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Citing quotes and articles extracted
from the
Internet, E-books
, etc.


Standards have been in place for the proper citation of published works for many centuries. High school students are increasingly expected to include properly formatted references to the sources that they have used when researching their essays. Unfortunately, no "definitive standard for the citation of...[Internet] resources has yet to emerge." 1 At this time, there are a number of "standards" being used.

Unfortunately, Internet web sites seem to disagree on the exact details of these various formats. We recommend that you consult original source material in the event that you are required to follow a specific format.

APA Format (American Psychological Association): 2

bullet The format includes: Author or editor/ Year of Publishing/ Title/ Type of medium/ Producer (optional)/ Availability/ URL/ Access date (optional)
bullet When publication date is not available, enter "(no date)"
bullet Typical example:
Robinson, Bruce. (2007, April 22). End of the World Predictions. [Online] In Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved June 11, 2007 from


Chicago style:

bullet Typical example: 9
Robinson, BA, "End of the World Predictions," Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.  (accessed June 11, 2007).

CSE style (Council of Science Editors):

bullet Typical example: 9
Robinson, BA. End of the World Predictions [Internet]. Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance; 2007 APR 22, 10:55 UTC [cited 2007 JUN 11]. Available from:

Harvard style: 8

bullet The format includes: Author's/Editor's SURNAME, INITIALS., Year. Title [online]. (Edition).
Place of publication: Publisher (if ascertainable).
Available from: URL [Accessed Date].
bullet Typical example:
ROBINSON, B.A., 2007. End of the World Predictions [online] Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Available from: [Accessed 1 June 2007]

MHRA Format (Modern Humanities Research Association) 9

bullet The format includes:  Name/ Title/ Title of complete work/ publishing date and time or last revision date and (if available)/ URL/ [accessed/ Access date/ ]
bullet Typical example:
B.A. Robinson, 'End of the World Predictions', Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 22 April 2007, [accessed 10 June 2007]

MLA Format (Modern Language Association) 3

bullet The format includes: Author last name/ Author first name/ Title/ Title of complete work/ Version or file number/ publishing date or last revision date (if available)/ URL/ Access/ Access date
bullet Typical example:
Robinson, Bruce A, "End of the World Predictions" Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 22 March 2007. (10 June 2007).

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ISO Format (International Organization for Standardization): 1

bullet The format includes: Primary responsibility/ Title/ Medium/ Subordinate responsibility/ Edition/Issue designation (for serials)/ Location/ Publisher/ Publication date/ Revision date/ Citation date/ Series/ Notes/ Availability and access/ Other info./ ISBN or ISSN number.
bullet Typical example:
Robinson, Bruce. End of the World Predictions [online] [Kingston, Canada] Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, [published 1996-03-03], [revised 2007-APR-22],[cited 2007-06-01]. Available from Internet: <URL:>

Lu and Crane (University of Vermont) 4

bullet The format includes: Author last name/ Author initial/ Date of publication/ Title/ In source/ Medium/ Available/ URL
bullet Typical example:
Robinson, B. (2007). End of the World Predictions. In Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, [Online]. Available: URL:

M.E. Page 5

bullet The format includes: Author last name/ Author first name/ Authors Email if available/ Date of publication/ Title/ In source/ / URL / Date of publication
bullet Typical example:
Robinson, Bruce. []. "End of the World Predictions." In Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. []. Apr 2007.

About this web site's format:

You will note that we do not follow any of the above standards. We use a style all of our own. Our website was launched in 1995 during the infancy of the Internet. We were about the 6,000th website to go online. So we made up a style all our own. That is one of the nice features of the Internet: webmasters can make up their own rules.

We usually include the author's name and the date of the latest update at the bottom of each essay. However, this information is occasionally missing:

bullet The author of all essays on our site is Robinson, Bruce or B.A. Robinson unless noted. As one of the five volunteers in the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, he does all of the writing; the other four mainly do research and prioritize new topics.
bullet To obtain the original date of publishing and/or the date of the most recent update, please Email us

We strongly recommend a 4 digit code for the year and the inclusion of the name of the month. Dates like 1-2-3 can be quite confusing, whereas 2001-FEB-3 or Jan 2, 2003 are much less ambiguous. We use the former -- a hangover from our main author's computing days when he cited dates and times as 2006-JUN-01 12:23:45. This made computer sorting much easier.

The E-book problem:

The book publishing business has been seriously shaken up with the arrival of the Sony Reader™, Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook™ and other E-books.

Most of the books available on this medium are non-scholarly. However, in the fall of 2009, major textbook manufacturers teamed up with to produce e-textbooks for a pilot study at nine universities. This produces a citation problem, because e-books do not necessarily indicate page numbers of the original printed book.

bullet For a reference list: The American Psychological Association recommends that you:
"... include the type of e-book version you read (two examples are the Kindle DX version and the Adobe Digital Editions version). In lieu of publisher information, you can include the book's DOI
. [Digital Object Identifier]" For example:
bullet Brill, P. (2004). The winner's way [Adobe Digital Editions version]. doi:10.1036/007142363X

DOI names are alpha-numeric identifiers as in the above citation that are assigned to articles, books, etc. Their content may change over time -- particularly the URL that they point to. But the DOI is fixed. 10,11

If there is no DOI, you can include the website from which the e-book was downloaded. e.g:
bullet Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: The story of success [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from

bullet For a text citation: E-books often lack page numbers. For example, the Kindle e-books use location numbers which are fixed, but only useful if the person reading the article also has a Kindle. One then can resort to identifying the location of a quote by other means. For example:
bullet One of the author's main points is that "people don't rise from nothing" (Gladwell, 2008, Chapter 1, Section 2, para. 5).

One comment made on the APA article is that the "search inside" feature of the printed book section of the web site often allows an individual to search inside the book for the quotation. If the quote is found, the resultant display will give the page number.


Some of the following also have style definitions for discussion lists, newspaper articles, FTP, Usenets, Gopher, Telnet, etc.

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. H.T. Coutts, "Citation Style Guides for Internet and Electronic Sources" at:
  2. "Electronic Sources: APA Style of Citation," at: [No longer online. In its place, try "General APA Guidelines" at:]
  3. J.R. Walker, "MLA-Style Citations of Electronic Sources," at: [No longer online]
  4. Xia Li and Nancy B. Crane, Electronic Style: A Guide to Citing Electronic Information," Meckler, (1993) 
  5. M.E. Page, "A Brief citation Guide for Internet sources in History and the Humanities," at:
  6. The Yahoo search engine has a list of web sites which discuss Internet citations. See:
  7. A. Harnack, G. Kleppinger, "Beyond the MLA Handbook: Documenting Electronic Sources on the Internet," at:
  8. "Guide to Citing Internet Sources," Bournemouth University, 2004, at:
  9. "Citing Wikipedia," Wikipedia, 2007-MAY-21, at:
  10. Chelsea Lee, "How to I cite a Kindle?," American Psychological Association, 2009-SEP-09, at:
  11. "Welcome to the DOI System," The International DOI Foundation (IDF), at:

Copyright 1998 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2017-MAR-06
Author: B.A. Robinson

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