Citing Electronic Publications

M​ost Scholarly and Professional Style Manuals now include advice on how to cite sources.

Although a citation to a publication in electronic format follows basically the same principles as a citation to a paper document, citing electronic publications presents its own peculiar challenges. For instance:

  • A document may only have a file name instead of a title, or a login name instead of an author.
  • The content of a Web site may change frequently without notice, so that the date a site is accessed becomes more important than a publication date or edition. 
  • The concept of pagination as it pertains to paper publications has little or no meaning with reference to an electronic document. 

The following sources provide guidance on how to cite electronic sources so that the relevant information can be identified consistently and accurately, and the source can be retrieved by the reader when necessary.

When citing an electronic source, it is better to risk providing too much information rather than too little. Be sure that your reader has enough information to go back to your source if necessary.

General G​uides

  • Research and Documentation Online
  • Provides models for citing Internet sources in the MLA, APA, CSE, and Chicago styles. Also has advice on finding and evaluating online information.
  • The Columbia Guide to Online Style
  • Comprehensive guide to citing Internet sources. Also provides complete guidelines for formatting documents for online publication and for electronically preparing texts for print publication.
  • Electronic Styles: A Handbook for Citing Electronic Information
  • Based on APA and MLA styles, embellished to accommodate the unique features of electronic information. Includes a chapter focusing on legal, government, and international documents. Drawbacks: does not include samples of Chicago/Turabian style, and it has not been updated since 1996. For an adaptation of their principles to a modified Chicago/Turabian style, see Citing Electronic Information in History Papers, by Maurice Crouse.

APA Style

APSA Style

Chicago/Turabian Style

MLA Style

Legal Materials