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How to Cite Internet Sources

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Oct 1, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

With so many resources online, many students are using it as a valuable resource for academic research these days. And it’s mostly valid—there are plenty of scholarly and legitimate websites out there that can provide valuable information. But you will have to cite your sources correctly if you want to use information you found online in your papers.

Citing sources under APA and MLA rules is confusing enough for books, magazines, and other hardcopy documents. But there are established rules for how to cite Internet sources, too—and teachers in both traditional and accredited online colleges expect you to know them. Here’s an outline of the basics.  

How to Cite APA Internet Sources in Papers and References.


When citing an entire website

There’s usually no complicated rule to follow. Simply state the url address after mentioning the name of the site. For example: “More information on the FAFSA can be found at FAFSA on the Web.”

When citing an article from an online journal

Cite the information in the following order:

Author. (Date of article.) Journal Title, vol. (Issue number), pages cited. Date information retrieved, from (url address).

For example:

Smith, J.R. (2010). “The Psychological Impact of Social Media.” Psychology News, 54(3), 23-24. Retrieved September 7, 2011, from http//

When citing an online newspaper article

Cite the information in the following order:

Author. (Year, Month Day). “Title of Article.” Newspaper Title. Date of informational retrieval, from (url).

For example:

Jackson, L. (2011, March 14). “Studies Show Growing Acceptance of Online Degrees in More Traditional Fields.” The Daily Examiner. Retrieved July 8, 2011 from

When citing an email

It’s generally frowned upon to cite a personal or professional email in your reference list, although it can be done in the text of your paper as follows:

Name of sender (personal communication, date).

For example:

E. Rodriguez (personal communication, December 10, 2011).

When citing a tweet

The publisher’s name, as written (not last to first). (Year, month day.) Text of post, in its entirety, including urls if provided [Twitter post]. Retrieved from url.

Mimi James. (2010, March 10). The new study on violent behavior in Chicago inmates was published this morning [Twitter post]. Retrieved from 


How to Cite MLA Internet Sources. 

It’s important to note that if certain information is not available, it is considered acceptable to replace the missing info with “n.d.” (if no date of publication is given) or “n.p.” if no publisher name is given.

When citing a whole website

Cite information in the following order:

Editor, author, or name of compiler. Name of website. Version number. Name of the institution, organization, publisher, or sponsor, date of last publication. Medium of publication. Date of access.

For example:

Dan Harlin. History of Roman Civilization. National Geographic, July 1, 2012. Web. August 6, 2012.

When citing an individual page on a website

Follow these guidelines:

Title of the article. Website. Company or organization behind the website. Date of publication. Type of media. Date of access.

For example:

“How to Change your Oil.” eHow. Demand Media, Inc., June 12, 2009. Web. September 6, 2010.

When citing an image:

Name of artist. Title of artwork. Date of creation. Institution and city where the work is currently housed. Name of website. Publication medium. Date of access.

For example:
Da Vinci, Leonardo. The Mona Lisa. c. 1503-1519. Musée du Louvre. Web. May 6, 2010.


When citing an article in an online magazine

Cite the information as follows.

Author name. “Title of article.” Title of magazine. Publisher name, date of publication. Medium of publication. Date of access.

For example:

Singh, Jacob. “Five Top Cities for Employment on the East Coast.” Business Magazine. East Coast Publishing Company, March 4, 2004. Web. April 6, 2005.


When citing an article in an online academic journal

Note: MLA asks for a range of pages when citing scholarly journals. If your article only appears in online format, it may not have page numbers; if that’s the case, use the abbreviation “n.pag.”

Name of author. “Title of article.” Title of journal. Volume / issue number, date: page numbers. Medium of publication. Date of publication.


Holt, Francis. “Current Trends in Public Policy Affecting Troubled Youth.” Social Work and Society. 4.7 (2010): pg. 3-5. Web. June 20, 2010.


When citing emails

This citing method may be useful for email interviews as well as personal correspondence. Note that if the message was to you and you are the writer of the paper, you can say “Message to the author” in place of the name of the person the article was sent to.

Author of message. Subject line in quotation marks. Message to Name of person the message was sent to. Date of sending. Medium of publication.

For example:

Allen, Charlotte. “Re: Mathematical Equations.” Message to Joe Blum. November 15, 2003. Email.

When citing a listserv, discussion group, or blog posting

These are usually cited the way you would cite a standard web page. If you don’t have a specific author name, use the person’s screen name. If you know both, include both and put the author’s name in brackets. The format is as follows:

Author of the work. “Title of posting.” Name of web site. Publisher. Posting date. Medium of publication. Date of access.

For example:

JWill13 [John Wilson]. “Re: Interior Design Degrees.” Indigo Education LLC, March 14, 2010. Web. April 6, 2012.

When citing tweets 

User name (Twitter handle). “Entirety of tweet.” Date and time of posting. Tweet.

For example:

Rich, Diane (dianerichwrites). “Just had a conversation with Bill Engle of Engle Publishing.” December 12, 2011, 4:15 P.M. Tweet.



Jennifer Williamson

Jennifer worked as a GED teacher for an adult education nonprofit for two years. Her students came from all walks of life, and ranged in age from sixteen to sixty-eight. During that time, she became knowledgeable about the unique needs of non-traditional and adult learners. She counseled hundreds of students about their higher education options, including online degree programs.

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