How to Cite Information From the Internet and the World Wide Web

This page oginally appeared as: American Psychological Association (1999). How to Cite Information From the Internet and the World Wide Web. Retrieved April 26th, 1999 from the World Wide Web: http://www.apa.org/journals/webref.html

Information on how to cite documents retrieved from the World Wide Web follows.

But first, a cautionary note regarding the citation of email communications: It is possible to send an email note disguised as someone else. Authors—not journal editors or copy editors—are responsible for the accuracy of all references, which includes verifying the source of email communications before citing them as personal communications in manuscripts.

Email communications from individuals should be cited as personal communications, as noted in APA's Publication Manual (4th ed., pp. 173–174). The format in text (personal communications are not cited in the reference list) is as follows: L. A. Chafez (personal communication, March 28, 1997).

Here are some examples of how to cite material posted on APA's own Web page. A similar format can be used to cite gopher or ftp sources, as long as the medium and the path are sufficiently identified.

An action alert posted by our Public Policy Office:

American Psychological Association. (1995, September 15). APA public policy action alert: Legislation would affect grant recipients [Announcement posted on the World Wide Web]. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved January 25, 1996 from the World Wide Web: http://www.apa.org/ppo/istook.html

An article from the American Psychologist:

Jacobson, J. W., Mulick, J. A., & Schwartz, A. A. (1995). A history of facilitated communication: Science, pseudoscience, and antiscience: Science working group on facilitated communication. American Psychologist, 50, 750–765. Retrieved January 25, 1996 from the World Wide Web: http://www.apa.org/journals/jacobson.html

A newpaper article:

Sleek, S. (1996, January). Psychologists build a culture of peace. APA Monitor, pp. 1, 33 [Newspaper, selected stories on line]. Retrieved January 25, 1996 from the World Wide Web: http://www.apa.org/monitor/peacea.html

An abstract:

Rosenthal, R. (1995). State of New Jersey v. Margaret Kelly Michaels: An overview [Abstract]. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 1, 247–271. Retrieved January 25, 1996 from the World Wide Web: http://www.apa.org/journals/ab1.html

All references begin with the same information that would be provided for a printed source (or as much of that information as possible). The Web information is then placed at the end of the reference. It is important to use "Retrieved from" and the date because documents on the Web may change in content, move, or be removed from a site altogether. For example, the last two examples above are no longer available on APA's Web site. To cite a Web site in text (but not a specific document), it's sufficient to give the address (e.g., http://www.apa.org) there. No reference entry is needed.