Citing Sources on the Internet
A Short Guide to Bibliographic Referencing of Web Source Materials
We've received a number of requests from people and students wanting to know how to cite California Energy Commission documents or web pages in their bibliographies.
Please cite the author if listed on the web page, or if no specific author is given, please use California Energy Commission as the author. Use the standards explained below.
Our thanks to Michael A. Arnzen for his invaluable article in Internet World and for his permission to refer to his article. Thanks also to Internet World for their permission to quote the article.
Below is a sample of citations of Internet sources from an earlier version of Beyond the MLA Handbook: Documenting Electronic Sources on the Internet by Andrew Harnack and Gene Kleppinger The authors may have updated citation references in a newer edition.
Sources should be listed alphabetically by author along with other bibliographic references.
A Reminder to Students: Plagarism (stealing or using someone else's ideas or words as your own) is much easier with the Internet. You can copy and paste very easily from websites right into your reports and papers. DON'T! If you are using someone else's words, you must quote them. Or if you are paraphrasing someone else's ideas, you must cite them in your bibliography. Copying and pasting and using someone else's sentences as your own is cheating, and if you're caught, you could end up with an "F," or even worse be suspended or expelled. JUST DON'T DO IT!
How to Cite an E-mail You've Received
Author. Author's e-mail address. "Re: Text from the E-Mail's Subject Line." Date e-mail was sent. Personal e-mail. (Date read).
Matthews, Scott. Smatthew@energy.state.ca.us "Re: How We Survived the Summer of 2001." May 15, 2002. Personal e-mail. (May 16, 2002, 2000). Andrec, Mike. email@example.com "Re: New England School of Bandura." April 18, 2000. Personal e-mail. (April 19, 2000).
How to Cite a Website You've Visited
Author [if known]. "Title" [main title, in italics, if applicable]. Last date updated or revised [if known]. URL (web address) of page. (Date page was accessed).
California Energy Commission. "The Energy Story - Chapter 11: Geothermal Energy." April 22, 2002. http://www.energyquest.ca.gov/ story/chapter11.html (May 31, 2002). Ignatius. "To the Trallians." Early Church Documents (circa 96-50 C.E.). 1994. http://listserv.american.edu/ catholic/church/fathers/ignatius/ign-trl.txt (May 20, 2002).
How to Cite an PDF File You've Downloaded
A Portable Document Format (PDF) file is an electronic version of a report (or other document) that is stored on line. When viewed with Adobe Acrobat Reader and/or printed, the document is in the exact format of the original document. You would cite a PDF document the same way as if it were a regular book or periodical.
Author. Publication Date. Title of Document. City, State: Publisher. ISBN or other publication identification number (if appropriate). (Date PDF downloaded).
Lutzenhiser, Loren. 2002. CONSULTANT REPORT - An Exploratory Analysis of Residential Electricity Conservation Survey and Billing Data: Southern California Edison, Summer 2001. Sacramento, Calif.: California Energy Commission. Publication number 400-02-006F. (PDF version of document downloaded May 31, 2002).
How to Cite an FTP Site You've Visited
An FTP (or File Transfer Protocol) Site is a location on the Internet where files are simply listed
and stored. FTP use for storing documents has decreased with the explosive growth of the World Wide Web.
Author [if known]. "Title of Document" (Date of publication) [if available]. FTP address (Date accessed).
Letter, Mark. "Internet Domain Survey" (February 18, 2000). FTP to ftp.nw.com/zene/report.doc (May 16, 2002).
How to Cite a Gopher Site You've Visited
Gopher Sites were locations on the Internet with lists of text files. Gophers have fallen out of use with the growth of the World Wide Web. Some places may still maintain Gopher sites for older, archived information.
Author [if known]. "Title of document." Any print publication information [if applicable].Gopher address (Date accessed).
Westlund, Mark. "Boycott of Mitsubishi in Japan Launched by Peaceful Protest in Osaka." Published in "RAN News" (the Rainforest Action Network newsletter) March 21, 2002. Gopher igc.apc.org/Organizations/Rainforest Action Network/RanNews/MitsubishiBoycott (May 22, 2002).
How to Cite Usenet News
Author. author's e-mail address. "Subject Line." Date of publication. newsgroup address (Date accessed).
Straczynski, J.M. firstname.lastname@example.org "Re: ATTN JMS: Is B5 Dead?" June 19, 2000. rec.srts.sf.tv.babylon5.moderated (May 23, 2002).
How to Cite Mailing List / List Server Messages
Author [if known]. author's e-mail address. "Subject Line." Date of post. mailing list address (Date accessed).
Tracz, Orysia. email@example.com "Schevchenke in Love." May 1, 2002. firstname.lastname@example.org (May 23, 2002).
For an excellent article on citing the Internet, see "Cyber Citations" by Michael A. Arnzen, Internet World, September 1996, pages 72-74.
Other On-line citation information:
- Andrew Harnack and Gene Kleppinger, Beyond the MLA Handbook: Documenting Electronic Sources on the Internet
- Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor, Columbia Online Style Guide: Second Edition
- Melvin E. Page, A Brief Citation Guide for Internet Sources in History and the Humanities