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Citing Sources: Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

Learn how to cite your sources using a citation style.

Tips

Authors/Editors

If an encyclopedia or dictionary entry has no author or editor, begin the citation with the title of the specific entry, followed by the year of publication in round brackets.

Titles

Capitalize the first letter of the first word of the title of the entry and the title of the encyclopedia or dictionary. 

Capitalize the first letter of proper names in titles, such as names of places or people. Example: Canada

Place of Publication

For cities in the US and Canada list the city name and the province or state code. For other countries, list the city name and the country. Examples: Toronto, ON ; Tokyo, Japan\

Publication Information for Online Encyclopedias and Dictonaries 

Don't include the place of publication or a publisher for an online encyclopedia or dictionary.

Some electronic content is assigned a unique number called a Digital Object Identifier (D O I). If a D O I is provided for an encyclopedia or dictionary, include it after the name of the encyclopedia or dictionary of the entry and edition as "doi:doi number". 

You do not need to put a period after a D O I number

If no doi number is given, Seneca Libraries recommends that you add Retrieved from ______________ database as opposed to the URL for an entry or database. This is to avoid difficulties with links.

If you have a doi number and would like to look up an item with it, click here and enter the doi number where indicated.

If you accessed the encyclopedia or dictionary through a website, provide the url instead.


In-Text Citation - No Author

 

If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter. The title of the entry will be followed by a comma and the year of publication. If you are quoting directly from the entry, you will also add the number of the page where the quote appears.

Example:

Paraphrasing:

("Cat Care," 2011)

Quoting:

("Cat Care," 2011, p. 38)

In-Text Citation - Page Numbers

Page numbers may not be available for an online dictionary or encyclopedia entry. Here are some options if you have no page numbers and you are quoting directly:

If paragraph numbers are given, use that number where you'd normally put the page number with the word "para." in front of it. Example: (Smith, 2012, para. 3). This example refers to the third paragraph in the entry

If you have no paragraph numbers, but the entry has section headings, you can use those. Encyclopedia entries often have section headings. Enter the section heading name, followed by the word "section" and then the number of the paragraph within that section.  Example: (Smith, 2012, Climate section, para. 2). This example refers to the second paragraph under the Climate section of the entry.

If you have no paragraph numbers and no headings, as may be the case for many dictionary entries, skip the page/paragraph/section information and give the author's last name and date only. Example: (Smith, 2012)

 

Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Known Author - No D O I

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Edition if given and after first edition ed.). Retrieved from Database Name database.

Example

Carruthers, E.P. (2002). Nursing. In Funk & Wagnalls new world encyclopedia. Retrieved from Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia database.

In-Text Paraphrase (Carruthers, 2002)
In-Text Quote

(Carruthers, 2002, Functions and Duties section, para. 2)

Note: When there are no visible page numbers or paragraph numbers, you may cite the section heading and the number of the paragraph in that section to identify where your quote came from.


Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Known Author - With D O I

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Edition if given and after first edition ed.). doi: doi number


Example

Gannon, P. (n.d.). Brain evolution. In Accessscience Mcgraw-Hill encyclopedia of science and technology (10th ed.). doi: 10/1036/1097-8542.YB040925

In-Text Paraphrase (Gannon, n.d.)
In-Text Quote

(Gannon, n.d., Comparative Anatomy section, para. 1)

Note: When there are no visible page numbers or paragraph numbers, you may cite the section heading and the number of the paragraph in that section to identify where your quote came from.

Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary From Library Database - Unknown Author - No D O I

Title of entry. (Year of Publication). In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Edition if given and after the first edition ed.). Retrieved from Database Name database.

Example

Landscape gardening. (2004). In K. Barber (Ed.), The Canadian Oxford dictionary (2nd ed.). Retrieved from Oxford Reference Online database.

In-Text Paraphrase ("Landscape Gardening," 2004)
In-Text Quote

("Landscape Gardening," 2004)

Note: This entry has no page numbers, paragraph numbers or section headings so this information is left out of the citation.

If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter. 

 

Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Edition if given and after first edition ed.). Retrieved from url

Example

Beckwith, J., & Foley, D. (2012). Music composition. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/music-composition

In-Text Paraphrase (Beckwith & Foley, 2012)
In-Text Quote

(Beckwith & Foley, 2012)

Note: This entry has no page numbers, paragraph numbers or section headings so this is left out of the citation.

Online Encyclopedia or Dictionary From a Website - Unknown Author

Title of entry. (Year of Publication). In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Edition if given and after the first edition ed.). Retrieved from url

Example

Acetone. (2012). In Macmillan dictionary. Retrived from http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/acetone 

In-Text Paraphrase ("Acetone," 2012)
In-Text Quote

("Acetone," 2012)

Note: This entry has no page numbers, paragraph numbers or section headings so this is left out of the citation.

If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter. 

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry In Print - Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Volume number, pp. first page of entry-last page of entry). Publication City, Province, State or Country: Publisher Name often shortened.

Example

King, P.N., & Wester L. (1998). Hawaii. In The world book encyclopedia (Vol. 9, pp. 88-110). Chicago, IL: World Book. 

In-Text Paraphrase (King & Wester, 1998)
In-Text Quote

(King & Wester, 1998, p. 90)


Encyclopedia or Dictionary In Print - Unknown Author

Title of entry. (Year of Publication). In Editor's First Initial. Second Initial if given. Last Name (Ed.), Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Volume number if any, pp. first page of entry-last page of entry or p. page number for one page entry). Publication City, Province, State or Country: Publisher Name often shortened.

Example

Crop circles. (2007). In Chambers dictionary of the unexplained (p. 27). Edinburgh, Scotland: Chambers. 

In-Text Paraphrase ("Crop Circles," 2007)
In-Text Quote

("Crop Circles," 2007, p. 27)

Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry has no author, the in-text citation should include the title of the entry. The title of the entry should be in quotation marks, with each word starting with a capital letter.