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How to Make Note Cards for an Internet Source

by Mike Johnson, Demand Media
    Keep track of your online sources to ensure that you can cite them correctly in your paper.

    Keep track of your online sources to ensure that you can cite them correctly in your paper.

    Internet searching has become a primary mode of research for many students, but many students do not know how to properly document an Internet source on note cards so they can later add that source to a bibliography. When using information from an Internet source, you must properly document that source within your paper and in your References and/or Works Cited page. Depending on the documentation style you're using--MLA or APA--there are different expectations concerning the information you record on your note card from each online periodical.

    Items you will need

    • Note cards, 3" x 5"
    • Pencil
    • Internet access

    APA Online Periodical Documentation for Electronic Sources

    Step 1

    Find the author of the article and the publication year. This will be included in parentheses directly after the author(s), so record this on your note card using last name first and only the first initial of the first name. For example, the author's name is Bill Jones, so you record Jones, B. (2003). For more than one author, follow the same format and use an ampersand (&) between the last two entries: Jones, B., Smith, B., & Ringold, J. (2003).

    Step 2

    Record the title of the article, capitalizing only the first word; e.g., The emergence of man. If there is a subtitle, follow the same rule; e.g., The emergence of man: Twenty-first century lessons not learned.

    Step 3

    Write the title of the periodical using italicized font. Since you're writing this by hand, you will want to make a note that the title of the periodical should be italicized. Include the volume number and the issue number, if available.

    Step 4

    Include the date you retrieved the article, for example, October 31, 2009, and the URL. For instance, write: from http://thisdomain.com/articles/The-emergence-of-man.html).

    MLA Online Periodical Documentation for Electronic Sources

    Step 1

    Record the author of the article, citing last name then first name: Jones, Bill.

    Step 2

    Place the title of the article in quotation marks, keeping capitalization the same as it is written in the original title; e.g., "The Emergence of Man: Twenty-First Century Lessons Not Learned."

    Step 3

    Note that the title of the journal will come next in italicized font. Again, make a note on your note card that indicates italics. You might use (i) before and after the title.

    Step 4

    Include volume number and year after the journal title: Journal of American Philosophy 6.3 (2009).

    Step 5

    Place a colon after the year and include the abbreviations n. pag., as we are dealing with only online periodicals which do not have corresponding pages in print. Include also the format (Web) and the date (31 October 2009) of publication.

    Style Your World With Color

    Tip

    • You will want to purchase a handbook that includes documentation procedures for all forms of media. Take this along with your note cards when you conduct your research.

    Warning

    • Do NOT mix documentation styles. If you're asked to use MLA documentation, stick with that.

    About the Author

    Mike Johnson teaches writing at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Western Michigan University. He wrote Writing Across the Curriculum content for Western Michigan University's Best Practices site. Johnson graduated from Western Michigan University with a Master of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in educational technology.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images

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