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Avoiding Plagiarism:  Citing Electronic Sources

The Internet changes constantly. For this reason, your citations must always include the date you accessed the site and the date of the posting, if it is available. Each style guide format is different, but in each case you are expected to provide as much information as possible about the site.

Additional information on electronic resources is available in two other sections of this guide - Using the Internet and Evaluating Internet Information.

How do I cite a web page?

As noted before, look for relevant information:
• name of author if there is one
• title of article or section heading of web page
• name of sponsoring organization
• date of electronic publication or update
• date you accessed the site

The following examples use the citation style of the American Psychological Association (APA) (available online at

How do I cite an article with an author from an online news source?

Shanker, T. and Schmitt, E. (2005, July 6). Pentagon weighs strategy to deter terror. The New York Time On the Web. Retrieved July 6, 2005 from

How do I cite an article with no listed author that appears on the web page of an organization?

Somalia launches emergency polio immunization. (2005, July 17). World Health Organization Home Page. Retrieved July 17, 2005 from

How do I cite an example from an online dictionary?

Editors of Columbia University Press. January 2004). Anthrax. The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Retrieved July 7, 2005 from I

How do I cite an article retrieved from a database? (LexisNexis, ProQuest, Jstor, EBSCO, etc.)

Holbrooke, R. (2004, February 10). A global battle’s missing weapon. New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2004 from LexisNexis Academic Universe database.

How do I cite information from a government publication I obtain online?

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2005, June 4). FDA tentatively approves a generic AIDS drug under the president’s emergency plan for AIDS relief. FDA News. Retrieved August 6, 2005 from http://www.fda.govjbbs/topics/ NEWS/200S/NEWol184.html

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This guide has been adapted from one produced at MIT entitled Academic Integrity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:  A Handbook for Students.  We are grateful for their permission to use and revise the work for students at the University of Pennsylvania.

Written by Patricia Brennecke, Lecturer in English Language Studies
Edited by Professor Margery Resnick, Chair of the Committee on Discipline, and Joanne Straggas, Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education.  Prepared with the support of Professor Robert P. Redwine, Dean for Undergraduate Education at MIT.

Adapted in Fall 2006 for use by graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania and published as the Handbook for Students, Ethics and Original Research by Professor Barbara Fuchs, Romance Languages, Dr. James B. Lok, Professor of Pathobiology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Linda Meiberg, graduate student and Karen Lawrence, Assistant Director of Education.

This edition edited, amended and produced by:

The University Honor Council and the
Office of Student Conduct
University of Pennsylvania
Fall 2008