In-Text Citation


Selections from Books


Online Sources

Other Sources

Citing Internet Sources in APA Style

Remember that entries in the Works Cited list are listed alphabetically by author.  

This page covers web pages and articles in periodical databases such as Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, FirstSearch, Proquest Direct, JSTOR, Science Direct, etc. 

Do not just copy the "citation" given by the databases.  While this part provides important information, it often leaves out the far more important information of the access date and the database name.  It may also not be in APA style.  

The citation for an electronic source includes citation for any print counterpart of the source, followed by information about the electronic resource.  It is crucial that this information be included, because the electronic resource may be an updated version of the print counterpart.  The date the electronic resource was accessed is important because the resource may be changed before someone looking at your sources checks it.  

Thus, the first step in citing information from the Internet is to construct the citation for the print counterpart of the source, if one exists.  You will then attach a statement of one of the following forms to the end of the citation:

Retrieved month day, year from the World Wide Web: URL
Retrieved month day, year from database name database (specific database) on the World Wide Web: URL of home page

Note that different details are required for articles obtained from periodical databases.  See the table below for precise formatting details.  

When citing a web page, cite the specific page from which you obtained information, not the site's home page.  Remember that a citation is supposed to make it so your reader can find your original source; including the home page of a large site will do little good.  

The APA's document "Electronic References Formats Recommended by the American Psychological Association" provides the most up-to-date information on citing information obtained on the Internet.  All the the information presented here is taken from that document.  

The components of a References list entry for articles from an online source, listed in the proper order:  


Formatting Details

Source with Print Equivalent   Period (.)
  • For the first (or only) author, first include the author's last name, followed by a comma, followed by the author's first initial and middle initial (if known).  

  • For two or more authors, format each author's name as above.  Follow each author's name with a comma and precede the last author with an ampersand (&).  Write all author names (do not use et al. as in MLA).

  • If the author is a corporate or institutional publication, give the name of the corporation or institution as the author. 

  • If the work is a translation, give the original author here.  The translator will be listed later.  
  • If there is more than one work by an author on the References page, alphabetize the works by the next element.  If there are multiple authors, alphabetize by the second author.  If not, alphabetize by the publication date.  
  • If the article is unsigned, begin the citation with the article title, then publication date.  [Example]
  Period (.) (just one, i.e. not Berman, J..)
Update Date
  • Include the four-digit year of publication. Enclose the date within parentheses. Then give a comma, a space, and then the month and date. Do not abbreviate the month and use digits for the date.  
  • This date is when the page was last changed. The last update date of a web page is usually given at the bottom or top of a page.  A posting date may also be given on the page one level higher (such as a page that is an index of articles).   
  • If no date is available, write "n. d."
  Period (.) outside the parentheses
  • Include the title of the article, underlined or in italics. [Example]
  • Use either the header of the page or the title that displays in the Netscape title bar.  (If the page has frames, it's best to right click and choose "Open Frame in New Window" to get the frame title.)
  • Click here for notes on capitalization.  
  Period (.)
Publication Place
  • If the place of publication is known, list it here.  
  Colon (:)
  • If the page has a publisher (usually an institutional publisher), cite it here.  
  Period (.)
Access Date
  • Always begin this section with the word "Retrieved."
  • Follow it with the date you accessed the source.  Use the following order: month, day (digits), and year (four digits), e.g. "July 4, 2000."  Do not abbreviate the month.  
  • This date is different from the update date, which gives the date the page was last updated.  It is when you looked at it, and it is important because the site may have changed since then.
  None (next element is part of the same sentence)
Source and URL
  • If the source is a web page,  
    • Continue the sentence with "from the World Wide Web:" 
    • Follow the colon with a space and the complete URL of the page.  There is no ending punctuation.
    • If the source page has frames, it is best to use the URL of the frame you're citing.  In Netscape, you can locate that URL by right clicking the frame and selecting "Open Frame in New Window."
    • The last sentence should read: "Retrieved [date] from the World Wide Web: [URL]"
  • If the article is from a online database,
    • Continue the sentence with "from"  and the name of the database.  Then write the word "database."
    • In parentheses, give the name of the specific database you used, e.g. WilsonSelect, etc.
    • Complete the sentence with "on the World Wide Web:"  
    • Follow the colon with a single space and then give the URL of the service's main page.  There is no ending punctuation.
    • The last sentence should read: "Retrieved [date] from [database name] database ([smaller database within]) on the World Wide Web: [URL of database's home page]"
  • In a printed essay, the URL should not be a link, although Word's AutoCorrect feature will convert text it thinks is a web address to a link.  To convert this URL back to plain text, type Ctrl+Z (Undo) immediately.
  • If you have to split the URL onto multiple lines, split it only after a slash. 
  None (so it's not confused as part of the URL)

A note on italicization and underlining: as of the 5th edition APA prefers italics over underlining. This is a change from previous editions where it was left up to the author.

Citation Examples (from The Ready Reference Handbook)

Connolly, F. W. (1995, October 21). Intellectual honesty in the era of computing.  
     Chicago: Loyola University. Retrieved August 9, 1998 from the World Wide Web:
[Article at Scholarly Site]
Denman, K. (1993). Emily Dickinson's volcanic punctuation. Emily 
     Dickinson Journal 2,(1). Retrieved September 9, 1998 from the World Wide
[Article in Scholarly Journal]
Gordon, D. (1998, September). The usual suspects. Chicago Reporter, 16.  
     Retrieved September 28, 1998 from the World Wide Web:
[Source from Subscription Service]
James, F. (1998, August 25). U.S. judges reject census sampling. Chicago 
     Tribune, 128, p. A1. Retrieved August 25, 1998 from the World Wide Web:,1051,ART-13624,99.html
[Newspaper Article]
Jericho. (1997). Encyclopedia of the Orient. Centre d'Information Arabe Scandinave.
     Retrieved January 4, 1998 from the World Wide Web:
[Article in a Reference Database]
Lawton, M. (1997, May 14). ETS disputes charges of gender bias. Education Week, 16, 1, 3-5. 
     Retrieved June 3, 1998 from the World Wide Web:
[Article in Magazine]
Neumann, K.  (1998, August 26). Kurt Neumann's Homepage.  Retrieved August 27, 1998 from the 
     World Wide Web:
[Personal Site]
Natural Resources Defense Council. (1997). Reclaiming our heritage: What we need to do to 
     preserve America's national parks.  New York: Natural Resources Defense Council.  Retrieved 
     July 31, 1998 from the World Wide Web:
[Lengthy Online Document]
Thoreau, H. D. (1854). Walden. Chicago: University of Illinois.
     Retrieved September 1, 1998 from the World Wide Web: 
[An online book]
Citation information is taken from the 
Ready Reference Handbook MLA 
examples and converted to APA 
style for comparison. (Dodds 348-51)

There are also several examples in the document Electronic References Formats Recommended by the American Psychological Association.

More examples can be found in ONLINE!.

Citation Examples for Databases from the JC Library

Barnett, A. (1999). A survey of Internet searches and their results. Reference
     and User Services Quarterly, 39,(2) 177-181. Retrieved July 4, 2000 from 
     FirstSearch database (WilsonSelect) on the World Wide Web:
Zuckerman, S. (2000, July 4). Bank wins round on ATM fees; judge rules S.F. surcharge
     allowed. San Francisco Chronicle, p. A1. Retrieved July 4, 2000 from Lexis-Nexis
     Academic Universe database (General News) on the World Wide Web:

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Created: 06/27/2000
Last Modified: 09/25/2002