Internet Citations

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The MLA (Modern Language Association) has guidelines for citations from internet sources, both websites and listservers at

Barbara Corbett Kermeen, Director,BioApplications Lab, AVM Instrument Company, Ltd., "The First Name in Radiotelemetry", 2356 Research Drive , Telephone: 1-925-449-2286, Livermore, California 94550, Fax: 1-925-449-3980, e-mail: and


Use Internet search for proper citations of references (often changing)

Web Extension to American Psychological Association Style (WEAPAS)

Electronic Reference Formats Recommended by the American Psychological Association

APA Style of Citation

Notes from Henry Komadowski, Centre for Env.Sci & Ag. Tech, Lethbridge Community College, email 1999


I should like to pass on advice given to me by my professors about internet citations. Never use the internet as a scientific source unless it is an online journal in which it can be cited as such. The reasons given to me for this are as follows:

  1. Internet sources tend to have unverifiable authors
  2. Internet pages change frequently and thus, even if accurate are hard to trace should someone try to find the source.
  3. Internet sources are not peer reviewed which often weakens their credibility as a scientific source.
  4. Falsity is as easily posted as facts.
  5. The whole point of citing a work is that somebody might want to be able to go back to the source to determine if a paper cites it correctly or to get other information from it that might be relevant. It is often impossible to do so with internet sources unless they are also established in hard copy form somewhere simply because internet sources have a high turn over. Someone may let their page slip, they may change it, they may not pay the bill and it may disappear entirely.

I found these compelling reasons to avoid using the internet as a scientific source, but I find it a useful tool in determining things like public opinion or reaction to certain issues. It can also be a useful starting point to determine other sources for information. Some web cites have their own literature cited sections and these can be a good starting place for research. All in all, I would caution my fellow students about using internet sources. They have their uses but can be very easily misused.

Miranda Terwilliger, Wildlife Biology, Humboldt State University, 1999 email message

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Last revision January 17, 2000.