The last edition of the APA manual was published in 1994. Standards for citing electronic sources have been evolving steadily since that time. More recent style guides recommend eliminating some of the information called for in the APA standards described below (see Harnack and Kleppinger). They also provide formats for citing information not accounted for by the APA manual. We first provide the general principles of electronic citation as given by the Manual of Publication for the American Psychological Association, 4th Edition. Our detailed examples below, however, draw upon both the APA style and those who have adapted it to account for what they have not provided.
Important Note: Be sure to check with your instructor about which electronic sources he or she considers legitimate for the purposes of your research. In general, it is your responsibility to evaluate electronic sources carefully before you use them. Remember that anyone from your little sister to a rocket scientist can "publish" on the internet.
|Online Abstract||Online Posting|
APA/Basic Elements of Electronic Citation
The APA requires that three general elements be included in electronic source documentation, in addition to all the other information generally included in standard source documentation. They are: 1) form of electronic media, 2) availability (location), and 3) date of access. Immediately following are general formats for citing electronic media in an APA "References" list and parenthetically in the text. Examples of specific types of citations may be found below.
APA / Citing Electronic Sources in References section
Each entry in a "References" list should contain the author, year of publication (in parentheses), title, and publishing data. Follow the regular APA guidelines for these elements. In addition, electronic citations should contain the 1) form, 2) availability (i.e., location), and 3) date that the electronic source was accessed by you:
Author's Lastname, Initial(s). (Date of publication or "No Date" if unavailable). Title of work or article [Number of paragraphs]. Title of Complete Work. [Form]. Available: Specify path or URL [date of access].
APA / About Page Numbers
At this time, the APA does not have a style for unpaginated sources. For references which would normally require page numbers (such as journal articles), Li and Crane suggest indicating the length of the document in some way, either by counting paragraphs or estimating the number of pages. (See http://www.uvm.edu/~ncrane/estyles/apa.html.)
APA / Parenthetical References within Your Paper to an Electronic Source
Document sources in the text by citing the author and the date of the work in parentheses (see APA Manual, pp. 168-74). To cite a specific part of a source, indicate the page, chapter, etc. Use page numbers for quotations if possible. Omit them if not available.
From a very young age, children can provide surprisingly accurate descriptions of how they were injured (Peterson 1996).
Online Article in Scholarly Journal
Peterson, C. (1996, January). The preschool child witness [9 paragraphs]. Canadian Journal of Behavioral Science [On-line serial], 26. Available: http:// www.cycor.ca/Psych/cjbs/1996/ful_peterson.html [1997, July 14]. Moran, C. (1998, April). From a high-tech to a low-tech writing classroom: 'You can't go home again' [20 paragraphs]. Computers and Writing [On-line serial],5 (1). Available: http://www.cwrl.utexas.edu/ ~ccjrnl/Archives/v15/15_1_html/15_1_Feature.html> [1998, Sept. 6].
Online Article in a Newspaper
Harmon, A. (1996, Sept. 6). Have laptop, will track each blip in the market [12 paragraphs]. New York Times on the Web [On-line]. Available: http:// www.nytimes.com/library/tech/98/09/biztech/articles/ 06tick.html [1998, Sept. 10]. Sexton, J. (1995, July 29). Career in Bodegas ends in death of man and son [6 paragraphs]. New York Times, p. A21 (late ed.). [On-line]. New York Times Online. Available: Nexis/Lexis [1997, August 5].
Online Article in a Magazine
Jaquet, J. (1998, June 8). Taking back the people's air [7 paragraphs]. The Nation Digital Edition.[On-line]. Available:http://www.TheNation.com/i980608.htm [1998, Sept. 7]. Taggart, S. (1998, Sept. 4). "DNA testing for the dogs [6 paragraphs]. Wired. [On-line]. Available: http:// www.wired.com/news/news/technology/story/14842.html [1998, Sept. 7].
Weintraub, L. (1997, Summer). Inner-city post- traumatic stress disorder. [On-line]. Journal of Psychiatry and Law, 25(2), 249-286. Abstract from: PsycLIT Accession Number: 1998-01611-002.
At this time, the APA does not provide specific instructions as to how to cite World Wide Web sites. The following examples are based on Harnack and Kleppinger's Online! A Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources and the general citation principles given above. Harnack and Kleppinger recommend the use of angle brackets around URLs and have dropped the APA's "Available:" designator. The use of brackets is fast becoming a general standard for URL citation. The date following the author name should be either the copyright or "last updated" date from the website. The date following the URL should be the date that you looked at the website.
Walker, J. (1996). APA-style citations of electronic sources. <http://www.cas.usf.edu/english/ walker/apa.html> [1997, April 29]. Simons, M. (1998, July 1). Thomas Hardy Resource Library. <http://pages.ripco.com:8080/~mws/hardy.html> [1998, Sept. 7].
Duncan, D. (1998, Aug. 1). Homepage. <http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Coffeehouse/1652/> [1998, Sept. 7 ]. Klein-Smith, S. (1998, Aug. 15). Homepage. <http://members.aol.com/~sklein2/> [1998, Sept. 7].
Dickens, C. (1871; 1998, Aug.). Great Expectations. Project Gutenberg. <ftp://uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu/pub/etext/ gutenberg/etext98/grexp10.txt>. Shelley, M.W. (1818; 1995). Frankenstein. M.L. Grant. <http://www.boutell.com/frankenstein/>.
E-mail, chat groups, discussion groups, and messages from electronic bulletin boards are cited as personal communication within your paper. Cite the source in parentheses, using the communicator's full name (if you have not already stated it in your sentence) and the date of the message:
(Wiley Coyote, personal communication, April 30, 1997).
The APA instructs writers to avoid listing email communications in the Reference section (APA, 1994, p. 173-174). However, Harnack and Kleppinger suggest that some writers may feel it prudent to include some scholarly email communications in the references section and provide a format for doing so:
Coyote, W. <email@example.com> (1997, April 30). Re: Acme products. [Personal email]. (1997, May 1).
The APA considers online postings to be a form of personal communication (see Email Communication). Harnack and Kleppinger suggest the following format for those who wish to cite them:
Galloway, P. <firstname.lastname@example.org> (1997, May 14) Spamming. <http://lists.village.virginia.edu/ lists_archive/Humanist/v11/0031.html> (1998, Sept. 6).
CD-ROM (serial and one-time publication)
Reporter, M. (1996, 13 Apr.). Electronic citing guidelines needed. [CD-ROM], p. C1. New York Times, p. C1 (late ed.). [Online]. New York Times Ondisc. UMI-Proquest. [1996, October]. U.S. population and educational attainment. (1990). 1990 U.S. Census of Population and Housing. [CD-ROM]. US Bureau of the Census.
American Psychological Association Publication Manual, 4th ed. (1994). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. Harnack, A., & Kleppinger, E. (1998). Online!: A Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources. New York: St. Martin's Press. http://www.smpcollege.com/online-4styles~help
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The information included in these handouts is, of necessity, generic. Keep in mind that the specific assignment from your course instructor should be your guide, and that you should seek clarification from your instructor if you have any questions.