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Citing Sources: Encyclopedias & Dictionaries

We are transitioning to APA 7th ed. Check with your professor to see which APA edition they require.

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

Publication Information for Online Encyclopedias and Dictonaries 

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

You do not need to put a period after a DOI.

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

Retrieval Dates

Do not include a retrieval date unless entries are updated over time and are not archived.

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," 2019)

Quoting:

("Cat Care," 2019, 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, 2018, 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, 2018, 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, count the paragraphs manually and include the paragraph number preceded by "para." If the resouce consists only of a single paragraph, 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, 2018)

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Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry From Library Database - Individual 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 is not first edition., p. or pp. page number or numbers). Publisher name. DOI if given

Example

Nader, K. (2012). Early interventions. In C. R. Figley (Ed.), Encyclopedia of trauma: An interdisciplinary guide (pp. 219-222). Sage. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781452218595

In-Text Paraphrase (Nader, 2012)
In-Text Quote

(Nader, 2012, p. 221)

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry From Library Database - Corporate or Group Author

Name of Institution or Group. (Year of Publication). Title of entry. In Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (edition if given and is not first edition., p. or pp. page number or numbers). Publisher name. DOI if given

Example

Merriam-Webster, Incorporated. (2004). Plangent. In The Merriam-Webster dictionary (p. 550). 

Note: Because the author and publisher for this dictionary are the same, the publisher name is omitted to avoid repetition.

In-Text Paraphrase (Merriam-Webster, 2004)
In-Text Quote

(Merriam-Webster, 2004, p. 550)

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry From Library Database - 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 not the first edition., p. or pp. page number or numbers). Publisher. DOI if given

Example

Landscape gardening. (2004). In K. Barber (Ed.), The Canadian Oxford dictionary (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. http://doi.org/10.1093/acref/9780195418163.001.0001

Note: As this dictionary has no page numbers, this element is omitted from the citation. 

In-Text Paraphrase

("Landscape Gardening," 2004)

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. 

In-Text Quote

("Landscape Gardening," 2004)

Note: This entry has no page numbers, or section headings, and consists of only a single paragraph, so this information is omitted from the in-text citation. 

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry From a Website - Individual 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.). Publisher Name. URL

Example

Munn, R.E. & Brook, J. R. (2015). Air pollution. In The Canadian Encyclopedia. Historica Canada. https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/air-pollution

Note: As this encyclopedia has no named editor, this element is omitted from the reference.

In-Text Paraphrase (Munn & Brook, 2015)
In-Text Quote

(Munn & Brook, 2015, Effects of Air Pollutants section, para. 2)

NoteWhen 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.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry From a Website - Corporate or Group Author

Name of Institution or Group. (Year of Publication).Title of entry. In Name of encyclopedia or dictionary (Edition if given and not first edition). Publisher Name if different from author. URL

Example

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Just-world hypothesis. In APA dictionary of psychology. Retrieved March 6, 2020, from https://dictionary.apa.org/just-world-hypothesis

Note: Because the author and publisher for this dictionary are the same, the publisher name is omitted to avoid repetition. A retrieval date is included because entries in this dictionary are updated over time and not archived. 

In-Text Paraphrase (American Psychological Association, n.d.)
In-Text Quote

(American Psychological Association, n.d.)

Note: As this entry has no page numbers and contains only a single paragraph, page numbers, section headings and paragraph numbers are omitted from the reference.

Encyclopedia or Dictionary Entry 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 not the first edition). Publisher Name. URL

Example

Acetone. (n.d.). In Macmillan dictionary. MacMillan. Retrieved February 21, 2020 from http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/acetone 

Note: If a dictionary or encyclopedia entry is not dated and may change over time, include a retrieval date before the URL. This is not necessary if the work is dated, or for an archived version of a web page. 

In-Text Paraphrase ("Acetone," n.d.)
In-Text Quote

("Acetone," n.d.)

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

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 not first ed., Volume number if given, pp. first page of entry-last page of entry or p. page number for one page entry). Publisher Name. DOI if given

Example

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

Note: As this encyclopedia has no named editor, this element is omitted from the reference.

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

(King & Wester, 1998, p. 90)