Re: APA Style for citing on-line documents.
Holli Kearns <holli -at- EDEN -dot- COM>
Tue, 21 Nov 1995 08:44:43 -0600
The latest edition of the APA manual only includes about 2 pages of =
extremely brief guidelines for citing online material. However, there =
is a proposal on the Web for an extension of these guidelines. It's =
the proposed standard for referencing online documents in
I've taken the time to format the text for easy readability here so =
everyone could see it even if you don't have access to the Web. I do =
not claim any credit or responsibility for this document; it is not =
Here are comments from its developer:
"This is an evolving standard. This document should be considered =
under construction. Comments and suggestions are encouraged, and =
should be sent by electronic mail (e-mail) to the author: =
beads -at- xp -dot- psych -dot- nyu -dot- edu -dot- " <-- Note that this is not my address.
For those of you who would like to see it on your own, the URL is:
By the way, WEAPAS =3D Web Extension to American Psychological =
Here is the text:
Elements of References in WEAPAS Style
World Wide Web documents described as "maintained" should refer to =
the author with the parenthetical modifier, Maintainer (abbr Maint.), =
although the more generic Ed. (i.e. Editor) may also be used.
Two special cases of author identifiers are considered under the Web =
Extension: e-mail addresses and nicknames/handles.
Electronic Mail Address as Author
=80 If the element of a Web page lists an e-mail address, and no =
other information is available to suggest the author of the page, the =
e-mail address should fill the author position of the reference.
=80 Generic aliases (e.g. webmaster, maintainer) are an exception. In =
these cases, treat the organization which the documents represent =
(usu., but not always, the organization running the server on which =
they are found) as a group or corporate author. This organization =
will likely be found also in the ADDRESS field in proximity to the =
=80 All links which might name an author for a document (e.g. an =
anchor on the e-mail address itself, a "Return to Home" or "About the =
Author" link) should be exhausted before resorting to using an e-mail =
=80 Newsgroup postings and other documents which are only identifable =
by an e-mail addresses should also use the e-mail address as author.
=80 No capitalization or other changes in case should be made to =
e-mail addresses in the author position.
=80 When citing references with e-mail addresses for authors, write =
out the full e-mail address as if it were a surname.
Nickname or Handle as Author
=80 As with e-mail addresses, all potential links to pages in which a =
real name might be found should be exhausted before using a nickname =
=80 If an author is commonly known by a handle, while their real name =
is also known, the handle may be included in brackets immediately =
following the real name in the author position. In such cases, the =
abbreviation "a.k.a." should be used to identify the nickname as =
=80 The first letter of a handle should be capitalized. Unless the =
handle tends to be recognized by the use of non-standard case schemes =
(e.g. eNiGmA, mrEd), which should be preserved to aid in =
identification (i.e. the first letter should maintain its original =
=80 If a nickname is given as author, because the real name can not =
be determined, but an e-mail address for the individual is also =
known, the e-mail address should be included in brackets immediately =
following the nickname.
Because some types of online documents may be updated or modified by =
their authors' at any time, references to these documents should date =
the document version used with as much specificity as possible, with =
the following guidelines:
=80 References to articles in monthly serials, which will not be =
modified once distributed, need only list the month of publication. =
If the periodical is a recognized journal, with volume and issue =
numbers, only the year should be listed.
=80 Articles in newsgroups should be referenced not only by date, but =
by time, to distinguish them from other articles in the same thread =
by the same author. The format for such time references should be of =
the form "(Year, Month Date, GMT Hour:Minute:Second)" where GMT =
stands for Greenwich Mean Time, and Hour is on a 24 hour clock.
=80 Online documents which provide no information as to the date they =
were created or last modified, should be treated as republished =
versions of works with no date of initial publication (APA, 1994, p. =
173), such that the reference would be of the form. "(n.d./Year)" =
where Year is the year the document was retrieved.
=80 When referencing documents which are likely to change =
unpredictably over time (e.g. many Web pages) the date should be =
followed by the word "version" in the reference.
Optionally, one may choose to list the date a document was downloaded =
or viewed online, should there be a concern that the document might =
expire in the forseeable future. Such dates come at the end of the =
reference, parenthesized in the form "(visited Year, Month Date)"
Generally the title of an online document should be immediately =
recognizable. There are some variations to watch out for however.
=80 The Subject: line of a newsgroup article should be treated as its =
title. Although the prefix "Re:" or its cognate, a series of one or =
more closing angle brackets (">"), should be dropped. Messages =
lacking a subject or marked explicitly as "No subject" or similarly =
tagged, should be treated as untitled works.
=80 Gopher menus (as opposed to discrete files retrieved by a gopher =
server) do not have titles, only description(s) of content, which may =
be provided by external pointers to the menu. It is recommended that =
such a description be included in brackets in the title position, =
otherwise the gopher menu should be treated as an untitled work.
=80 The title of a HTML Web document should be taken from the <TITLE> =
element of that page. If the client used to view this page does not =
automatically display the contents of the <TITLE> element, it must be =
found by looking at the source file. Should the title given in header =
(e.g. <H1>) elements vary substantially from the that in the <TITLE> =
element, it may be listed also, following the <TITLE> part, and =
separated by a semicolon.
Types of Documents
There are many different types of documents and services available on =
the Internet. The nature of a given document should be given in =
brackets immediately following the title.
An online database other than WAIS.
Graphics file in .gif, .jpg, or some other format.
Digitized sound file
Recorded or sythesized audio file.
Digitized vide file
Film, movie, or animation as an electronic data file.
Electronic data file
Something for which these other descriptors is not entirely =
Subdirectory within an FTP accessed file system.
Location in gopher space other than a terminal document node.
On-line news posting
Article in a Usenet or local newsgroup
On-line search query
A database query or similar service accessed by gopher, or via the =
Web using the GET method.
Periodical distributed by eMail or in another form.
Service other than a database, accessible via telnet or other =
File containing instructions for rendering a document on a PostScript =
printer or other device.
File containing text which may be read without a special program.
Publicly accessible WAIS.
Results of a search of a WAIS database.
An HTML document which must be viewed using a World Wide Web client.
Note that postings to mailing lists (e.g. Listserv, MajorDomo) are =
not included here. As these documents are not
publicly retrievable at a later date, and are seen only by those =
individuals who are subscribed to the list at the time the
message was sent, they should be treated as personal communications.
The Web Extension employs URLs in the publication element of =
references, under the following conditions:
=80 Each unique Uniform Resource Locator should be prefaced with the =
keyword "URL" followed by a space.
=80 A URL should not end with a period or other punctuation.
=80 If a URL should run longer than the space available on a line, it =
may be broken at a slach ("/") character, keeping the slash as the =
last character on the line, in the same way as a dash ("-") is used =
to divide hyphenated words.
=80 When the retrieval of a document involves the sending of e-mail, =
the mailto: URL should be followed by any information required in the =
mail for retrieval. This information shall be prefixed by either the =
keyword Message: (if it is to be included in the body of the mail) or =
the keyword Subject: (if it is meant to appear on the subject header =
line). A space should delimiter both sides of the keyword, but no =
other punctuation (other than the colon in the keyword) should be =
=80 For documents which have alternative methods of online retrieval, =
the URL for each retrieval method should be listed, with URLs =
delimited by a single space and no other punctuation.
American Psychological Association (APA) (1994). Publication manual =
of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.). Washington, D. =
Graham, I. (n.d./1995). Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) [WWW =
document]. URL http://www.utirc.utoronto.ca/HTMLdocs/NewHTML/url.html
Walker, J. R. (1995, April version). Walker/ACW Style Sheet; =
MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Sources [WWW document]. URL =
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (1995, May 15). About the World Wide =
Web [WWW document]. URL http://www.w3.org/hypertext/WWW/WWW/
Holli Kearns My comments are my own. =
Support Information Services So, don't credit or =
Apple Computer, Inc. Apple Computer for them!
holli -at- apple -dot- com
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