Parents' Place

Citing Resources

General Guidelines:

  • Organize bibliographies alphabetically, by author. Write the author's name: Last name, First name.
  • If no author is given, the entry is alphabetized by title. When alphabetizing titles, ignore the articles ‘a,’ ‘an,’ and ‘the.’ The second word of the title is used for purposes of alphabetization. (e.g., The Midwife's Apprentice is alphabetized using the letter M.)
  • If the citation runs to a second line, indent five spaces, or one half inch.
  • Most often (and unless indicated below), the title of a publication should be italicized. If it is not possible to use italics, it is acceptable to underline the title.


To cite information from a book, follow this style:

Author. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year.

One Author

Reef, Catherine. Walt Whitman. New York: Clarion, 1995.


  • Always take the title from the title page, not the cover.


If, instead of an author, the person named on the title page is the editor or compiler, cite name as above but add“ed.”

Becker, Patricia C., ed. A Statistical Portrait of the United States: Social
     Conditions and Trends
. Lahnam, MD: Berhan, 2002.

Two or More Authors


  • Cite the authors' names in the same order they are listed on the cover.
  • Use the Last name, First name format for the first author; for all other authors use First name Last name.
  • Use a comma between the authors' names. Place a period after the last author's name.
  • If there are more than three authors, either name only the first and add et al., or give all the names.

Barkin, Carol, Elizabeth James. The New Complete Babysitters' Handbook.
      New York: Clarion, 1995.

Two or More Works by the Same Author(s)

Use the name in the first entry only. For following entries, use the following to stand for the author's name: three hyphens, a period, and a space (---. ) and then the title. For works by the same author(s), alphabetize by title.

Wisniewski, David. Golem. New York: Clarion, 1996.

--- . Sundiata: Lion King of Mali. New York: Clarion, 1992.

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Encyclopedias and Reference Books

To cite information from an encyclopedia, follow this style:
Author of Article (if given).“Title of Article.” Title of Book. City of Publication:
      Publisher, Year.

If citing a familiar source that is frequently updated, like Encyclopedia Americana, full publication information isn't needed—just the volume number and year of publication.

”Dynamics.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. Eleventh Edition. 1910.

If the work you're citing is less familiar, or if there is any doubt, include all information:

”Dynamics.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 36 vols. New York: The
     Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910.

Doe, John. “Dynamics.” Encyclopaedia Britannica. 36 vols. New York: The
     Encyclopaedia Britannica Company, 1910.

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Poem or Short Story in an Anthology

To cite information from a short story, follow this style:
Author of Story.“Title of Story.” Title of Book. Name of Editor.
     City of Publication: Publisher, Year. Page numbers of the story.

Malmude, Steve. “Perfect Front Door.” The Best American Poetry, 2002.
     Ed. Robert Creeley, David Lehman. New York:
     Scribner, 2002. 82-84.

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Magazine Articles

To cite information from an a magazine, follow this style:

Author.“Title of Article.” Title of Magazine Date: Page(s).


  • Months of the year may be abbreviated (except May, June, July). For magazines issued every week or every two weeks, give complete dates, written in this order: Day Month Year, e.g. 25 Feb. 2003
  • To cite page numbers:
    If on consecutive pages, cite page numbers of the entire article: 7-11.
    If possible cite only the last two digits of the second number: 134-45.
    If not, cite all the digits of the second number: 198-203.
    If not on consecutive pages, write only the first page number followed by a plus sign: 98+.
  • Volume and issue numbers are not cited.

McGarvey, Robert.“Game On: Spiderdance Powers NBC's Weakest Link.”
     EContent Jan. 2002: 20-29.

No Author Given


  • Begin with the title of the article if no author is named.

”Applied Semantics Supports IPTC's Auto-Categorizer.” EContent
     Jan. 2002: 10+.

Newspaper Articles

To cite information from an a newspaper, follow this style:
Author.“Title of Article.” Name of Newspaper Date, edition: Page(s).

  • Take the name of the newspaper from the masthead, but omit any introductory article: Boston Globe, not The Boston Globe.
  • If the city of publication is not part of the newspaper's name, add it in square brackets: Patriot News [Harrisburg, PA]
  • Specify the edition of the newspaper, if one is given on the masthead.
  • If the article is not on consecutive pages, write the first page number and a plus sign: B1+.

Patrick Healy.“Mergers of some colleges, higher tuitions proposed.”
     Boston Globe 27 Feb. 2003: A1

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Other Media

Video or Film

To cite information from a film, video, or DVD, follow this style:
Title. Director's name. Distributor, year.

Walking with Dinosaurs. Dir. Tim Haines, Jasper James. BBC Video, 2000.


To cite information from a CD-ROM encyclopedia, follow this style:
Author's Name (if available). “Title of Article.” Title of CD-ROM.
     Edition. CD-ROM. City of Publication:
     Publisher, Year.

”Czech Republic.” Compton's Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Cambridge: The
     Learning Company, 1999.

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Internet Resources

The Internet is a terrific resource that your children can use for their research projects and homework assignments. When conducting research, students must learn to cite all the sources they use in their assignments. These sources include all the books, magazines, newspapers, and Web sites or other online resources they have used.

While there are several variations on acceptable formats for citing Internet resources, your children can use the following guidelines to cite their online resources in their bibliographies. They will want to follow these styles so that their teachers and other readers can return to the sites and check the information.

It's also wise to have your children print the online material they cite in their bibliographies in case their teachers or readers cannot link to the sites where the original material is located. This will provide printed proof of the original information they've cited.

Worldwide Web Sites

To cite files available for viewing on the Worldwide Web via Netscape, Explorer, and other Web browsers, follow this style:

Author's Name. Full title of work (in quotation marks). Document date (if known), Full http address, Date of visit.

Pikulski, Jack.“The Role of Phonics in the Teaching of Reading.” Feb. 5, 1997,, Oct. 6, 1997.

Since Internet sites can change or move over time, students might also want to cite the publisher of the material or Web site as verification.

E-mail, Listserv, and Newslist Citations

To cite information received via the Internet from e-mail, listservs or newslists, follow this style:

Author's Name (or alias, if known), Subject Line from e-mail or posting (in quotation marks), Date of message, Address of to mailing lists or newsgroups, Date of access (in parentheses).

For personal e-mail listing, do not include the e-mail address.


  • Jones, John J. “History Project Proposal.” (Nov. 15, 1997). [mailing list]
  • Wright, Bonnie. “Writing a Narrative Essay.” Personal e-mail (Jan. 18, 1999). [personal e-mail]

Adapted from Modern Language Association of America Citation Guide.

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