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Referencing internet and electronic sources

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Referencing internet and electronic sources

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Referencing internet and electronic sources


Information taken from electronic or online sources needs to be correctly referenced.

References to internet sources should typically include:

  • the name of the author or editor
  • the title of the page (look in the bar at the top of  your browser)
  • the title of the site (go to the site's homepage)
  • the date the page was last updated, or the copyright date
  • the date you accessed the page
  • the full internet address (URL) of the page (i.e. http://etc.).
  • the DOI if available, or database name, for journal articles
  • the name of database (if applicable – e.g. Business Source Complete) or type of medium (e.g. video, blog, online)


Harvard Referencing Style


Reference type – website

In-text citation:
Reese (2013) examines how the Syrian and Iraqi conflicts have spilled into neighbouring countries.

Reference list:
Reese, A 2013 'Sectarian and regional conflict in the Middle East', Middle East Security Report 13, Institute for the Study of War, viewed 27 August 2013, http://www.understandingwar.org/sites/default/files/SectarianandRegionalConflictintheMiddleEast_3JUL.pdf

Reference type – online journal

In-text citation for electronic version:
Head and Redmond (2011) argue that prevention significantly improves outcomes.

Reference list for electronic version:
Head, BW & Redmond, G 2011, 'Making prevention work in human services for children and youth', Australian Review of Public Affairs, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 5-22, viewed 5 January 2012, http://www.australianreview.net/journal/v10/n1/head_redmond.pdf

In-text citation for article with DOI:
Novick (2012) uses a recently devised method to address the separation of convex sets in the plane.

Reference list for article with DOI:
Novick, M 2012, 'Allowable interval sequences and separating convex sets in the plane', Discrete Computational Geometry, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 378-392, doi: 10.1007/s00454-011-9365-5

Reference type – electronic database

In-text citation:
Kim and Johnson (2012) examined motivations for participation in political blogs.

Reference list:
Kim, D & Johnson, T 2012, 'Political blog readers: predictors of motivations for accessing political blogs', Telematics and Informatics, vol. 29, no. 1, pp. 99-109, (online Ebscohost).

Reference type – social media

In-text citation for YouTube TED talk:
Storyteller or magic pixie? Brene Brown (2011) delves into the human connection.

Reference list for YouTube TED Talk:
Brown, B 2011, 'The power of vulnerability', TED Talks, online video, viewed 11 February 2016, https://youtu.be/iCvmsMzIF7o

*Social media are NOT acceptable academic sources unless as objects or research, or specified by your lecturer.

Vancouver Referencing Style



Reference type – image

In-text citation:
The rehabilitation drugs are readily available. [14]

Reference list:
14. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Shingles on face. [Image on internet]. 2011 [updated 2011 Jan 10; cited 2012 Nov 6]. Available from: http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/about/photos.html

Reference type – twitter post

In-text citation:
Cochrane maintains systematic reviews are essential for informed health choices.  [22]

Reference list:
22. Cochrane. "What are systematic reviews?" New G@CochraneCCR video explains #SRs for informed health decisions. [Twitter]. 2016 Feb 02 [cited 2016 Feb 20] Available from: https://twitter.com/cochranecollab/status/694506899631382528

Reference type – blog

In-text citation:
Rural health workers are creating change in isolated communities. [8]

Reference list:
8. Rural Health Workforce Australia. Rural health: a life changing difference [Internet]. Canberra: RHWA [unknown date] [cited 2012 Nov 6]. Available from: http://ruralchampions.govspace.gov.au/


Frequently asked questions


Q: What if I can't find the author on a web site?

Information is often published on the internet by organisations without a specific author being mentioned.  In these cases, you need to find the smallest identifiable organisational unit on the site, which may be the organisation itself.

If this is not possible, use the main title of the site (in the same way that you would use the title of a book or newspaper for an anonymous work).

Q: When referencing in-text how do you cite a page number for an electronic source?

The Harvard guide advises that page numbers are required for all direct quotations (and paraphrasing where available) but not when referring to the source as a whole:

* For electronic sources, if there are no page numbers give approximate indication (p.3 of 8) OR paragraph for short sources (para. 2) OR relevant heading OR n.p. (no page number)."

The Vancouver guide advises what to cite if standard page numbers are not available:

* Give location as the total extent of the part.

* Calculate extent by the best means possible, in terms of the number of print   pages, screens, paragraphs, or bytes, and place the total in square brackets.

* Screen size, font used, and printers vary greatly, but the purpose is to give an indication of the length of the part.

* Use the word "about" before the length indicator when the number is calculated."

Eg: AMA: helping doctors help patients [Internet]. Chicago: American Medical Association; c1995-2007. AMA launches exclusive partnership with the ReachMD Channel for medical professionals; 2007 Mar 26 [cited 2007 Mar 28]; [about 2 screens]. Available from: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama/pub/category/17469.html

The Citing and Referencing library guide (http://guides.lib.monash.edu/citing-referencing) gives detailed information and examples for a wide range of electronic sources in most of the referencing styles commonly used at Monash University.

Brought to you by Monash University Library.