Referencing Style Guide

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Internet Sources

The basic rules of citing do not differ markedly for Internet items than for print. There is still an author or organization with responsibility for the item, a title, a place of “publication,” a publisher, a date of publication, and the extent of the item (i.e., number of pages or the equivalent). Anyone preparing a citation to an Internet document should attempt to locate all of these elements.

It is true, however, that some elements are more difficult to locate when citing Internet items rather than print. For example, a number of poorly constructed sites do not contain dates, and authorship or publishing responsibility may be unclear or absent. You must deal with the information provided. Square brackets are a convention used to indicate missing data or for information added for clarification. (See the sections below dealing with the specific parts of a citation.)
Some elements require expansion for Internet citation in order to provide useful information to the user. For example, the date of publication is a required element in any citation, but many Internet items are updated or otherwise modified several times after the date of publication. Any date of update/revision should therefore be included in a citation along with the date cited, i.e., the date when you saw the item. This is necessary in the volatile electronic environment when changes can be easily made and an item seen one day may not be the same in crucial ways when viewed the next day. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that you produce a print or other copy when possible for future reference.

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