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Citing Sources: Websites

Learn how to cite your sources using a citation style.

Tips

Author

It can sometimes be difficult to find out who the author of a website is. Remember that an author can be a corporation or group, not only a specific person. Author information can sometimes be found under an "About" section on a website. 

If there is no known author, start the citation with the title of the website instead. 

Date

The best date to use for a website is the date that the content was last updated. Otherwise look for a copyright or original publication date. Unfortunately this information may not be provided or may be hard to find. Often date information is put on the bottom of the pages of a website.

If you do not know the complete date, put as much information as you can find. For example you may have a year but no month or day.

If there is no date provided, put the letters (n.d.) in round brackets where you'd normally put the date.

Retrieval Date

If the content of a website is likely to change over time (e.g. Wikis), you must provide the date you last visited the website. 

Long URLs

If a URL is too long to fit onto one line, try to break it at a slash (/). 

Website by a Corporation, Institution or Group

Corporation/Group/Organization's Name. (Year website was last updated/published, Month Day if given). Title of website. Retrieved Month Day,Year site was last viewed (if content is likely to change of time), from URL

Example

World Health Organization. (2012). Data and statistics. Retrieved March 18, 2013, from http://apps.who.int/research/en/

Note: As this content is likely to change over time, the date the website was viewed was included in the retrieval information. 

In-Text Paraphrase (World Health Organization, 2012)
In-Text Quote

(World Health Organization, 2012, Prevention section)

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. In this example there is only one paragraph under the specific heading, so no paragraph number is needed.

 

Chapter or Section from a Website – Corporate or Group Author

Corporation/Group/Organization's Name. (Year website was last updated/published, Month Day if given). Title of chapter or section: Subtitle if any. In Title of section or page. Retrieved Month Day,Year site was last viewed (if content is likely to change of time), from URL

If the content could change over time, include the Month Day, Year you viewed the site after the word "Retrieved" and before the words "from URL"

Example

Canadian Cancer Society. (2011, November 11). Basic cancer research.  In Canadian Cancer Society. Retrieved Feb 11, 2013, from http://www.cancer.ca/Ontario/ Cancer%20research/Current%20research/Basic%20cancer%20research.aspx?sc_lang=en

Note As this content is likely to change over time, the date the website was viewed was included in the retrieval information. 

In-Text Paraphrase (Canadian Cancer Society, 2011)
In-Text Quote

(Canadian Cancer Society, 2011)

Note: This website section has no page numbers, paragraph numbers or section headings so this information is left out of the in-text citation

 

 

Report or Document from a Website – Corporate or Group Author

Corporation/Group/Organization's Name. (Year report was last updated/published, Month Day if given). Title of report: Subtitle if given. Retrieved Month Day,Year site was last viewed (if content is likely to change of time), from URL

If the content could change over time, include the Month Day, Year you viewed the site after the word "Retrieved" and before the words "from URL"

Example

College of Nurses of Ontario. (2009). Practice standard: Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.cno.org/docs/prac/41034_Ethics.pdf

NoteThis document is unlikely to change over time so no retrieval date is required. Likely a brand new document with a new URL would take its place. 

In-Text Paraphrase (College of Nurses of Ontario, 2009)
In-Text Quote

(College of Nurses of Ontario, 2009, p. 4)

 

Website with a Known Author

Author's Last Name, First Initial. Second Initial if Given. (Year website was updated/published, Month Year if given). Title of website. Retrieved Month Day, Year site was last viewed (if content likely to change), from URL

Example

Mabillard, A. (2011, December 29). Shakespeare online. Retrieved June 19, 2012, from http://www.shakespeare-online.com/

Note: As this content is likely to change over time, the date the website was viewed was included in the retrieval information. 

In-Text Paraphrase (Mabillard, 2001)
In-Text Quote

(Mabillard, 2001, Elizabethan Fashion Faux Pas section)

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. In this example there is only one paragraph under the specific heading, so no paragraph number is needed.

Website with an Unknown Author

Title of website. (Year website was last updated/published, Month Day). Retrieved Month Day, Year site was last viewed (if content likely to change), from URL

Example

Margaret Atwood. (n.d.). Retrieved June 18, 2012, from http://www.margaretatwood.ca/

Note: Because Margaret Atwood is a person's name, it is capitalized in the title.

No date could be found for the website so n.d. is used where you'd normally put the date.

It is not clear who is the author of this website, it could be Margaret Atwood herself, her assistant, her publisher, etc. Because of this it is treated as a website with no known author.

In-Text Paraphrase

(Margaret Atwood, n.d.)

Note: Choose one or more words from the title of the website, enough to make it clear which website is being referred to.

In-Text Quote

(Margaret Atwood, n.d., What's On My Desk section, para. 3)

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.