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Introduction to Linguistics: Citing Online Sources

Citation Examples

You need to cite where your information came from in the body of your paper (in-text) AND on a Works Cited page at the end.

 If you need help citing your source, you should always feel free to ask a Librarian.


Citing Online Sources (not from databases):

While the databases in general will create a formatted citation for you, web sources will not. For sources not found in databases follow the (MLA8) example below. 

Author Last Name, First Name (or organization or agency). "Title of article or page." Name of web site, Date of page day month year, URL (minus http://). Accessed day month year.

"Public Agrees on Obesity's Impact, Not Government's Role." Pew Research Center, 12 Nov. 2013, Accessed 20 March 2017.


Figuring Out What to Cite:

It can often be confusing to figure out which parts of a website to use for a citation when there is no proper author or title like a typical article. Below is an example from the Dialect Survey Maps of what to look for on your webpage.

The website is a collection of data from a survey with the results displayed as a series of maps. The website name is Dialog Survey Maps although we can see the url name it quite different. There is no proper article, but we are looking at the information in response to Question 105: What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage? This will be used in place of an article title. Since we are looking at a map, we will have to note that this is a map.

From the main page is also noted that Joshua Katz is the creator of the website, so we will use him as our author.

What is not available anywhere is a date of when this website was put together, not even under the 'further information' link. For that reason we will have to note that it has no date (using n.d. so our professor doesn't think we forgot to include this in our citation).

I accessed this information today March 29, 2017 off the web (not from a printed book, a dvd etc) at the URL Last week the information on this page could have been different and next month it might change so I need to include the day I found it (note: the website is actually dead now, but I'm updating an old citation so let's pretend....).

Proper citation style means following the formatting rules: dates are cited as day month year. If you cite your date as 27/3/17 or Mar. 27, 2017 or 3.27.17 or anything other than 27 Mar. 2017 it is incorrectly formatted.

When I put this all together I get my MLA formatted citation:

Katz, Joshua. "Question 105: What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?" Map. Dialect Survey Map, n.d., Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.

When citing this article in the body of my paper, my MLA formatted in-text (or parenthetical) citation will be (Katz). Since websites do not have proper page numbers this is all the information I have. If there were no author credited to this article, I would use part of the title (in quotation marks).

If you are trying to put together a citation and you cannot find many of the parts you need (author, date, publisher) you should think very carefully about using it for your paper. 

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