How to cite a Website

At this point, you probably don't need help to cite a source in a book or a magazine. But how about electronic sources? What information do you need to keep track of? On this page, I will give you samples from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. (Different instructors may ask for different styles...)

WWW Web Sites: Give the author's name (if known), the full title of the work in quotation marks, the title of the complete work (if applicable) in italics, the full http address, and the date of your visit.

  • EXAMPLE: Library of Congress. "Today-2000 Years Later." Scrolls from the Dead Sea. http:..sunsite.unc.edu/expo/deadsea.scrolls.exhibit/Today/today.html (27 Oct 1999)

E-mail, Listserv and Newslist Citations: Give the author's name (if known), the subject line from the posting in quotation marks, and the address of the listserv or newslist, along with the date. For personal e-mail listings, the address may be omitted.

  • EXAMPLE: Personal E-Mail-Thompson, Barry. "Virtual Reality." Personal e-mail (12 Jan 2000)
    EXAMPLE: Listserv- Seabrook, Richard. "Censorship". cybermind@jefferson.village.virginia.edu (12 Jan 2000)
    EXAMPLE: Newsgroup-York, Ian. "Re: The eight block schedule" alt.education. (12 Jan 2000)

Clues to Evaluate a Website

The Web is a great research tool if you know how to use it. Here are five suggestions for you:

  • Don't use it just because you think it will be easy. Sometimes you can find the answer you want in two minutes in an almanac or an encyclopedia and you might spend an hour looking on the web.
  • When in doubt, doubt the information you find. Anyone can post anything on the web. Don't think that just because you see it in print on the computer that it is true!
  • Consider the source. Who is the author of this page? Why is that person an expert? Did they tell you where they got their facts (bibliography) ? Do they give you an e-mail address so you can ask questions?
  • COM= commercial site (they may be trying to sell you something)
  • GOV= government site (info probably good)
  • ORG= non-profit organization
  • NET= network
  • EDU= an educational institution
  • Look for two letter codes (UK for example means Great Britain) and these will tell you the country of origin
  • And a name will tell you the author of the page (~cline somewhere in the URL means cline wrote it)
  • Look at the details of the page itself. Are the links up-to-date? Does the person use good grammar and good spelling ?(chances are if they don't check their spelling, they may not check their facts either)
  • When was this page last updated?If it is way old, you may want to keep looking.
  • Does this site offer you