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The Elements of Citation
Part 1 of The Columbia Guide to Online Style by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor (Columbia UP, 1998) presents a guide to locating, translating, and using the elements of citation for both a humanities style (i.e., MLA and Chicago) and a scientific style (APA and CBE) for electronically-accessed sources. The unique element approach used makes this a useful reference book for citing electronic sources regardless of the specific bibliographic style you may be required to use.

The primary elements of a bibliographic reference are the same for most styles of documentation,although the order in which they are presented may vary. These elements include the name of the author, the title, the place of publication, the publisher's name, the date of publication, and a designation of the location, or page number, of a reference. Many styles also include a designation of the publication medium. For electronic sources, however, some elements may be missing or must be translated into elements that make sense in a new era of publishing. For example, in place of an author's name, online authors may only use login names or aliases. Instead of a title, there may only be a file name. The place of publication and the name of the publisher are replaced online by the protocol and address, and, rather than a date of publication, the date you access the site may be the only means of designating the specific "edition" of an online work. On the WWW, a given site is always one page, regardless of its length. Pagination is thus an element of print publication that has little or no meaning in electronic documents or files. Since most Web browsers, word processing packages, and text editors allow the reader to search for specific words or phrases within a document, designating the location of a specific reference within an electronic document or file may be redundant.

When in doubt, it is better to give too much information than too little. For more information, see The Columbia Guide to Online Style.


Documenting Sources in the Text
Parenthetical or in-text references to print publications usually include the author's last name and the page number of the reference (humanities styles) or the author's last name, the date of publication, and the page number of the reference (scientific styles). Often, for electronic sources, some or all of these elements may be missing. Thus, parenthetical references to electronic sources will usually include only an author's last name or, if no author's name is available, the file name, and, for scientific styles, the date of publication or the date of access if no publication date is available.

For files with no designation of author or other responsible person or organization, include the file name in parentheses (i.e., cgos.html). For scientific styles with no designation of publication date or date of last revision or modification, include the date of access instead, in day-month-year format (i.e., 16 Aug. 1996).

List navigational aids such as page, section, or paragraph numbers, if they are included in the original text, at the conclusion of the citation, separated by commas. For most electronic sources, however, navigational aids will not be included.

In citations of print sources, subsequent references to the same work need not repeat the author's name, instead giving the different page number or location, if applicable. With electronic documents that are not paginated or otherwise delineated, however, repeating the author's name may be the only way to acknowledge when information is drawn from a given source.

For a more complete discussion of parenthetical and in-text citations, see The Columbia Guide to Online Style.


Preparing the Bibliographic Material
Bibliographic listings of electronic sources follow the format for whatever style you are using for print sources, i.e., humanities styles, such as MLA or Chicago, or scientific styles, such as APA or CBE. The basic formats for citing electronic sources are:

Humanities Style

Author's Last Name, First Name.
    "Title of Document." Title of
    Complete Work
[if applicable].
    Version or File Number [if
    applicable]. Document date or
    date of last revision [if
    different from access date].
    Protocol and address, access
    path or directories
    (date of access).
Scientific Style
Author's Last Name, Initial(s).
    (Date of document [if different
    from date accessed)]. Title of
    document. Title of complete
    work
[if applicable]. Version
    or File number [if applicable].
    (Edition or revision [if
    applicable]). Protocol and
    address, access path, or
    directories (date of access).
For print publications, use the hanging indent feature of your word processor to format the bibliographic entries. Note that some word processors will automatically format Internet addresses, changing their color and underlining them. Use these defaults if available. For hypertext files, the hanging indent feature is not necessary; instead, bibliographies may be formatted using the list feature or by including an extra line space between entries. For more information, see Part 2 of The Columbia Guide.

The following examples are grouped according to method of access, or protocol, which is a key element in locating and accessing electronic documents and files. This site provides the general format for each of these types of sources. For a more complete listing and further information, see The Columbia Guide to Online Style.



2.8 The World Wide Web (WWW)

Humanities Style
To cite files available on the WWW, give the author's name, last name first (if known); the full title of the work, in quotation marks; the title of the complete work (if applicable), in italics; any version or file numbers; and the date of the document or last revision (if available). Next, list the protocol (e.g., "http") and the full URL, followed by the date of access in parentheses.

Burka, Lauren P. "A Hypertext History
    of Multi-User Dimensions." MUD History.
    1993. http://www.utopia.com/talent/
    lpb/muddex/essay (2 Aug. 1996).
Scientific Style
Give the author's last name and initials (if known) and the date of publication in parentheses. Next, list the full title of the work, capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns; the title of the complete work or site (if applicable) in italics, again capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns; any version or file numbers, enclosed in parentheses; the protocol and address, including the path or directories necesssary to access the document; and finally the date accessed, enclosed in parentheses.
Burka, L. P. (1993). A hypertext
    history of multi-user dimensions.
    MUD history. http://www.utopia.com/
    talent/ lpb/muddex/essay (2 Aug. 1996).


2.9 Email, Discussion Lists, and Newsgroups

Humanities Style
Cite the author's name (if known) or the author's email or login name (the part of the email address before the @ sign), followed by the subject line of the posting, enclosed in quotation marks; the date of the message if different from the date accessed; and the name of the discussion list (if applicable), in italics. Next, give the address of the list, or the protocol and address of the newsgroup, followed by the date accessed in parentheses.

Crump, Eric. "Re: Preserving Writing."
    Alliance for Computers and Writing
    Listserv
. acw-l@ unicorn.acs.ttu.edu
    (31 Mar. 1995).
Scientific Style
Include the author's name and initials (if known) or the author's alias; the date of the message in parentheses, if different from the date accessed; and the subject line, only first word and proper nouns capitalized. For discussion lists and newsgroups, include the name of the list (if applicable), capitalized as just described and italicized; the list address; and the date accessed, in parentheses.
Crump, E. Re: Preserving Writing.
    Alliance for Computers and Writing
    listserv
. acw-l@unicorn. acs.ttu.edu
    (31 Mar. 1995).


2.10 Information Available Using Gopher Protocols

Humanities Style
List the author's name (if known), last name first; the title of the paper or file, enclosed in quotation marks; the title of the complete work (if applicable), in italics; and the date of publication (if known), including any previous publication information (if applicable). Include the protocol (i.e., "gopher"), the address, the gopher search path or directories followed to access the information (if applicable), and, in parentheses, the date the file was accessed (if applicable).

African National Congress. "Human
    Rights Update for Week No. 10 from
    5/3/96 to 11/3/97." gopher://gopher.
    anc.org.za: 70/00/hrc/1997/hrup97.10
    (1 Jan. 1998).
Scientific Style
List the author's name (if known), last name first and then initials; the date of publication or last revision (if known), in parentheses; the title of the paper or file, capitalizing only the first word and any proper nouns; and the title of the complete work (if applicable), in italics and capitalized as just described. Include any previous publication information if applicable, then cite the protocol (i.e., "gopher"), the address, the gopher search path or directories followed to access the information; and, in parentheses immediately after the gopher path, the date accessed.
Perry, T. The quick and dirty guide
    to Japanese. gopher://hoshi.cic.sfu.ca:
    70/00/dlam/misc/Japanes.lang (12
    Jun. 1997).


2.11 Information Available Using File Transfer Protocols (FTP)

Humanities Style
Give the author's name (if known), last name first; the full title (of a shorter work in quotation marks; of a larger work, in italics); and the document date (if available). Next, give the protocol (i.e., "ftp") and the full FTP address, including the full path needed to access the file. Last, list the date of access, enclosed in parentheses.

Johnson-Eilola, Johndan. "Little
    Machines: Rearticulating Hypertext
    Users." 3 Dec. 1994. ftp://ftp.daedalus.
    com/pub/ CCCC95/johnson-eilola
    (14 Aug 1996).
Scientific Style
Give the author's last name and initials; the document date (if known), in parentheses; the title of the document or file; the title of the complete work (if applicable), in italics; any previous publication information; the protocol and address; the directory path; and, in parentheses, date of access.
Johnson-Eilola, J. (1994).
    Little machines: Rearticulating
    hypertext users. ftp://ftp.daedalus.
    com/pub/ CCCC95/johnson-eilola
    (14 Aug. 1996).


2.12 Information Available Using Telnet Protocols

Humanities Style
List the author's name or alias, last name first (if known); the title of the work (if applicable), in quotation marks; the title of the full work or telnet site (if applicable), in italics; the date of publication or creation (if known); and finally the protocol (i.e., "telnet") and complete telnet address, any directions necessary to access the publication, and the date of the visit, enclosed in parentheses. Separate commands from the address with a single blank space.

traci (#377). "DaedalusMOO Purpose
    Statement." WriteWell. telnet://
    moo.daedalus.com:7777 help purpose
    (30 Apr. 1996).
Scientific Style
List the author's last name and initial(s) or alias (if known); the date of publication (if known and if different from the date accessed), in parentheses; the title of the work; the title of the site or complete work (if applicable), in italics; and the protocol and complete telnet address, including the port number (if applicable), any necessary directions to access the publication, and the date of the visit, enclosed in parentheses.
traci (#377). DaedalusMOO purpose
    statement. WriteWell. telnet://
    moo.daedalus.com:7777 help purpose
    (30 Apr. 1996).


2.13 Synchronous Communication Sites

Humanities Style
Include the name or alias of the author or speaker (if known); the type of communication (i.e., "Personal interview") or, for synchronous conferences, the session title (if applicable), enclosed in quotation marks; the site title (if applicable), in italics; the protocol and address, including any paths or directories, the command sequence (if applicable), and, in parentheses, the date of the conversation.

Kiwi. "Playing the Jester Is Hard
    Work." DaMOO. telnet://damoo.
    csun.edu:7777 (4 Dec. 1996).
Scientific Style
Include the name or alias of the author or speaker (if known); the type of communication (e.g., Personal interview) or, for conferences, the session title; the site title (if applicable), in italics; the protocol and address, the command sequence (if applicable), and, in parentheses, the date of the conversation.
Kiwi. Playing the jester is hard
    work. DaMOO. telnet://damoo.
    csun.edu:7777 (4 Dec. 1996).


2.14 Online Reference Sources

Humanities Style
Give the author's name (if known); the title of the article, in quotation marks; the title of the complete work, in italics; any print publication information, including the date; information concerning the online edition (if applicable); the name of the online service, in italics, or the protocol and address and the path or directories followed; and, in parentheses, the date of access.

"Fine Arts." Dictionary of Cultural
    Literacy
. 2nd ed. Ed. E. D. Hirsch,
    Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil.
    Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1993. INSO
    Corp. America Online. Reference
    Desk/Dictionaries/Dictionary of Cultural
    Literacy (20 May 1996).
Scientific Style
Give the author's last name and initials; the publication date (if known and if different from the date accessed); and the title of the article. Then cite the word "In," followed by the name(s) of the author(s) or editor(s) (if applicable) and, in italics, the title of the complete work; any previous print publication information (if applicable); identification of the online edition (if applicable); the name of the online service, in italics, or the protocol and address and the path followed to access the material; and, in parentheses, the date accessed.
Fine arts. (1993). In E. D. Hirsch,
    Jr., J. F. Kett, & J. Trefil (Eds.),
    Dictionary of cultural literacy.
    Boston: Houghton Mifflin. INSO Corp.
    America Online. Reference Desk/
    Dictionaries/Dictionary of Cultural
    Literacy (20 May 1996).


2.15 Electronic Publications and Online Databases

Humanities Style
List the author's name, last name first (if known); the title of the article, in quotation marks; and the title of the software publication, in italics. Next, list any version or edition numbers or other identifying information, the series name (if applicable), and the date of publication. Finally, cite the name of the database (if applicable) and the name of the online serviceboth in italicsor the Internet protocol and address, any other publication information, the directory path followed (if applicable), and, in parentheses, the date accessed.

Warren, Christopher. "Working to Ensure a
    Secure and Comprehensive Peace in the
    Middle East." U.S. Dept. of State
    Dispatch 7:14, 1 Apr. 1996. FastDoc.
    OCLC. File #9606273898 (12 Aug. 1996).
Scientific Style
List the author's last name and initials; the date of publication, in parentheses; the title of the article or file and, enclosed in parentheses, any identifying file or version numbers or other identifying information (if applicable); the title of the electronic database, in italics; the name of the online service, in italics, and access information or the protocol and address and any directory paths; and, in parentheses, the date accessed.
Warren, C. (1996). Working to ensure a
    secure and comprehensive peace in the
    Middle East (U.S. Dept. of State
    Dispatch 7:14). FastDoc. OCLC
    (File #9606273898). (12 Aug. 1996).


2.16 Software Programs and Video Games

Humanities Style
Cite the name of the author or corporate author (if available); the title of the software program, in italics; the version number (if applicable and if not included in the software title); and the publication information, including the date of publication (if known).

ID Software. The Ultimate Doom.
    New York: GT Interactive Software, 1995.
Scientific Style
Cite the last name and initials of the author (if available); the date of publication or release, in parentheses; the title of the software program or video game, in italics; the version number (if applicable and if not included in the software title), in parentheses; and the publication information.
ID Software. (1993). The ultimate doom.
    NY: GT Interactive Software.

Contact the authors

For more information and examples, see
The Columbia Guide to Online Style by Janice R. Walker and Todd Taylor (Columbia UP, 1998).

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