The basic principle for citing electronic sources is that the documentation must be
sufficient to allow the reader to retrieve the material; if the database is revisable or
temporary, like much that appears on the Internet, the documentation must show both when
the material was published and when it was accessed. The documentation guidelines
here are from the current MLA Style Manual (2nd ed. 1998) and the MLA Web page http://www.mla.org/ as supplemented by The Mayfield
Handbook of Technical & Scientific Writing (1998).
Walker, Janice R. "Columbia Online Style: MLA-Style
Electronic Sources." Vers. 1.2, Rev. Nov. 1997. 10. Dec.
For Internet and other revisable online sources, in addition to the information you
would provide for a printed source, give the date of publication or the most recent
revision, the date of access enclosed in angle brackets (< >). Some authorities
recommend, to avoid misreading, not interrupting the URL by a line break and not following
it with a period; others say that it is all right to break a URL after a period or a slash
if it is too long to fit on one line.
Arnzen, Michael A. "Cyber Citations." Internet
World 7.1 (1996):
30 pars. 15 Oct. 1997 <http://www.internetworld.com/
To identify the location of a specific passage in an online document, use its paragraph
number. In the citation entry, indicate the number of paragraphs in the entire
document. Add that information after the colon following the date of publication;
use the abbreviation "pars." for "paragraphs."
A document retrieved from a file transfer protocol (FTP) site or a Gopher site is cited
in the same way as Web sites, except that the abbreviation ftp or the word gopher
(rather than http) precedes the address, which is not enclosed in angle brackets.
APA citations for electronic sources, like those for print sources, have five elements:
author, date, title, document type, and publication information. For the date that
appears in parentheses right after the author's name, use the date of the page's most
recent revision (if available). In square brackets after the title of the page,
identify the type of page (such as online serial or online database). For the
publciation information, give the date you visited the page and the complete URL (Uniform
Resource Locater or the Internet address) enclosed in angle brackets. (Although the
APA does not specify angle brackets, they are an accepted way to avoid confusion about
what constitutes the URL.) If the URL must be broken between two lines, break it
after a slash or a period. Since the fourth education of APA's Publication Manual
(1995), APA's style for citing Internet sources has been evolving. For its online
revision of the form to use to cite information from the Internet and the World Wide Web,
Central Intelligence Agency. (1998). The World Factbook page
Mexico, Section: People. In 1997 World Factbook [Online
database]. Retrieved November 22, 1998, from the World Wide
For large databases (such as the one in the preceding example), you may not find an
author's name on each page; in that case, check the database's home page.
Yoes, C. (1996). The science fiction web project: Adventures
teaching with Storyspace [5 paragraphs]. Computers, Writing,
Rhetoric and Literature 2(1) [Online serial]. Retrieved May 3,
1997, from the World Wide Web: <http://www.en.utexas.edu/
A similar format can be used for documents retrieved from file transfer protocol (ftp)
and Gopher sites.
[Index] - [Step One] - [Step Two] - [Step Four]