APA Citations: Electronic

Guidelines and examples for citing research sources using APA format. Also includes information on citation generators.

Citation Examples - E-books/Non-Periodicals

Citation Examples - Other Electronic Sources

URL vs. DOI


The primary focus of APA Style is publication in scientific journals. The scientific community agrees that journal articles should a. represent research not previously published; b. be reviewed by peers before being published; and c. be retrievable for future reference.

The advent of electronic journal publishing has changed some former models of communicating scientific research especially in the area of retrievability. In the Internet world, article links aren't always stable. The most common locator up until now has been the URL (Uniform Resource Locator). Since information on the Web is frequently moved or even deleted, scholarly publishers have introduced another method for locating research articles, called the DOI (Digital Object Identifier).

URL - is used to map digital information on the Internet. Often referred to as an "internet address," it is still the primary method for retrieving most information on the web.

DOI - Because of the instability of URLs, scientific publishers have created "digital object identifiers," a unique string of alpha-numeric characters assigned by a registration agency to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the web.

When citing scientific or scholarly resources, a DOI is always preferred over a URL if a DOI is available.

Electronic Book (e-book)

Electronic book accessed and read online.

(APA 7.02, ex. 19, 20)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Year of Publication). Book title. Retrieved from http://Web address

Reference List:

Milton, M. (2009). Head first data analysis.
Retrieved from http://proquest.safaribooksonline.com

If the book is available in print and online, provide the publication year of the print book in parentheses after the title. If the book is only available in digital format, put "n.d." in parentheses after the title.

Type "Retrieved from" and provide the URL or DOI of the online location.

If the item is not directly available online or must be purchased, use "Available from" rather than "Retrieved from."

In the Text:

APA uses an "author-date" format for in-text citations. If you are directly quoting from a source you must provide a page number for the reference, preceded by "p." If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, APA encourages you to provide the page number, although it is not required. (APA 6.04, 6.05)

 

In the Text (with signal phrase):

Milton explains that doing data analysis without explicitly defining your problem or goal is like heading out on a road trip without having decided on a destination (2009, chap. 1, "Define the Problem").

 

In the Text (no signal phrase):

Doing data analysis without explicitly defining your problem or goal is like heading out on a road trip without having decided on a destination (Milton, 2009, chap. 1, "Define the Problem").


Many e-books don't have page numbers that correspond to those in the print editions. If an e-book doesn't have page numbers, include any of the following: 1. a paragraph number; 2. an overarching heading (such as a chapter number) plus a paragraph number within that section; or  3. an abbreviated heading in quotation marks if the heading is too long to cite in full.

Electronic Book Read on a Reader

Electronic book

read on a reader

(apastyle.org)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Publication Year).  Book title [Type of e-reader used]. Retrieved from http://xxxxx or doi:xxxxx

Reference List

Rowling, J. K. (1999). Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets  [Nook ebook]. Retrieved from: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/

If no DOI is available, provide the website or software from which you retrieved the book (ex. Amazon.com or Adobe Digital Editions).
 

In the Text:

(Rowling, Chapter 2, para. 2)

Many e-readers don't have page numbers that correspond to those in the print editions. If an e-reader doesn't have page numbers, include any of the following: 1. a paragraph number; 2. an overarching heading (such as a chapter number) plus a paragraph number within that section; or  3. an abbreviated heading in quotation marks if the heading is too long to cite in full.

Entry in an Online Encyclopedia

Online encyclopedia

(APA 7.02, ex. 29, 30; 6.05)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Year of Publication or n.d. if applicable). Title of entry. In Enclopedia title (edition number if applicable). Retrieved from http://Web address

Online Encyclopedia, no author or editor

Title of entry. (Year of Publication or n.d. if applicable). In Encyclopedia title (edition number if applicable). Retrieved from http://Web address

 

Reference List

Ex. 1 - With author

Nelson, M. (2012). Existence. In Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Winter 2012 ed.). Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existence/

Ex. 2 - No author or editor

French Revolution. (2014). In Columbia encyclopedia (6th ed.). Retrieved from http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/French_Revolution.aspx#2

 

If the online version refers to a print edition, include the edition number in parentheses immediately after the title.

 

In the Text:

APA uses an "author-date" format for in-text citations. If you are directly quoting from a source you must provide a page number for the reference, preceded by "p." If you are paraphrasing an idea from another work, APA encourages you to provide the page number, although it is not required. (APA 6.04, 6.05)

Author's name used in text (signal phrase).

According to Nelson, "The second consideration favoring the thesis that existence is not a property of individuals concerns the puzzle of negative singular existentials" ("Frege & Russell," 2012, para. 2).

Author's name not used in text (no signal phrase).

"The direct cause of the [French] Revolution was the chaotic state of government finance . . ." (Origins of the Revolution, 2014, para. 4).

If an electronic source doesn't provide page numbers, use paragraph numbers if they are visible. Use the abbreviation para.

If the document includes headings only (no page or visible paragraph numbers), cite the heading and the number of the paragraph following it.

If the title of the heading is too long to cite in full, use a shortened title enclosed in quotation marks.

 

Entry in an Online Dictionary (no author or editor)

Online dictionary

No author or editor

(APA 7.02, ex. 30)

Basic Format

Title of entry. (Year of Publication or n.d. if no date is available). In Book title (edition number if applicable) [Non-routine information if applicable]. Retrieved from http://Web address

Reference List

Citation. (n.d.).  In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary (11th ed.) [Def. 3].  Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/citation
 

If the online version refers to a print edition, include the edition number in parentheses immediately after the source title.

Place information about editions, volume numbers, and page numbers, etc. in parentheses following the source title, with the period after the parentheses.


If nonroutine information is important for identification and retrieval, provide it in brackets immediately after the source title and any parenthetical information. Capitalize the first letter of the notation.

Entire Website

An entire website

(www.apastyle.org)

Reference List:

When citing an entire website (i.e. to inform readers about the existence of a website or about collections available at the website, provide the URL in the text of the document only.

In theText:

The web site, HowStuffWorks, provides answers to almost anything (http://www.howstuffworks.com/).

Non-Periodical Article from a Website

Non-Periodical article from a website

(APA 6.31; apastyle.org)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Publication date or n.d. if no date). Article title. Retrieved from http://Web address

Reference List:

Ex. 1

Avalanches. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/avalanche-profile/

Ex. 2

Summary report for: 25-4021.00 - Librarians. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.onetonline.org/

 

If there isn't a date available for the document, use n.d. for no date.

If there is no DOI, use the URL for the full document or for the home page, whichever is more likely to lead the reader to the article.

When an Internet document is more than one web page, provide a URL that links to the home page or entry page for the document.

Article from an Online Magazine

Article in an online magazine

(APA 7.01, ex. 8)

 

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Exact Date of Publication). Article title. Magazine Title, Volume number (Issue number if available). Retrieved from http://Web address of magazine home page

Note: Magazines often don't have volume and/or issue numbers. In that case, the exact date of publication is sufficient (ex. Year, Month or Year, Month Day).

Reference List:

Burnsed, B. (2011, April 13). Don't settle when choosing an internship.  U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from http://www.usnews.com

If no DOI is assigned to the article and you retrieved it online, include the URL of the home page of the magazine, preceded by the words "Retrieved from."

Article from an Online Newspaper

Article in an online newspaper

(APA 7.01, ex. 11.)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Exact Date of Publication). Article title. Newspaper Title. Retrieved from http://Web address of newspaper home page

Reference List:

Labaton, S. (2009, October 21). U.S. to order steep pay cuts at firms that got most aid. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com

Provide the URL of the newspaper home page if the article is available by search to avoid non-working URLs.

Scholarly Journal with a DOI

Scholarly journal with a DOI

(APA 6.31; 7.01, ex. 1)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Year of Publication). Article title. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number if available), Page Number(s). doi: DOI Number

Reference List

Boyce, C. A. & Cain, V. S. (2007). Disentangling health disparities through national surveys. American Journal of Public Health, 97(1),10. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.103960

 

Scholarly Journal without a DOI

Scholarly journal without a DOI

(APA 6.31; 7.01, ex. 3)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Year of Publication). Article title. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number if available), Page Number(s). Retrieved from http://Web address of journal home page

Reference List:

Marbley, A. F. (2007).  Finding my voice: An African American female professor at a predominantly white university. Advancing Women in Leadership Online Journal, 22.  Retrieved from http://www.advancingwomen.com


If there is no DOI assigned, give the URL of the journal home page.

Article from a Subscription Database

Subscription Database

(APA 6.32; 7.05, ex. 40, 41.)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Year of Publication). Article title. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number if available), Page Number(s). DOI or Retrieved from http://Web address of journal home page or database name and identifier or database URL.)

Reference List:

Ex. 1
McMillion, R. (2009). A brutal pandemic. ABA Journal, 95(12), 1. Retrieved from http://www.americanbar.org/aba.html
Ex. 2
Voorhees, B. (2008). Treat depressed teens with medication and psychotherapy. Journal of Family Practice, 57(11), 735-739. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com (or Retrieved from Academic Search Complete (Accession No. 46980557)

 

In general, it isn't necessary to include database information. The goal is to direct the reader to the source as effectively as possible. Not everyone will have access to the subscription database.

When a DOI is used with an article in a database, no further information is needed to identify or locate the content.

If no DOI has been assigned to the article, provide the URLof the journal homepage (you may have to do a quick web search to locate the URL.) Transcribe the URL correctly by copying it directly from the address window in your browser and pasting it into your document.

If the database is difficult to search, the URL of the article itself may be better than the URL of the journal homepage.

If the article is available only in the database, include the database name and accession number or the database URL (your choice.)
 

In the Text (with signal phrase):

Voorhees (2008) found that... (p. 736).

In the Text (no signal phrase):

(McMillion, 2009, p. 1).

Abstract of a Journal Article

Abstract of a journal article

(APA 7.01, ex. 16, 17)

Basic Format

Author Last Name, Initial of First Name/Middle Name. (Year of Publication). Article title [Abstract]. Journal Title, Volume Number(Issue Number if available), Page Number(s). Retrieved from xxxx.

Reference List

Ex. 1

Juris, J. S. (2012). Reflections on Occupy Elsewhere: Social media, public space, and emerging logics of aggregation [Abstract]. American Ethnologist, 39(2), 259. Abstract retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com

Although it is preferable to cite the full text of an article, abstracts can be used as sources and included in the reference list.

Ex. 2

Rosenberg, J. (2009). Polygynous marriage linked to higher child mortality [Abstract]. International Perspectives on Sexual & Reproductive Health 35(2), 56. Abstract retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. (Accession No. 43878360)

Database names and abstract identifier (if applicable) may be given for material of limited circulation.

Map Retrieved Online

Map retrieved online

(APA 7.06, ex. 53)

Basic Format

Name of Primary Contributor. (Contribution). (Date Produced). Map title [Type of map]. Retrieved from http://Web address

Reference List:

Powers, D. M. (Cartographer). (2011). Shaded bedrock-topography map of Ohio [Topographic map]. Retrieved from http://ohiodnr.com/geosurvey/

Video Retrieved Online

Video retrieved online

(APA 7.06, ex. 49)

Basic Format

Name of Primary Contributor. (Contribution). (Date Produced). Production title [Format of production]. Retrieved from http://Web address

 

Reference List:

Films for the Humanities & Sciences  (2008). Sustainable communities [Video file]. Retrievable from http://drc.ohiolink.edu/handle/2374.OX/185908

 

List the primary contributors in the author position and use parentheses to identify their contribution if known.

List the format of the item in brackets immediately after the title.

If the item is not directly available online or must be purchased, use "Available from" rather than "Retrieved from."

YouTube (Video Blog)

YouTube

(video blog)

(APA 7.11, ex. 77)

(apastyle.org)

Basic Format

Last Name, Initials of First Name/Middle Name or screen name if no author is available. (Year, Month Day Posted). Subject line of posting [Format of production]. Retrieved from http://Web address

Reference List:  

Dorn, G. [geoffdorn]. (2006, November 17).  How to tie a tie: Expert instruction on how to tie a tie [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/howtovideo

If both the real name of the author and the screen name are available, place the actual name of the author in the author position with the screenname following in brackets.

Use only the screen name if the author's real name is not available. Don't enclose it in brackets.

Titles for items in online communities (e.g. blogs, newsgroups, forums) are not italicized.

Place identifiers like post or message numbers, if available, in brackets.


In theText:

(Dorn, 2006).

In text, cite by the author name that appears outside the brackets. 

 

Podcast

Podcast (audio or video)

(APA 7.06, ex. 50)

Basic Format

Name of Primary Contributor. (Contribution). (Date produced). Production title [Format of production]. Retrieved from http://Web address
 

Reference List:

Glass, I. (Producer). (2012, February 24). Held hostage [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from http://www.thisamericanlife.org/

Blog Post

Blog (Web log) Post

(APA 7.11, ex. 76)

Basic Format

Last Name, Initials of First Name/Middle Name or screen name if no author is available. (Year, Month Day Posted). Subject line of posting [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://Web address

Reference List:

Blog Post

Wilson, S. (2012, July 25). YA Wednesday: Walter Dean Myers made my day [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.omnivoracious.com/2012/07/ya-wednesday-walter-dean-myers-made-my-day.html

Blog Comment

wayfarer. (2012, July 25). Re: YA Wednesday: Walter Dean Myers made my day [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://www.omnivoracious.com/2012/07/ya-wednesday-walter-dean-myers-made-my-day.html

Use a screen name if the author's name is not available.

Titles for items in online communities (e.g. blogs, newsgroups, forums) are not italicized.

Place identifiers like post or message numbers, if available, in brackets.

If available, provide the URL where the message is archived.

Electronic Mailing List (Listserv)

Electronic Mailing List

(APA 7.11, ex. 75)

 

Electronic mailing lists are often referred to as listservs. LISTSERV is a trademarked name for a particular software program so it is more appropriate to use the term Electronic mailing list.  

Basic Format
Last Name, Initials of First Name/Middle Name. (Year, Month Day of post). Subject line of the message [Electronic mailing list]. Retrieved from http://Web address
Reference List:
Filipan, R. (2012, February 1). Attend library careers night----Enter raffle to win an e-reader [Electronic mailing list message]. Retrieved from https://lists.uakron.edu/sympa/arc/alao/2012-02/msg00002.html

Use a screen name if the author's name is not available.

Titles for items in online communities (e.g. blogs, newsgroups, forums) are not italicized.

 Place identifiers like post or message numbers, if available, in brackets.

 Include the name of the list to which the message was posted, if this information isn't part of the URL.

Facebook

Facebook

(apastyle.org)

Information from private or friends-only Facebook pages are not retrievable by everyone, so should be cited as a personal communication in the text of the document only (see Email)

Basic Format
Username or Group Name. (Year or n.d.) or [ca. Year]. In Facebook [Page Type]. Retrieved Month Day, Year from http://www.facebook.com/specific pageURL

If the date is unknown, use n.d. in parentheses. When you are reasonably certain about the date of the post, but it isn't specifically stated, use ca. Year in brackets, not parentheses.

Reference List - Group Page

Columbus State Community College. [ca. 2013]. In Facebook [Group page]. Retrieved April 10, 2013 from https://www.facebook.com/CSCC.edu/posts/149826638520766

Reference List - Fan Page

Grumpy Cat. (n.d.) In Facebook [Fan page]. Retrieved April 17, 2013 from https://www.facebook.com/pages/Grumpy-Cat/232864993520257?hc_location=timeline

Email

 

Email


(Personal Communications)
(APA 7.11)

Emails are considered "personal communications". Since personal communications aren't retrievable, there is no need to put them in the reference list. Instead, parenthetically cite the communicator's name, the phrase "personal communication," and the date of the communication in the text of the document only.

In the Text:

Ex. 1. (J. Smith, personal communication, July 1, 2012).

Ex. 2. Jim Smith advised the students to use APA format (personal communication, July 1, 2012).

Twitter

 

Twitter

(APA 7.11;

apastyle.org)

To cite a Twitter post as a whole or in general, follow the same method you would use to cite an entire website which is to cite the URL in the text of the document, inside parentheses. See citing an entire website.

In the Text:

Ex.  President Obama uses Twitter (https://twitter.com/BarackObama) to keep citizens up to date on new initiatives.

Reference List

Some tweets require a citation in the Reference List and an in-text citation.

When citing a specific tweet post, follow guidelines for citation of online sources such as blogs, electronic mailing lists and other online communities such as Facebook or YouTube.

Basic Format

Last Name, Initials of First Name/Middle Name or screen name if the real name of the author is unknown. [Screen name if both names are known].  (Year, Month Day Posted). Entire text of the Tweet. [Description of form].  Retrieved from http://Web address
Obama, B. [BarackObama]. (2013, April 9). Washington can't get away with ignoring 90% of the country on gun violence prevention. Say you'll keep fighting. [Twitter Post]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/326433885791592448

If the text is too long to include in the citation, use a truncated version of the post.

The URL should lead directly to the post rather than the feed in general to be as direct and specific as possible. Click the date and time stamp beneath the post in question and you will be taken to the individual status update page with its own URL.

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