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How to Cite Online Databases

by Forest Time, Demand Media

    How you cite an article retrieved from an online database will depend on whether you are following American Psychological Association (APA) format or Modern Language Association (MLA) format guidelines. For instance, APA guidelines do not require you to provide database information, and you may simply cite an article retrieved from an online database as though you had viewed it in its printed form. MLA guidelines, on the other hand, require you to provide information related to the online database through which you found the article.

    Citing an Article from an Online Database in APA Format

    Step 1

    List the name of the article author in the following format: last name first, then a comma, followed by the author's first initial and a period, for example, Jones, K.

    Step 2

    List the year of publication in parentheses, followed by a period, for example, (2009).

    Step 3

    List the title of the article. Make sure that only the first letter of the title is capitalized, for example, How to better cite online database articles.

    Step 4

    List the title of the journal or periodical, a comma, the volume number and the issue number, followed by a comma. Then, list the page numbers on which the article appears. Both the journal title and volume number should appear in italics. The issue number should appear in parentheses. For example, The American Journal of Correct Citation, 25(4), 362-373.

    Step 5

    List the online database information in parentheses, if desired. APA format does not require you to list this information. For example: (Retrieved from JSTOR Online Database).

    Step 6

    Make sure that your complete citation follows this format: Jones, K. (2009). How to better cite online database articles. The American Journal of Correct Citation, 25(4), 362-373. (Retrieved from JSTOR Online Database).

    Citing an Article from an Online Database in MLA Format

    Step 1

    List the author's name in the following format: last, first, for example, Jones, Kevin.

    Step 2

    List the title of the article enclosed in quotation marks and followed by a period, for example, "How to Better Cite Online Database Articles."

    Step 3

    List the title of the journal in italics, for example, The American Journal of Correct Citation.

    Step 4

    List the volume number, followed by a period, followed by the issue number. Then, list the date of publication in parentheses, followed by a colon. For example: 25.4 (2009):

    Step 5

    List the page numbers on which the article appears, followed by a period, for example, 362-373.

    Step 6

    List the name of the online database in italics, followed by a period, for example, JSTOR.

    Step 7

    Make sure that your complete citation follows this format: Jones, Kevin. "How to Better Cite Online Database Articles." The American Journal of Correct Citation. 25.4 (2009): 362-373. JSTOR.

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    About the Author

    Forest Time has been writing for over a decade. During this time, he founded and edited a short-lived literary magazine, received several prizes for his poetry and published a master's thesis on Cambodian history. He received his Master of Arts in Asian history from the University of Maine at Orono in 2007.

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