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APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : No Author, No Date etc.

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No page numbers.

No Title 

No Database Name

If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title/name of the item you are citing instead. Follow the title/name of the item with the date of publication, and the continue with other citation details.

Note : an author/creator won't necessarily be a person's name. It may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada or a username on a site such a YouTube.

If no author or creator is provided, use a shortened version of the title where you'd normally put the author's last name. 

If you're citing something which is part of a bigger work, like an article from a magazine, newspaper, journal or encyclopedia, or chapter or short story from a book, put the shortened title in quotation marks in your in-text citation. 

Example, paraphrasing: ("A few words", 2014) 

If you're citing an entire work, like a book, website, video, etc., italicize the shortened title in your in-text citation

Example, 'paraphrasing: ( A few words , 2014)

If and only if an item is signed as being created by Anonymous, use "Anonymous" where you'd normally put the author's name.

Alphabetical Order in References List

When putting works in alphabetical order, ignore initial articles such as "the", "a", or "an". For example the title The best of Canada would be alphabetized as if it started with the word best instead of the word The

If the title begins with a number, alphabetize it as if the number was spelled out. For example the title 5 ways to succeed in business would be alphabetized under F as if it had started with the word Five .

If no date is provided, use the initials n.d. where you would normally put the date.

Also use the initials n.d. if the date of content is difficult to determine, such as on a Wikipedia page.

Page numbers may not be provided for some items, such as online materials. If this is the case:

References List

If a citation would normally include page numbers but none are provided, skip the page numbers in the citation.

In-Text Citation - Quoting Directly

When quoting directly in the text of your paper, you would normally include page numbers if they were given. If there are no page numbers given:

  • Indicate the paragraph number instead of the page number with the word "para." before it. For example: (Smith, 2012, para. 3)
  • If there are headings, give the name of the heading, followed by the word "section" and the number of the paragraph within the section it is from. For example: (Smith, 2012, Discussion section, para. 3)
  • If there is only one paragraph, provide the author's last name and the year and omit the page number

Occasionally an item may not have a title. If you are citing something with no identified title, write a description of the item placed in square brackets. Put this description in brackets where you'd normally put the title.

If you find an article through the  search bar  on the main library page, you might be unsure which database the article is from, because this searches across many different databases.

You can find the name of the database a few ways:

Method 1. Click on the title of the article in the search results list. This will bring you to a page with a description of the article as well as other useful information. Scroll down to the bottom of this list of information, and you should see "Database" listed near the bottom.

Method 2. You can also find the name of the database in the summary of information just below the title of the article in the search results list. It will look something like this:

Notice the name of the database is listed at the end.

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MLA 8 Citation Guide

  • TITLE of SOURCE
  • TITLE of CONTAINER
  • OTHER CONTRIBUTORS
  • PUBLICATION DATE
  • Works Cited
  • Journal Article with One Author
  • Journal Article with 2 Authors
  • Journal Article with 3 or more Authors
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • One Author or Editor
  • Two Authors or Editors
  • Three or More Authors
  • Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
  • Article in a Reference Book
  • Reference Work
  • Basic Web Page
  • Entry in a Reference Work
  • Government or Agency Document
  • YouTube Video
  • Electronic Image
  • Figures and Charts
  • Class Lecture/Notes
  • Secondary Sources

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how to cite a source in an essay with no author

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Book with no Author

      MLA recommends working the citation information into the text of the relevant paragraph/section/sentence.

Book with No Author

List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.

Encyclopedia of Indiana . Somerset, 1993.

Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of  In-text Citations: The Basics .

MLA Works Cited Page: Books

how to cite a source in an essay with no author

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Apa quick citation guide.

  • In-text Citation
  • Citing Generative AI
  • Citing Web Pages and Social Media
  • Citing Articles
  • Citing Books
  • Citing Business Reports
  • Other Formats
  • APA Style Quiz

Using In-text Citation

Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list.

APA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the year of publication, for example: (Field, 2005). For direct quotations, include the page number as well, for example: (Field, 2005, p. 14). For sources such as websites and e-books that have no page numbers , use a paragraph number, for example: (Field, 2005, para. 1). More information on direct quotation of sources without pagination is given on the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines web page.

Example paragraph with in-text citation

A few researchers in the linguistics field have developed training programs designed to improve native speakers' ability to understand accented speech (Derwing et al., 2002; Thomas, 2004). Their training techniques are based on the research described above indicating that comprehension improves with exposure to non-native speech.   Derwing et al. (2002) conducted their training with students preparing to be social workers, but note that other professionals who work with non-native speakers could benefit from a similar program.

Derwing, T. M., Rossiter, M. J., & Munro, M. J. (2002). Teaching native speakers to listen to foreign-accented speech.  Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development , 23 (4), 245-259.

Thomas, H. K. (2004).  Training strategies for improving listeners' comprehension of foreign-accented speech  (Doctoral dissertation). University of Colorado, Boulder.

Citing Web Pages In Text

Cite web pages in text as you would any other source, using the author and date if known. Keep in mind that the author may be an organization rather than a person. For sources with no author, use the title in place of an author.

For sources with no date use n.d. (for no date) in place of the year: (Smith, n.d.). For more information on citations for sources with no date or other missing information see the page on missing reference information on the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines web page. 

Below are examples of using in-text citation with web pages.

Web page with author:

In-text citation

Heavy social media use can be linked to depression and other mental disorders in teens (Asmelash, 2019).

Reference entry

Asmelash, L. (2019, August 14). Social media use may harm teens' mental health by disrupting positive activities, study says . CNN. https://www.cnn.com/2019/08/13/health/social-media-mental-health-trnd/index.html

Web page with organizational author:

More than 300 million people worldwide are affected by depression (World Health Organization, 2018).

World Health Organization. (2018, March 22).  Depression . https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression

Web page with no date:

Establishing regular routines, such as exercise, can help survivors of disasters recover from trauma (American Psychological Association [APA], n.d.).

American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Recovering emotionally from disaste r. http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recovering-disasters.aspx

General Guidelines

In-text references should immediately follow the title, word, or phrase to which they are directly relevant, rather than appearing at the end of long clauses or sentences. In-text references should always precede punctuation marks. Below are examples of using in-text citation.

Author's name in parentheses:

One study found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic (Gass & Varonis, 1984).

Author's name part of narrative:

Gass and Varonis (1984) found that the most important element in comprehending non-native speech is familiarity with the topic.

Group as author: First citation: (American Psychological Association [APA], 2015) Subsequent citation: (APA, 2015)

Multiple works: (separate each work with semi-colons)

Research shows that listening to a particular accent improves comprehension of accented speech in general (Gass & Varonis, 1984; Krech Thomas, 2004).

Direct quote: (include page number and place quotation marks around the direct quote)

One study found that “the listener's familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (Gass & Varonis, 1984, p. 85).

Gass and Varonis (1984) found that “the listener’s familiarity with the topic of discourse greatly facilitates the interpretation of the entire message” (p. 85).

Note:  For direct quotations of more than 40 words , display the quote as an indented block of text without quotation marks and include the authors’ names, year, and page number in parentheses at the end of the quote. For example:

This suggests that familiarity with nonnative speech in general, although it is clearly not as important a variable as topic familiarity, may indeed have some effect. That is, prior experience with nonnative speech, such as that gained by listening to the reading, facilitates comprehension. (Gass & Varonis, 1984, p. 77)

Works by Multiple Authors

APA style has specific rules for citing works by multiple authors. Use the following guidelines to determine how to correctly cite works by multiple authors in text. For more information on citing works by multiple authors see the APA Style and Grammar Guidelines page on in-text citation .

Note: When using multiple authors' names as part of your narrative, rather than in parentheses, always spell out the word and. For multiple authors' names within a parenthetic citation, use &.

One author: (Field, 2005)

Two authors: (Gass & Varonis, 1984)

Three or more authors:   (Tremblay et al., 2010)

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APA Citation Style, 7th edition: Web Page with No Author

  • General Style Guidelines
  • One Author or Editor
  • Two Authors or Editors
  • Three to Five Authors or Editors
  • Article or Chapter in an Edited Book
  • Article in a Reference Book
  • Edition other than the First
  • Translation
  • Government Publication
  • Journal Article with 1 Author
  • Journal Article with 2 Authors
  • Journal Article with 3–20 Authors
  • Journal Article 21 or more Authors
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Basic Web Page
  • Web page from a University site
  • Web Page with No Author
  • Entry in a Reference Work
  • Government Document
  • Film and Television
  • Youtube Video
  • Audio Podcast
  • Electronic Image
  • Twitter/Instagram
  • Lecture/PPT
  • Conferences
  • Secondary Sources
  • Citation Support
  • Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Formatting Your Paper

Document from a Web site with no Author

  • When citing sources that you find on the Internet you only need to include a retrieval date if the information you viewed is likely to change over time.  If you reference an article from a news source (e.g., CNN, NBC, Washington Post) or a site that may experience continuous updates, you would then need to include a retrieval date.
  • New in 7th edition: You must include the site name in your citation, unless the site name is the same as the corporate author. For example, a citation of a CDC report would not include the site name.

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APA 7th Edition Citation Examples

  • Volume and Issue Numbers
  • Page Numbers
  • Undated Sources
  • Citing a Source Within a Source

Citing a Source within a Source

  • In-Text Citations
  • Academic Journals
  • Encyclopedia Articles
  • Book, Film, and Product Reviews
  • Online Classroom Materials
  • Conference Papers
  • Technical + Research Reports
  • Court Decisions
  • Treaties and Other International Agreements
  • Federal Regulations: I. The Code of Federal Regulations
  • Federal Regulations: II. The Federal Register
  • Executive Orders
  • Charter of the United Nations
  • Federal Statutes
  • Dissertations and Theses
  • Interviews, E-mail Messages + Other Personal Communications
  • Social Media
  • Business Sources
  • PowerPoints
  • AI: ChatGPT, etc.

Scenario: You read a 2007 article by Linhares and Brum that cites an earlier article, by Klein. You want to cite Klein's article, but you have not read Klein's article itself.

Reference list citation

Linhares, A., & Brum, P. (2007). Understanding our understanding of strategic scenarios: What role do chunks play? Cognitive Science , 31 (6), 989-1007. https://doi.org/10.1080/03640210701703725

Your Reference list will contain the article you read, by Linhares and Brum. Your Reference list will NOT contain a citation for Klein's article.

In-text citation

Klein's study (as cited in Linhares & Brum, 2007) found that...

Your in-text citation gives credit to Klein and shows the source in which you found Klein's ideas.

See  Publication Manual , p. 258.

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Harvard Referencing / Harvard Referencing Style Examples / Referencing sources with no author in Harvard style

Referencing sources with no author in Harvard style

This guide shows you what to do when the source you need to reference has no author. Sometimes, you’ll come across sources that don’t have authors listed. These types of sources are often ones like reference books, Wikipedia pages or newspaper articles. How you reference a source with no author varies somewhat, based on the type of source. The general rule is to use the title of the book, article or newspaper in the place of the author in both the in-text citation and full reference.

Here are some examples of how to reference sources with no author in Harvard style.

Books with no author

If you are referencing a book with no author, simply use the title of the book in italics where you would have used the author’s surname.  

In-text citation template:

( Book name, Publication year, Page number)

The moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical orbit in 27 days and 8 hours ( Children’s illustrated treasury of knowledge: Earth, 2013, p. 5).

The word ‘ballast’ is defined in the Concise Oxford English dictionary (2011, p. 101) as ‘a heavy substance, such as gravel or lead, placed in the bilge of a ship to ensure its stability’.

When referencing a book with no author in the reference list, the following format is used:

Title of the book (Publication year) Place of publication: Publisher name.

Children’s illustrated treasury of knowledge: Earth (2013) London: BPI Worldwide.

Concise Oxford English dictionary (2011) 12th edn. New York: Oxford University Press.

Web page with no author

For web pages with no author, such as Wikipedia pages, you’ll use the page title in single quotation marks in place of the author’s surname.

Here’s how the in-text citation would look:

Early New High German was an early form of German predominant in the early modern period (‘Early New High German’, 2020).

For the full reference, you’ll follow a similar format:

‘Early New High German’ (2020) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_New_High_German (Accessed: 19 October 2020).

Often when citing websites, it may appear that the web page has no author when it actually has an organization as its author, or the author is using a handle or username instead of their real name. This guide on how to cite a website in Harvard style provides details on how to cite web pages with different types of authors.

Newspaper/magazine articles with no author

When citing a newspaper or a magazine article in which the author’s name is not given, the format used for the in-text citation is:

( Name of the newspaper, Year of publication)

The article ( The Guardian , 2020) stated that …  

For the reference list, you’ll also use the newspaper title where you would normally place the author’s name. This is followed by the year of publication, the title of the article, the day and month, and, finally, a page reference if it is a print article, or a URL and access date if it is an online article.

Full reference template:  

Newspaper title (Year of publication) ‘Title of the article’, Day Month of publication. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).

The Guardian (2020) ‘Wednesday briefing: last orders in fight to avoid lockdown’, 23 September. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/23/wednesday-briefing-last-orders-in-fight-to-avoid-lockdown (Accessed: 23 September 2020).

Published October 29, 2020.

Harvard Formatting Guide

Harvard Formatting

  • et al Usage
  • Direct Quotes
  • In-text Citations
  • Multiple Authors
  • Page Numbers
  • Writing an Outline
  • View Harvard Guide

Reference Examples

  • View all Harvard Examples

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How To Cite Sources: In-depth Guide

cite sources

Did you know that, on average, college students spend over 12 hours a week researching and writing essays? It's a considerable investment of time and energy, and the quality of your work can greatly impact your academic success. One of the critical aspects of crafting top-notch essays is the art of citing sources correctly. Whether you're in the world of psychology (APA), humanities (MLA), or history (Chicago), understanding and navigating the citation styles relevant to your field is a must.

In this comprehensive article, our college essay writing service will delve deep into the world of academic writing and the crucial role that proper source citation plays in your success. Explore the intricacies of citing sources in APA, MLA, and Chicago styles as we provide detailed guidance, real-world citing sources examples, and practical insights. Discover the nuances of citing multiple sources in one sentence, using citation generators, and citing primary sources. Additionally, we'll conduct a comparative analysis of these citation styles to help you choose the right one for your research papers. By the end of this journey, you'll be well-versed in the art of source citation and ready to elevate your academic writing to the next level.

When to Source Sources in Academic Writing?

In the realm of academic writing, citing sources accurately is far more than a mere formality; it's an ethical responsibility and a testament to the integrity of your work. Proper source citation serves as the foundation of scholarly discourse, ensuring transparency, credibility, and respect for intellectual property. By crediting the authors and researchers who've paved the way, you acknowledge the collective knowledge of your field.

Interestingly, a study by the International Journal of Educational Integrity found that improper citation practices are a leading cause of plagiarism, a serious offense in academia. In fact, plagiarism-detection software like Turnitin is now widely used to uphold academic integrity. This is where the convenience of citing sources generators becomes apparent, helping students and researchers ensure proper attribution while streamlining the citation process, whether they're citing sources in Chicago style or other formats.

Moreover, accurate citations, including a parenthetical citation, allow readers to trace your sources, verify your claims, and engage in meaningful discussions. They act as a bridge between your work and the wealth of research that precedes it. In essence, mastering the art of source citation is not just about compliance with formatting rules; it's about participating in a respectful and dynamic conversation within your academic community while giving due credit to the sources, particularly when citing primary sources, that have contributed to the intellectual growth of your field.

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APA Citation Style Basics

American Psychological Association (APA) style is a widely used and meticulously structured citation format primarily designed for disciplines in the social sciences. Understanding the fundamentals of APA format citing sources is vital for any student or researcher in psychology, sociology, education, and related fields. Here are some key insights into the world of APA citations from our ‘ do my paper ’ experts:

apa citation

  • In-text Citations with Precision : In APA style, in-text citations are concise and informative. For instance, consider this sentence: 'The impact of climate change on coastal ecosystems is a growing concern (Johnson, 2018).' In this case, 'Johnson' is the author's last name, and '2018' is the publication year. This format allows readers to quickly identify and locate the source in the reference list (Johnson, 2018).
  • The Role of the Reference List : The reference list in APA style is like the treasure trove of your sources. It's a comprehensive list of all the materials you've cited in your work. For example, a reference entry for a journal article would look like this: Johnson, S. (2018). Climate Change Effects on Coastal Biodiversity . Environmental Studies, 36 (3), 255-269.
  • DOI and Electronic Sources : In the digital age, many sources are found online, which is why APA has introduced the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) system. For instance, an APA citation for an online journal article with a DOI might look like this: Smith, P. (2021). Renewable Energy Solutions for Sustainable Future . Environmental Science Review, 45 (2), 101-120. https://doi.org/10.12345/esr.2021.2.101
  • Citing Multiple Sources in One Sentence APA : APA rules for citing multiple sources in a single sentence are clear and practical. Consider this example for citing two sources in one sentence APA: 'Several studies (Smith, 2021; Johnson, 2018) have highlighted the urgency of addressing climate change's impact on coastal ecosystems.' Here, both sources are listed chronologically, creating a seamless flow of information in your text.
  • The Power of Consistency : Consistency is a cornerstone of APA style. From the formatting of headings (e.g., Level 1, Level 2) to the use of italics for titles and the ordering of elements in a reference entry, adhering to the APA guidelines ensures your work looks polished and professional.
  • Evolving Rules : As research methods and publishing practices evolve, so do citation styles. It's essential to stay updated with the latest APA publication manual as they adapt to the changing landscape of academic communication (American Psychological Association, 2020).

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MLA Citation Style Basics

The Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style is the hallmark of academic writing in the humanities, literature, and related fields. It's known for its simplicity, elegance, and focus on clarity. Here's a concise guide from our argumentative essay writing service to help you navigate the intricacies of MLA format citing sources:

mla citation

  • In-text Citations with Author-Page Format : Citing sources MLA style primarily uses a simple author-page format for in-text citations. For example, 'In his renowned work, Shakespeare explores themes of love and fate (Smith 45).' Here, 'Smith' is the author's last name, and '45' is the page number. This format allows readers to locate the corresponding entry in the Works Cited page.
  • The Works Cited Page : The Works Cited page is the heart of MLA citation. It's a detailed list of all the sources you've referenced in your paper. Each entry follows a specific format, including the author's name, source title, publication information, and more.
  • Citing Digital and Print Sources : MLA is adaptable to both digital and print sources. For a print book, an MLA citation would look like this: Smith, John. The Art of Writing . Random House, 2020. For an online article, you might format it as follows: Johnson, Sarah. 'The Digital Literary Landscape.' Digital Humanities Review , vol. 28, no. 3, 2021, www.example.com/dhr/28-3/johnson.
  • Citing Multiple Works by the Same Author : When citing multiple works by the same author, use a shortened version of the title to differentiate them. For instance, (Smith, Art of Writing 34) and (Smith, 'Literary Exploration' 18).
  • The Importance of Punctuation and Formatting : Proper punctuation and formatting are essential in MLA citation. Pay attention to italics for titles, quotation marks for short works, and the correct use of commas, periods, and colons.
  • Evolving Guidelines : MLA citing sources guidelines are known for evolving with technology and research methods. Staying up-to-date with the latest MLA handbook is crucial to ensure your citations align with current standards.

Chicago Citation Style Basics

The Chicago citation style, often used in history, arts, and social sciences, is a versatile and comprehensive system known for its flexibility and depth. Here's a guide to help you embrace the intricacies of Chicago citation:

chicago citation

  • Two Distinct Documentation Systems : Chicago offers two documentation systems: the Notes and Bibliography system (commonly used in history and the humanities) and the Author-Date system (preferred in the social sciences). Understanding which system your discipline employs is crucial.
  • Footnotes and Endnotes : In the Notes and Bibliography system, footnotes or endnotes are used to cite sources within the text. For example, 'The Industrial Revolution transformed society in profound ways. [1]' The corresponding note at the bottom of the page or end of the chapter provides full citation details.
  • Bibliography or Reference List : In Chicago, both systems require a comprehensive bibliography at the end of your work, which lists all the sources you've cited. Each entry should include elements like the author's name, title, publisher, and publication date.
  • Citing primary sources Chicago style : Chicago is particularly celebrated for its approach to citing primary sources, such as archival documents, letters, and manuscripts. It demands specific details about the source's origin, location, and access date, ensuring a comprehensive record.
  • Citing Multiple Sources in One Footnote Chicago : When citing multiple sources in one footnote, list them in chronological order, separated by semicolons. For example, 'The 19th century saw significant advancements in technology and communication.[1];[2].'
  • The Emphasis on Publication Details : Chicago places a strong emphasis on providing extensive publication information for each source cited. This includes details like the place of publication and specific page numbers in the case of print sources.
  • Evolving Standards : Just like other citation styles, Chicago's guidelines evolve over time to accommodate changes in research practices. Staying informed about the latest Chicago Manual of Style editions is essential for accurate citations.

APA vs. MLA vs. Chicago: Key Similarities and Differences

Citation styles play a pivotal role in academic writing, helping maintain consistency, credibility, and clarity in scholarly work. Among the most widely used styles are APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), and Chicago. Let's explore the key similarities and differences between these three major citation styles.

Similarities:

  • In-text Citations : All three styles use in-text citations to acknowledge the sources of information. In-text citations allow readers to identify the corresponding entry in the reference list or bibliography.
  • Reference Lists or Bibliographies : APA, MLA, and Chicago all require a list of references, works cited, or a bibliography at the end of the document. These lists provide complete details about the sources cited in the text.
  • Author and Publication Year : Both APA and MLA styles include the author's last name and the publication year within in-text citations. This allows readers to easily locate the source in the reference list.
  • Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) : APA and MLA provide guidelines for citing sources with DOIs, ensuring the accuracy and stability of online references.

Differences:

Disciplines and Focus:

  • APA is primarily used in the social sciences, including psychology, sociology, and education, with a focus on empirical research and concise, structured writing.
  • MLA is widely employed in humanities disciplines, such as literature and language studies, emphasizing the analysis of literary and cultural texts.
  • Citing sources Chicago style is versatile, used in history, arts, and social sciences, offering both Notes and Bibliography and Author-Date systems to accommodate different research needs.

In-text Citation Styles:

  • APA uses an author-date format, e.g., (Smith, 2020), for in-text citations.
  • MLA uses an author-page format, e.g., (Smith 45), for in-text citations.
  • Chicago uses footnotes or endnotes, which provide full citations in superscript numbers within the text and often a bibliographic entry at the bottom of the page or the end of a chapter.

Reference List/Bibliography Format:

  • APA organizes the reference list alphabetically by the author's last name, followed by the publication date.
  • MLA arranges the works cited list alphabetically by the author's last name and, if there is no author, by the title.
  • Chicago's Notes and Bibliography system uses footnotes or endnotes for citations and a bibliography, while the Author-Date system includes an alphabetically-arranged reference list.

Handling Multiple Sources in One Citation:

  • APA typically lists multiple sources in one in-text citation using semicolons, e.g., (Smith, 2020; Johnson, 2019).
  • MLA uses commas to separate multiple sources within one in-text citation, e.g., (Smith 45, Johnson 22).
  • Chicago usually utilizes footnotes or endnotes to cite multiple sources, each source marked with a superscript number in the text.

Citing Page Numbers:

  • In APA and MLA, page numbers are often included in in-text citations for direct quotations, e.g., (Smith, 2020, p. 25) or (Smith 25).
  • Chicago uses footnotes or endnotes to include page numbers for direct quotations within the text itself.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, mastering the nuances of APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles, including the specific requirements for citing primary sources, is an invaluable skill for academic success. It will also be a helpful guide as you explore how to write a college admission essay . These styles empower you to engage in scholarly conversation while maintaining the integrity of your research. Choose the one that best aligns with your field and project, and remember that accurate citation not only upholds academic standards but also showcases your commitment to excellence in your work.

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types of essays

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MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

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The MLA Handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any source regardless of whether it’s included in this list.

However, this guide will highlight a few concerns when citing digital sources in MLA style.

Best Practices for Managing Online Sources

Because online information can change or disappear, it is always a good idea to keep personal copies of important electronic information whenever possible. Downloading or even printing key documents ensures you have a stable backup. You can also use the Bookmark function in your web browser in order to build an easy-to-access reference for all of your project's sources (though this will not help you if the information is changed or deleted).

It is also wise to keep a record of when you first consult with each online source. MLA uses the phrase, “Accessed” to denote which date you accessed the web page when available or necessary. It is not required to do so, but it is encouraged (especially when there is no copyright date listed on a website).

Important Note on the Use of URLs in MLA

Include a URL or web address to help readers locate your sources. Because web addresses are not static (i.e., they change often) and because documents sometimes appear in multiple places on the web (e.g., on multiple databases), MLA encourages the use of citing containers such as Youtube, JSTOR, Spotify, or Netflix in order to easily access and verify sources. However, MLA only requires the www. address, so eliminate all https:// when citing URLs.

Many scholarly journal articles found in databases include a DOI (digital object identifier). If a DOI is available, cite the DOI number instead of the URL.

Online newspapers and magazines sometimes include a “permalink,” which is a shortened, stable version of a URL. Look for a “share” or “cite this” button to see if a source includes a permalink. If you can find a permalink, use that instead of a URL.

Abbreviations Commonly Used with Electronic Sources

If page numbers are not available, use par. or pars. to denote paragraph numbers. Use these in place of the p. or pp. abbreviation. Par. would be used for a single paragraph, while pars. would be used for a span of two or more paragraphs.

Basic Style for Citations of Electronic Sources (Including Online Databases)

Here are some common features you should try to find before citing electronic sources in MLA style. Not every web page will provide all of the following information. However, collect as much of the following information as possible:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available); last names first.
  • "Article name in quotation marks."
  • Title of the website, project, or book in italics.
  • Any version numbers available, including editions (ed.), revisions, posting dates, volumes (vol.), or issue numbers (no.).
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (p. or pp.) or paragraph numbers (par. or pars.).
  • DOI (if available, precede it with "https://doi.org/"), otherwise a URL (without the https://) or permalink.
  • Date you accessed the material (Date Accessed). While not required, saving this information it is highly recommended, especially when dealing with pages that change frequently or do not have a visible copyright date.

Use the following format:

Author. "Title." Title of container (self contained if book) , Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs and/or URL, DOI or permalink). 2 nd container’s title , Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Citing an Entire Web Site

When citing an entire website, follow the same format as listed above, but include a compiler name if no single author is available.

Author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site. Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), DOI (preferred), otherwise include a URL or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

Editor, author, or compiler name (if available). Name of Site . Version number, Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available), URL, DOI or permalink. Date of access (if applicable).

The Purdue OWL Family of Sites . The Writing Lab and OWL at Purdue and Purdue U, 2008, owl.english.purdue.edu/owl. Accessed 23 Apr. 2008.

Felluga, Dino. Guide to Literary and Critical Theory . Purdue U, 28 Nov. 2003, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/theory/. Accessed 10 May 2006.

Course or Department Websites

Give the instructor name. Then list the title of the course (or the school catalog designation for the course) in italics. Give appropriate department and school names as well, following the course title.

Felluga, Dino. Survey of the Literature of England . Purdue U, Aug. 2006, web.ics.purdue.edu/~felluga/241/241/Home.html. Accessed 31 May 2007.

English Department . Purdue U, 20 Apr. 2009, www.cla.purdue.edu/english/. Accessed 31 May 2015.

A Page on a Web Site

For an individual page on a Web site, list the author or alias if known, followed by an indication of the specific page or article being referenced. Usually, the title of the page or article appears in a header at the top of the page. Follow this with the information covered above for entire Web sites. If the publisher is the same as the website name, only list it once.

Lundman, Susan. “How to Make Vegetarian Chili.”  eHow , www.ehow.com/how_10727_make-vegetarian-chili.html. Accessed 6 July 2015.

“ Athlete's Foot - Topic Overview. ”   WebMD , 25 Sept. 2014, www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/athletes-foot-topic-overview.

Citations for e-books closely resemble those for physical books. Simply indicate that the book in question is an e-book by putting the term "e-book" in the "version" slot of the MLA template (i.e., after the author, the title of the source, the title of the container, and the names of any other contributors).

Silva, Paul J.  How to Write a Lot: A Practical Guide to Productive Academic Writing. E-book, American Psychological Association, 2007.

If the e-book is formatted for a specific reader device or service, you can indicate this by treating this information the same way you would treat a physical book's edition number. Often, this will mean replacing "e-book" with "[App/Service] ed."

Machiavelli, Niccolo.  The Prince , translated by W. K. Marriott, Kindle ed., Library of Alexandria, 2018.

Note:  The MLA considers the term "e-book" to refer to publications formatted specifically for reading with an e-book reader device (e.g., a Kindle) or a corresponding web application. These e-books will not have URLs or DOIs. If you are citing book content from an ordinary webpage with a URL, use the "A Page on a Web Site" format above.

An Image (Including a Painting, Sculpture, or Photograph)

Provide the artist's name, the work of art italicized, the date of creation, the institution and city where the work is housed. Follow this initial entry with the name of the Website in italics, and the date of access.

Goya, Francisco. The Family of Charles IV . 1800. Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid. Museo Nacional del Prado , www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-family-of-carlos-iv/f47898fc-aa1c-48f6-a779-71759e417e74. Accessed 22 May 2006.

Klee, Paul. Twittering Machine . 1922. Museum of Modern Art, New York. The Artchive , www.artchive.com/artchive/K/klee/twittering_machine.jpg.html. Accessed May 2006.

If the work cited is available on the web only, then provide the name of the artist, the title of the work, and then follow the citation format for a website. If the work is posted via a username, use that username for the author.

Adams, Clifton R. “People Relax Beside a Swimming Pool at a Country Estate Near Phoenix, Arizona, 1928.” Found, National Geographic Creative, 2 June 2016, natgeofound.tumblr.com/.

An Article in a Web Magazine

Provide the author name, article name in quotation marks, title of the web magazine in italics, publisher name, publication date, URL, and the date of access.

Bernstein, Mark. “ 10 Tips on Writing the Living Web. ”   A List Apart: For People Who Make Websites , 16 Aug. 2002, alistapart.com/article/writeliving. Accessed 4 May 2009.

An Article in an Online Scholarly Journal

For all online scholarly journals, provide the author(s) name(s), the name of the article in quotation marks, the title of the publication in italics, all volume and issue numbers, and the year of publication. Include a DOI if available, otherwise provide a URL or permalink to help readers locate the source.

Article in an Online-only Scholarly Journal

MLA requires a page range for articles that appear in Scholarly Journals. If the journal you are citing appears exclusively in an online format (i.e. there is no corresponding print publication) that does not make use of page numbers, indicate the URL or other location information.

Dolby, Nadine. “Research in Youth Culture and Policy: Current Conditions and Future Directions.” Social Work and Society: The International Online-Only Journal, vol. 6, no. 2, 2008, www.socwork.net/sws/article/view/60/362. Accessed 20 May 2009.

Article in an Online Scholarly Journal That Also Appears in Print

Cite articles in online scholarly journals that also appear in print as you would a scholarly journal in print, including the page range of the article . Provide the URL and the date of access.

Wheelis, Mark. “ Investigating Disease Outbreaks Under a Protocol to the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. ”   Emerging Infectious Diseases , vol. 6, no. 6, 2000, pp. 595-600, wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/6/6/00-0607_article. Accessed 8 Feb. 2009.

An Article from an Online Database (or Other Electronic Subscription Service)

Cite online databases (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest, JSTOR, ScienceDirect) and other subscription services as containers. Thus, provide the title of the database italicized before the DOI or URL. If a DOI is not provided, use the URL instead. Provide the date of access if you wish.

Alonso, Alvaro, and Julio A. Camargo. “ Toxicity of Nitrite to Three Species of Freshwater Invertebrates. ”   Environmental Toxicology, vol. 21, no. 1, 3 Feb. 2006, pp. 90-94. Wiley Online Library , https://doi.org/10.1002/tox.20155. Accessed 26 May 2009.

Langhamer, Claire. “Love and Courtship in Mid-Twentieth-Century England.” Historical Journal, vol. 50, no. 1, 2007, pp. 173-96. ProQuest , https://doi.org/10.1017/S0018246X06005966. Accessed 27 May 2009.

E-mail (including E-mail Interviews)

Give the author of the message, followed by the subject line in quotation marks. State to whom the message was sent with the phrase, “Received by” and the recipient’s name. Include the date the message was sent. Use standard capitalization.

Kunka, Andrew. “ Re: Modernist Literature. ”  Received by John Watts, 15 Nov. 2000.

Neyhart, David. “ Re: Online Tutoring. ” Received by Joe Barbato, 1 Dec. 2016.

A Listserv, Discussion Group, or Blog Posting

Cite web postings as you would a standard web entry. Provide the author of the work, the title of the posting in quotation marks, the web site name in italics, the publisher, and the posting date. Follow with the date of access. Include screen names as author names when author name is not known. If both names are known, place the author’s name in brackets.

Author or compiler name (if available). “Posting Title.” Name of Site , Version number (if available), Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), URL. Date of access.

Salmar1515 [Sal Hernandez]. “Re: Best Strategy: Fenced Pastures vs. Max Number of Rooms?” BoardGameGeek , 29 Sept. 2008, boardgamegeek.com/thread/343929/best-strategy-fenced-pastures-vs-max-number-rooms. Accessed 5 Apr. 2009.

Begin with the user's Twitter handle in place of the author’s name. Next, place the tweet in its entirety in quotations, inserting a period after the tweet within the quotations. Include the date and time of posting, using the reader's time zone; separate the date and time with a comma and end with a period. Include the date accessed if you deem necessary.

@tombrokaw. “ SC demonstrated why all the debates are the engines of this campaign. ”   Twitter, 22 Jan. 2012, 3:06 a.m., twitter.com/tombrokaw/status/160996868971704320.

@PurdueWLab. “ Spring break is around the corner, and all our locations will be open next week. ”   Twitter , 5 Mar. 2012, 12:58 p.m., twitter.com/PurdueWLab/status/176728308736737282.

A YouTube Video

Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author’s name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once. If the author is different from the uploader, cite the author’s name before the title.

McGonigal, Jane. “Gaming and Productivity.” YouTube , uploaded by Big Think, 3 July 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkdzy9bWW3E.

“8 Hot Dog Gadgets put to the Test.” YouTube, uploaded by Crazy Russian Hacker, 6 June 2016, www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBlpjSEtELs.

A Comment on a Website or Article

List the username as the author. Use the phrase, Comment on, before the title. Use quotation marks around the article title. Name the publisher, date, time (listed on near the comment), and the URL.

Not Omniscient Enough. Comment on “ Flight Attendant Tells Passenger to ‘Shut Up’ After Argument Over Pasta. ”  ABC News, 9 Jun 2016, 4:00 p.m., abcnews.go.com/US/flight-attendant-tells-passenger-shut-argument-pasta/story?id=39704050.

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COMMENTS

  1. How do I cite a source that has no author?

    An exception: if a corporate author is also the work's publisher, list that entity as the publisher and skip the "Author" slot: Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004. Cite these works in your text by title or by corporate author—that is, by the first item in the works-cited ...

  2. How to cite in APA when there are no authors

    Alphabetizing the reference list for sources with no known author. Reference list entries without an author are alphabetized by the first significant word of the title. Ignore the words "A," "An," and "The" when putting your reference list in order. Begin the entry with the word "Anonymous" only if the work is signed ...

  3. No Author, Date, or Title in APA Style

    Webpage citations in APA Style consist of five components: author, publication date, title, website name, and URL. Unfortunately, some of these components are sometimes missing. For instance, there may be no author or publication date. This article explains how to handle different kinds and combinations of missing information.

  4. MLA In-Text Citations: The Basics

    In-text citations: Author-page style. MLA format follows the author-page method of in-text citation. This means that the author's last name and the page number (s) from which the quotation or paraphrase is taken must appear in the text, and a complete reference should appear on your Works Cited page. The author's name may appear either in the ...

  5. MLA

    Create manual citation. A citation on an MLA works cited page usually begins with the last name of the source's author. However, there are times when an author isn't stated. There are also times when instead of an individual, an organization or company is stated as the author. The guidelines below follow rules from the 9th edition of the ...

  6. How do I cite a source with no author?

    In APA and Chicago, omit the website or publisher name later in the reference. In MLA, omit the author element at the start of the reference, and cite the source title instead. If there's no appropriate organization to list as author, you will usually have to begin the citation and reference entry with the title of the source instead.

  7. APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : No Author, No Date etc

    No Author. If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title/name of the item you are citing instead. Follow the title/name of the item with the date of publication, and the continue with other citation details. Note: an author/creator won't necessarily be a person's name.

  8. Research Guides: MLA 8 Citation Guide: No Author

    Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. ... For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics. Purdue Owl. MLA Works Cited Page: Books ...

  9. MLA citations when there is no author

    For the works cited list, you can start the reference with the title of the source when the author's name is not listed. Books with no authors listed. In-text citation format and example: (Title of the book page number) (Norse Tales of Legends 22) Works cited list citation template and example: Title of the book: Subtitle. Publisher, Year.

  10. How do I cite a source with no author in APA Style?

    When no author at all can be determined—e.g. a collaboratively edited wiki or an online article published anonymously—use the title in place of the author. In the in-text citation, put the title in quotation marks if it appears in plain text in the reference list, and in italics if it appears in italics in the reference list.

  11. How to Cite a Website with No Author

    Here is how to cite a webpage without an author in three of the most popular citation styles: APA 7, MLA 9, and Chicago (17th ed.). APA 7. Reference Entry Template: Title of webpage/article. (Year, Month Date of publication). In Website Name. URL. Reference Entry Example: Giant panda. (2022, June 29).

  12. Library Guides: APA Quick Citation Guide: In-text Citation

    Using In-text Citation. Include an in-text citation when you refer to, summarize, paraphrase, or quote from another source. For every in-text citation in your paper, there must be a corresponding entry in your reference list. APA in-text citation style uses the author's last name and the year of publication, for example: (Field, 2005).

  13. APA Citation Style, 7th edition: Web Page with No Author

    When citing sources that you find on the Internet you only need to include a retrieval date if the information you viewed is likely to change over time. If you reference an article from a news source (e.g., CNN, NBC, Washington Post) or a site that may experience continuous updates, you would then need to include a retrieval date.

  14. How to Cite Sources

    To quote a source, copy a short piece of text word for word and put it inside quotation marks. To paraphrase a source, put the text into your own words. It's important that the paraphrase is not too close to the original wording. You can use the paraphrasing tool if you don't want to do this manually.

  15. APA Formatting and Style Guide (7th Edition)

    General guidelines for referring to the works of others in your essay Author/Authors How to refer to authors in-text, including single and multiple authors, unknown authors, organizations, etc. Reference List. Resources on writing an APA style reference list, including citation formats

  16. MLA In-Text Citations

    An in-text citation is a reference to a source that is found within the text of a paper ( Handbook 227). This tells a reader that an idea, quote, or paraphrase originated from a source. MLA in-text citations usually include the last name of the author and the location of cited information. This guide focuses on how to create MLA in-text ...

  17. MLA Works Cited Page: Books

    Cite a book automatically in MLA. The 8 th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, by using this methodology, a writer will be able to cite any ...

  18. Citing sources with no author in Chicago style

    This page will help you to create Chicago-style citations for works without clear authors. It covers how to build these citations in both notes-bibliography and author-date styles. The examples and information on this page adhere to the guidelines in the 17th edition of TheChicago Manual of Style, but this page is not officially linked to the CMOS.

  19. Citing a Source Within a Source

    Scenario: You read a 2007 article by Linhares and Brum that cites an earlier article, by Klein. You want to cite Klein's article, but you have not read Klein's article itself. Reference list citation. Linhares, A., & Brum, P. (2007).

  20. The Basics of In-Text Citation

    Quotes should always be cited (and indicated with quotation marks), and you should include a page number indicating where in the source the quote can be found. Example: Quote with APA Style in-text citation. Evolution is a gradual process that "can act only by very short and slow steps" (Darwin, 1859, p. 510).

  21. Referencing sources with no author in Harvard style

    If you are referencing a book with no author, simply use the title of the book in italics where you would have used the author's surname. In-text citation template: ( Book name, Publication year, Page number) Examples: The moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical orbit in 27 days and 8 hours ( Children's illustrated treasury of knowledge ...

  22. How To Cite Sources: In-depth Guide

    APA typically lists multiple sources in one in-text citation using semicolons, e.g., (Smith, 2020; Johnson, 2019). MLA uses commas to separate multiple sources within one in-text citation, e.g., (Smith 45, Johnson 22). Chicago usually utilizes footnotes or endnotes to cite multiple sources, each source marked with a superscript number in the text.

  23. MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)

    Video and audio sources need to be documented using the same basic guidelines for citing print sources in MLA style. Include as much descriptive information as necessary to help readers understand the type and nature of the source you are citing. If the author's name is the same as the uploader, only cite the author once.

  24. How to Cite a Website

    Citing a website in MLA Style. An MLA Works Cited entry for a webpage lists the author's name, the title of the page (in quotation marks), the name of the site (in italics), the date of publication, and the URL. The in-text citation usually just lists the author's name. For a long page, you may specify a (shortened) section heading to ...