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References to Websites

We all use websites more and more in our work, and we need to reference them. The seven questions which we ask about a print source don't apply so much, but the principles behind them do.

Websites don't always have page numbers, or even identifiable authors. So you just have to answer as many as possible of the seven questions we identified for book and journal references. If you can't find an author, you might be able to find the name of the organisation which produced the web site e.g. Teesside University or the Public Record Office. If all else fails, just give the title of the website in place of an author or producer. For example, there's a big website on Jane Austen called 'The Republic of Pemberley', which has several authors, and it's not clear who wrote which bit of the site. I want to refer to a part of it. So, in the text, I put:

(The Republic of Pemberley, no date).

and in the References at the end I give all the information that I can and the full address (URL) of where I found what I quoted or referred to:

The Republic of Pemberley (no date) Allusions to books and authors in Jane Austen's writings. Available at: (Accessed: 29th August 2013).

The date at the end is the date I visited the site and found my material. You put this in because websites can change from time to time.

And that's how to reference a website. The details are different from a reference to a print source, but the basic principles are the same - I make it possible for anyone to check that what I say is true, and I make it clear that I got the material from somewhere.

Some other web sources:
Cite them right includes details of how to reference all different kinds of websites so we have just shown a couple from their book as examples:

Web pages with organisations as authors:
In-text citation:
The Open gardens scheme (British Red Cross, 2008)...

Reference list:
British Red Cross (2008) Open gardens.  Available at: (Accessed: 17 June 2008).

Web pages with no authors
Use the title of the site:
In-text citation:
Illustrations of the houses can be found online (Palladio’s Italian villas, 2005).

Reference list:
Palladio’s Italian villas (2005) Available at: (Accessed: 2 June 2008).

Remember  to be very careful about online sources, as you know, it is possible to put something on the internet in a personal right, so it is best to stick to academic or reputable sources for all your assignments.  Further examples of how to reference online government papers, legal and health resources are all clearly explained in Pears and Shields, (2013) Cite them right book, so well worth checking it out.  We have lots of copies in the Library, as well as access to an online copy - see the ebook.  Of course, you can go to our other examples on this site.

Next - A reference to a newspaper