Citing Information from the Web

As we mentioned in several earlier chapters, whenever you use information from a source—whether that source is a journal, book, or Web site—you must cite the source. While journals and books provide fairly standardized information for citing, Web sites do not. This means that finding the information you need to cite a Web page can be difficult sometimes, but with practice you can learn to find the information that you need.

Let's walk through an example. If you were to cite a Web page in MLA format, you would need the following information:

  • Author first and last name (if available)
  • Web page title
  • Full name of Web site
  • Name of sponsoring institution or organization
  • Date of posting or last revision to the Web page
  • Month, day, and year of your access to the Web page
  • Medium of publication
  • Complete URL of the Web page

And the format and order of the citation would be as follows:

Author last name, First name (if available). "Web Page Title." Full Name of Web Site.
        Name of Sponsoring institution/organization. Date of posting/last revision. Medium of
        publication. Day Month Year of your access <complete URL>.

Below we've taken a busy Web page and highlighted the information you would need to cite this source.

A screenshot of a Web page produced by the Library of Congress with numbers beside the different parts of the Web page that are used in a citation

 

  1. Web Page Title: Often you can find the title of a Web page both above the address bar and in the text of the page itself. (The Web page title is the SPECIFIC page your are using—not the title of the overall Web site.)
  2. Full name of Web site: In this case, the name of the Web site is included on the page. Sometimes you will need to look at other pages on the site to determine the site's name.
  3. Date of posting or last revision to the Web page: Most Web pages list a date near the bottom of the page.
  4. Name of sponsoring institution or organization: If you can't find the sponsoring information on the Web page, look for an "About Us" page.
  5. Complete URL of the Web page: You will find this information at the top of the screen in the address bar of the Web browser you are using.

Here's the citation, in MLA format, for this Web page:

"From the Home Front and the Front Lines." The Veterans History Project of the American
        Folklife Center at the Library of Congress
. The Library of Congress. 2 Sept. 2004.
        Web. 1 July 2006 <http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/homefront-home.html>.

Notice that there is no author listed on this Web page, so the citation begins with the Web page title.

 
Chapter 6 — Page 14