue University - APA Format: A Quick Guide Purdue OWL Research and Reference APA Mode (7th Edition) APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition) Reference List: Electronic Sources Reference Inventory: Electronic Sources

  4. APA Style 6th Edition Blog: Electronic references

    Note: For examples and guidelines for citing government reports in seventh edition APA Style, see the Reports and Gray Literature section of the seventh edition reference examples page. The examples here are in sixth edition APA Style. by Chelsea Lee. The basic citation for a government report follows the author - date - title - source ...

  5. Citing electronic sources using APA referencing

    Electronic sources include websites, emails, films, television programs, social media, podcasts and radio broadcasts, online journals and eBooks. How do I cite electronic resources using APA style? Referencing electronic resources can be confusing—it's difficult to know which information to include or where to find it.

  6. Electronic Sources

    Email Examples are taken directly from either Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL) or from Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition. Please be advised that your instructor and the APA manual are the final authority on formatting, mechanics and citing references. This guide provides basic information only.

  7. APA Formatting and Style Guide

    This resource was written by David Neyhart and Erin Karper. Last full revision by Jodi Wagner. Last edited by Dana Lynn Driscoll on May 17th 2007 at 3:24PM. Summary: APA (American Psychological Association) is most commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. This resource, revised according to the 5th edition of the APA manual, offers examples for the general format of APA ...

  8. Academic Guides: Reference List: Electronic Source References

    Basics of Citing Electronic Sources. Most of the sources Walden students cite will be electronic because you primarily use an online library. Electronic source reference entries often have additional components (like electronic retrieval information): Author. (Publication date).

  9. APA

    Common APA Errors. Below is a reminder of some common formatting details that sometimes are overlooked. Line Spacing: double-space the reference list. Hanging indent: indent all but the first line of each entry (the opposite of how you indent a paragraph). Italicization: book titles, journal titles and volume number are italicized; do not ...

  10. PDF APA Style for Electronic Sources (American Psychological Association)

    APA style requires that sources receive attribution in the text by the use of parenthetical in-text references. General guidelines for in-text references are included on the last page of this guide. Where available, the doi (digital object identifier) number should be used to provide access information for electronic materials.

  11. APA Style Guide

    The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Seventh Edition is the official source for APA Style. Purdue's OWL (Online Writing Lab) provides instruction on how to use APA 7th. Below are a few topics covered by the OWL. APA Style Introduction APA 7th.

  12. Citing Electronic Sources

    The Online Writing Lab (OWL) of Purdue University provides useful examples of citing electronic sources for each style: American Psychological Association (APA) Modern Language Association (MLA) Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) Citations of electronic sources often require the URL or the name of the database from which you retrieved the information.

  13. Research Guides: Citing Sources & Avoiding Plagiarism: APA Style

    Purdue OWL: APA Citation - Electronic Sources. In-Text Citations. Material from your paper that's from another source needs to be cited both in the text immediately after the cited material (in-text or parenthetical citation) and at the end of the paper in the works cited. However, if you mention information about the source in the text of your ...

  14. Electronic Sources in APA Format

    Trending Videos. There are a number of special style concerns for citing electronic sources in APA format. Electronic sources such as online periodicals, ebooks, websites, and message boards all have unique formatting requirements, not to mention YouTube videos, podcasts, Facebook posts, and tweets.

  15. Reference List: Electronic Sources

    Note: Those page reflects the latest version of the APA Book Manual (i.e., APA 7), who released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here. Essential Note: Some digital citations necessitate the use of brackets. APA style dictates that brackets should directly surround their content excluding spaces (e.g., [bracketed content] should look like this).

  16. Reference List: Electronic Sources

    Note: This home reflects the latest version of the APA Publication Manual (i.e., APA 7), welche released in October 2019. The equivalent resource for the older APA 6 style can be found here. Important Note: Some electronic citations necessitate the use of brackets. APA style dictates ensure brackets should directly encompass their content without spaces (e.g., [bracketed content] should look ...

  17. Internet Sources

    The APA Formatting Style Guide by OWL at Purdue was also used with permission. APA Citation Guide from Columbia College was also used with permission. ... For examples of the various citations, please use the APA Reference List: Electronic Sources from OWL at Purdue. Referring to a Web Site. Format. If you reference an entire Web site (not a ...

  18. PDF Using "et al." in APA 7: A Quick Rundown

    Typically, "et al." will be used when referring to source material by three or more authors within the body text of a paper. A source with one author will, of course, always just be referenced by their own name (e.g., Smith (2018) states…). A source with two authors will always be referenced in full (e.g., Johnson and Smith (2019) state…).

  19. MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

    MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications) The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any ...