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Citing Sources

Citing Sources


Giving Credit - how bibliography entries are made for web sites.


Part of being a good writer and scientist is letting others know how to locate information you used to write your paper. This is done by citing your sources in a bibliography at the end of a paper. There are some common ways to cite your sources for books, journals, and magazines, but the Web is a bit different. Articles on the Internet do not have page numbers and often do not have an author listed. So how do you site or reference Web-based information?

How to Cite a Web Source

There is no standard way to cite the information you obtain from a Web site. The two most common methods used for school papers are the APA (American Psychological Association) and the MLA (Modern Language Association). Each one has a similar method for citing information that includes:

  • 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) - sometimes you need to check the home page for the web site to locate this date
  • full http address (URL), sometimes within angle brackets
  • date of visit in parentheses

MLA Style Website Citation Example 

Ortiz-Barney, Elena. "Time Traveling Plants." 
Ask a Biologist. 2001. 
<http://askabiologist.asu.edu/research/ seeds/index.html> 
(7 July. 2001). 

MLA Style Website Citation with Two Authors

Cooper, Kim and C. J. Kazilek. "Seeing Color." 
Ask a Biologist. 2001. 
<http://askabiologist.asu.edu/research/seecolor/index.html> 
(7 July. 2001).

MLA Style Website Citation with No Author

"Puzzles." Ask a Biologist. 2001
<http://askabiologist.asu.edu/expstuff/puzzles.html>
(7 July. 2001)

On the Ask A Biologist website we have a link at the bottom of each page to help you cite your work correctly. You can try it out on this page by clicking on the link below.

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by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.

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Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.