Materials obtained electronically need to be cited differently from those obtained directly from print sources. The Electronic Reserves staff has neither the time nor the resources to provide instruction on citing electronic sources, and we ask that you consult the appropriate style manual for more information. The recent editions of most common style guides include formats for citing various types of online resouces*, including full text databases, online serials, Web sites, — even retrievable forum and newsgroup postings. The the most recent editions of the most commonly referenced manuals are:
If for any reason you do not have access to your style manual, the following links can be used to find examples for the most common situations.
*The sixth edition of Scientific Style and Format: The CBE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers does not contain information on citing Internet sources. A seventh edition is in progress, and in the meantime the Council of Science Editors' recommendation is to refer to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) format.
**Call numbers refer to books at Founders' Memorial Library.
When referencing an Internet source, a URL (a Web address) is often needed. Below is a example URL, broken down into four common parts:
Sometimes when referencing electronic sources, you need to be able to determine whether or not a URL is stable. Look at the URL below:
This URL gives the exact location of the file swampthing.html at the domain www.virtualtoychest.com . So long as this file remains where it is, this URL can be called stable. A stable URL will be an easily recognizable path to a file, the only characters being letters (a-z and A-Z), digits (0-9), periods, slashes (/), and sometimes tildes (~), hyphens (-) and underscores (_). Compare that to the next URL:
http://web15.epnet.com/citation.asp?tb=1&_ug=sid+459A5311%2D68DA%2D4EBA%2D95EE %2DACA87F5A7693%40sessionmgr3+dbs+afh%2Crih+cp+1+9247&_us=hs+False+or+Date+ss+ SO+sm+KS+sl+%2D1+ri+KAAACBXB00000353+dstb+KS+mh+1+frn+11+BA84&_uso=hd+False+tg %5B0+%2D+st%5B0+%2Dswamp++thing+db%5B1+%2Drih+db%5B0+%2Dafh+op%5B0+%2D+7736&fn =11&rn=20
This URL was generated by searching a term in EBSCO Academic Search Elite. Some thing to notice about the URL:
The actual filename of this document is citation.asp . But the content of the document is generated by the code that comes after the question mark, code that contains details of the search that was performed: a "session id," search terms, database name, etc. Because this code refers to one specific searching session, if you were to copy the URL into an address bar you would get an error message saying, "Your session has expired. To begin a new session, please login again." This URL is not stable. You should not include a URL like this with a citation; instead you should include the name of and/or URL for the database, as the documentation style requires.
Many databases provide what they call a "stable" or "persistent" URL within the database's short description of the article (i.e. not in the address bar). The following would retrieve the record searched for in the last example:
This URL will always retrieved the record in question, no matter where it is moved to. Whether or not this can be used in a citation depends on the citation style.