Los Angeles Valley College

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How to Cite From Electronic Resources

Books and Internet Resources:

Gibaldi, Joseph
MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 2nd edition, section 6.9 Reference
Desk: PN147.G444 1998

Walker, Janice R.
Columbia Guide to Style
Reserve Room: PN 171.F56 1998 (Reserve Book Room, 2 hour loan)


Online! A Reference Guide to Using Internet Sources http://www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/citex.html

Based on a book published in 1998.  The site presents guidelines from the Modern Language Association (MLA), the American Psychological Association (APA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the Council of Biology Editors (CBE), with examples for citing and documenting World Wide Web sites, e-mail messages, Web discussion forum postings, listserv and newsgroup messages, real-time communications (MOOs, MUDs, IRCs), telnet sites, FTP sites, gopher sites, and linkage data are provided. There are related links to other style conventions and an excellent FAQ. The book is written by Andrew Harnack and Eugene Kleppinger.


Periodical Journal articles retrieved from a database:

Defined as:

  • Type of publication: A formal document, i.e., an online journal, newsletter, government document or book. It is not simply a Web page.
  • Access: Retrieved from a proprietary* database. The article itself usually does not have a URL (universal resource locator) by which it can be directly accessed.

A proprietary database is the term used for journal and document indexes. These commercial subscription services typically provide indexing, abstracts, and text for journal articles.  DO NOT confuse the database (content) with the company that provides it (computer service) or the search interface (software) used to access the database.

There are several elements to add to the standard bibliographic reference, depending on whether you use MLA or APA form:

  1. The name of the search service (InfoTrac) and the particular database you used. Valley College Library subscribes to “Expanded Academic ASAP,” “General Reference Center,” “National Newspaper Index,” and “SIRS Researcher(R).”
  2. The name of the company: Galegroup.


  • author’s last name, first name, middle initial
  • title of work (in quotation marks)
  • title of document (underlined)
  • journal number, issue number, or other identifying numbers
  • date
  • page numbers. (If there is no printed version, or the length is not known, use the number range or total number of pages, paragraphs, or other section if they are numbered. If they are not numbered, use the statement n.pag. to indicate no pagination. Abbreviations of length: Paragraphs, pars e.g. 13 pars.; Pages, pp. e.g. 4 pp.**)
  • name of the database
  • name of the company sponsoring, or associated with the database
  • date accessed in parentheses. Give the day, month and year
  • electronic address or URL*** in angle brackets followed by a period

** Articles  retrieved from an electronic database may not have the same pagination as the original journal articles. They must be cited by paragraph number.


*** Provide the URL only if it will be of utility to the reader of the citation, i.e., if the reader can use that URL to actually retrieve the document.


Example for journal articles retrieved from a proprietary database: (Articles have a printed version).

Jordan, June: “Breast Cancer: Still Here.” The Progressive v63(2). Feb 1999: 17.

InfoTrac: Expanded Academic ASAP.Galegroup. (1 Oct. 1999.)


For an Internet Site:

      • Type of Publication: It is a regular Web page. It is a not a formal document, i.e., it is not a journal article, newsletter, article, government document, or book.

      • Access: Internet site. It has a URL. It was not retrieved from a proprietary database.


      • author's name (if known)
      • full title of the document in quotation marks
      • title of the complete work if applicable in italics
      • date of publication or last revision (if available)
      • full http address (URL) enclosed within angle brackets
      • date of visit in parentheses

Example for a Web citation:

Rippel, Chris. "Internet Cites." 5 April 1998: n. pg. Central Kansas Library System,
http://www.skyways.lib.ks.us/kansas/central/post/tutorials/citation. (4 Oct. 1999)

Email, Listserv, & Newsgroup Citations:


      • author's name (if known) or the author's email or login name (the part of the email address before the @   sign)
      • subject line of the posting, enclosed in quotation marks
      • date of the message if different from the date accessed
      • name of the discussion list (if applicable) in italics
      • address of the list, or the protocol and address of the newsgroup
      • date accessed in parentheses