Citing electronic sources using APA referencing

Electronic sources include websites, emails, films, television programs, social media, podcasts and radio broadcasts, online journals and eBooks.

How do I cite electronic resources using APA style?

Referencing electronic resources can be confusing - it's difficult to know which information to include or where to find it. Electronic citations require many of the same elements, in the same order, as fixed-media sources.

As a general rule, provide as much information as possible concerning authorship, location and availability. Also, determine the type of content so the format can be identified.

For the reference list, provide the following pieces of information:

  • Author or authoring body name(s)
  • Date (published or last updated)
  • Title
  • Format description (where necessary, identify that you accessed the source in an electronic format, between square brackets [ ])
  • Provide as much electronic retrieval information as needed to locate the source; for example, a webpage URL or a DOI (Digital Object Identifier. (Retrieved from http://xxxxxxxxx)

Electronic publishing is now a standard form of accessing information, but many sources are published in both paper and electronic formats. You should cite according to the format you accessed. Unlike fixed-media sources, online materials can easily be changed, or disappear altogether, so full and accurate citation information is essential.

Websites

To refer to an entire website

For a passing reference to a website in text, the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed:

These United Nations policies are outlined on The International Narcotics Control board website (http://www.incb.org)

 

To cite a particular document or piece of information from a website

In text

Cite the name of the author/authoring body and the date created or last revised:

(International Narcotics Control Board, 1999) 

Reference list

International Narcotics Control Board (1999). Psychotropic Substances. Retrieved from http://www.incb.org/incb/en/psychotropic-substances/index.html

Include the following information:

  • author (the person or organisation responsible for the site)
  • year (date created or last updated), between parentheses
  • Title of document
  • Retrieved from
  • webpage URL (If possible, ensure that the URL is included without a line-break).

A website with no author

In text

If the author's name is unknown, cite the website/page title and date. If the title is long, cite the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title:

("Land for sale on moon", 2007) 

List of references

Land for sale on moon. (2007). Retrieved from http://www.moonlandregistry.com

A website with no date

In the text

If there is no date on the page, use the abbreviation n.d. (no date):

(ArtsNSW, n.d.)

List of references

ArtsNSW. (n.d.). New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. Retrieved from http://www.arts.nsw.gov.au/awards/
LiteraryAwards/litawards.htm

Blogs

To refer to an entire blog

As with a website, mentioning it in text, along with the URL is sufficient; no reference list entry is needed:

Aspects of the postgraduate experience are discussed at The Thesis Whisperer blog (https://thesiswhisperer.com) ...

 

A Blog Post

Use the screen name of the author as written.

In the text

PZ Myers (2014) points out that ...

References

  • Author name
  • Date (year, month day).
  • Post name
  • Format, between square brackets
  • Retrieved from URL of post

PZ Myers. (2014, August 25). Crusaders against GMOs [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/08/25/crusaders-against-gmos/

 

A Blog Comment

proximity1. (2014, August 26). Re: Crusaders against GMOs [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/08/25/crusaders-against-gmos/

Entry in an online reference work (wikis, dictionaries)

Entry in an online reference work

In text

Davison (2003, para. 1) defines Australian national identity as "is the most recent and popular of the concepts by which Australians have defined their selfhood as a people."

Davison (2003) suggests that national identity has become deeply embedded in Australian public discourse.

References

Davison, G. (2003). National Identity. In G. Davison, J. Hirst, & S. Macintyre (Eds), The Oxford Companion to Australian History. Retrieved from http://www.oxfordreference.com/

 

Entry in an online reference work, no author or editor

Put the name of the entry in place of the author name.

Hegemeny. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hegemony

When listing a frequently updated source, note that the retrieval date is needed in this case because, as true for any wiki entry, the source material may change over time.

Science fiction. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 14, 2009, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science_fiction

Facebook

General mentions with a URL

As with a website, if you are discussing facebook or a facebook page in general, give the site URL in the text, inside parentheses, the first time it is mentioned. No reference list entry is needed.

Many alpaca breeding enthusiasts connect through social media like facebook (https://www.facebook.com)

To refer to specific information

If you paraphrase or quote specific, retrievable information from social media, provide an in-text citation (with the author and date) and a reference list entry (with the author, date, title, and source URL). 

In text

Include the author name and date of posting:

(The Learning Centre UNSW 2015)

 

Reference list

  • Author name and initial, or group name
  • Date (Provide the year, month, and day for items that have a specific date associated with them (status updates, photos, and videos). Otherwise, provide only the year.)
  • Title (Provide the name of the page or the content or caption of the post)
  • Format [Facebook post] Describe the content form (e.g. Facebook status update, photograph, timeline, video file) after the title in square brackets.
  • Source url (Provide a retrieval URL that leads as directly and reliably to the cited content as possible. Click a post’s date stamp to access its archived URL).
  • Retrieval date (add if the content may change e.g., whole feeds or pages. Do not provide a retrieval date if the post has a specific date associated with it already (e.g., status updates, photos, and videos).

The Learning Centre UNSW. (2015, October 8). November is AcWriMo (Academic Writing Month) at UNSW! [Facebook status update]. Retreived from https://www.facebook.com/TLC.UNSW/posts/10152980930467126

Twitter

General mentions with a URL

As with a website, if you are discussing twitter or a twitter account in general, give the site URL in the text, inside parentheses, the first time it is mentioned. No reference list entry is needed.

President Obama's twitter account is run by numerous staff (https://twitter.com/BarackObama)

 

To refer to specific information

If you paraphrase or quote specific, retrievable information from social media, provide an in-text citation (with the author and date) and a reference list entry (with the author, date, title, and source URL). 

In text

Include the author name and date of posting:

(BarackObama 2016)

 

Reference list

  • Author name and initial, or group name, followed by social media identity information (provide the author’s screen name in square brackets. If only the screen name is known, provide it without brackets.
  • Date (Provide the year, month, and day for items that have a specific date associated with them. Otherwise, provide only the year.)
  • title (Provide the name of the page or the content or caption of the post)
  • format. Describe the content form (e.g. tweet, photograph, video file) after the title in square brackets.
  • source url (Provide a retrieval URL that leads as directly and reliably to the cited content as possible. Click a post’s date stamp to access its archived URL).
  • Retrieval date (add if the content may change e.g., whole feeds or pages. Do not provide a retrieval date if the post has a specific date associated with it already (e.g., tweets, photos, and videos).

Obama, B. [BarackObama]. (2016, June 9). Watch President Obama Slow Jam the News on at 11:35 p.m. ET. [tweet]. Retreived from https://twitter.com/BarackObama/status/741068131347660801. (

Email or electronic mailing list

To cite an email 

E-mails from individuals should be cited as personal communications. Cite them in text only. Provide author initials and surname, and the date. Personal communications are not included in the reference list.

(J. Smith, personal communication, April 18, 2001)

 

To cite electronic mail lists

If the author's full name is available list the last name first followed by intitials. If only a screen name is available, use that.

Exact date of posting (year, month, day)

Title (subject line of message, do not italicise)

Format (description, between square brackets)

Retrieved from URL

In text

Include the author name and date of posting:

(Dushant, 2006) 

List of references

Dushant, Y. (2006, June 12). Re: Films depicting rapid socio/economic changes in Asia [Eletronic mailing list message]. http://h-net.msu.edu/cgi-bin/logbrowse.pl?trx=vx&list=H-Film&month=0606&...

LatinoEuropa. (2016, June 6). The minute of silence [Online forum post]. Retrieved from http://historum.com/general-history/113744-minute-silence.html