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Encyclopedias and Dictionaries


Online Sources

Citing Internet Sources in Chicago 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 Chicago 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.  

When citing a web page, you should 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 information on this page is based on Online! and details from the pages for print sources.  The Chicago Manual of Style was last revised in 1993, and does not yet include any official information on online sources. The Chicago Manual of Style FAQ does not include any information on online sources, but instead links to other citation styles.  Thus, the information presented here is not official Chicago style, but instead an attempt to synthesize a consistent style.  

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


Formatting Details

  • For the first (or only) author, include the author's name in inverted order.  If the middle initial is known, include it and follow it with a period, e.g. "Last, First M."   [Example]

  • For two authors, list the authors in the order in which they appear on the title page.  Format names as above and separate names with "and." 

  • For three authors, list them in the order in which they appear on the title page. Format names as above, follow the first and second names with a comma, and precede the last with "and." 

  • For more than three authors, list only the first author, followed by "et al." (with the ending period).

  • If the author's name appears in the title (such as an autobiography, collected works book, etc.), omit this part and begin the note with the title.  

  • If the author's name is known, but not given on the title page, enclose it in brackets. 

  • If the work is anonymous, omit this part and begin the note with the title. 

  • If no author is listed on the title page, but instead editor(s), compiler(s), or translator(s), list the editor(s), compiler(s), or translator(s) here instead.  Follow the name(s) with a comma, and "ed." or "eds." for editor(s), "trans." for translators, and "comp." or "comps." for compiler(s). 

  • For examples on author variations, see the Books page.

  Period (.)
Title of a Short Work
  • If you're citing an article, short story, poem, etc., enclose the title of the article or the headline within quotation marks. [Example]
  • If you're citing a web page, enclose the title of the page within quotation marks.  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.)
  • If you're citing an e-mail, enclose the subject line within quotation marks as the title.  Use standard capitalization for the subject line. [Example]
  • If you're citing a posting to a discussion list or forum, 
    • Enclose the subject line within quotation marks as the title.  Put a period within the quotation marks. Use standard capitalization for the subject line. 
  • If there is a title within the title, use single quotation marks (like apostrophes) for the shorter title.  
  • The comma goes inside the quotation marks. [Example]
  Comma (,)
Title of a Book
  • If you're citing an entire site, give its title in italics. [Example]
  • If the work is from a book, encyclopedia, dictionary, or report, include its title, italicized.  
  • If there is a title within the title, do not italicize or underline the shorter title.  If the shorter title is usually within quotation marks, retain the quotation marks.
  • Click here for notes on capitalization.
  Comma (,)
Print Publication Information   Comma (,)
Publication Date
  • Give the date the article or page was last updated or posted.  Include as much of the day, month (not abbreviated), and year (four digits) as is given, e.g. "4 July 2000" or "July 2000" or "2000." [Example]
  • 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).   
  • For an email, give the date of sending. [Example]
  Comma (,)
Subscription Service Information
  • If the article is from a subscription service, include the name of the service (in plain text). [Example]
  • If the library is a subscriber to the service, place a period after the service name, and then include the following, separated by commas:
    • The name of the library.
    • The city (and state, if the city is not well-known) of the library. [Example]
  Comma (,)
URL or Keyword
  • If the source is a web page, enclose the URL (or web address) of the page within angle brackets (< >).  [Example]
    • 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."
  • If the article is from a subscription service, give the URL of the service's main page in angle brackets (< >). [Example]
  • 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.  You can also turn off this feature permanently.
  • If you have to split the URL onto multiple lines, split it only after a slash.  [Example]
  • For an email, write "personal email" here (not in < >). [Example]
  None (a single space)
Access Date
  • Include the date you accessed the source.  Use the following order: day (digits), month (abbreviated), and year (four digits), e.g. "4 July 2000." [Example]
  • Enclose this date within parentheses and put the ending period outside the parentheses. [Example]
  • 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.
  Period (.)


Citation Examples (from Online!)

Pellegrino, Joseph. "Homepage," 12 May 1999, <
   default.htm> (12 June 1999).
[Personal site]
Mortimer, Gail. The William Faulkner Society Home Page, 16 September 1999, 
   <> (19 November 1997).
[Organizational site]
National Association of Investors Corporation. NAIC Online, 20 September 1999,
   <> (1 October 1999).
[Organizational site]
Franke, Norman. "SoundApp 2.0.2," 2 April 1996, personal email (3 May 1996).

More examples can be found in ONLINE!.

Citation Examples for Databases from the JC Library

Barnett, Andy, "A Survey of Internet Searches and their Results,"  Reference
   and User Services Quarterly 39, no. 2 (1999): 177-81, FirstSearch, L. A. Beeghly Library, 
   Huntingdon, PA, <> (4 July 2000).
Zuckerman, Sam, "Bank Wins Round on ATM Fees; Judge Rules S.F. Surcharge Allowed,"
   San Francisco Chronicle 4 July 2000, 1, Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, L. A. Beeghly Library, 
   Huntingdon, PA, <> (4 July 2000).

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