must have the following in the correct order. If information such as the author or publication date is missing then
it should be completely left out:
name: last name, comma, first name, period
Article or story title: Capitalized with a period at the end and
quotation marks around it all.
Date of most recent publication, update, or copyright in International
format: Day Abbreviated month period year period
Web page title:
Capitalized and underlined followed by a period (not italicized) Also, the underlines should not extend beyond the title
– attention to detail.
Date Accessed: The date you got it off the web; once
more, international format followed by a period
The URL: This is the hyperlink from the site.
The best bet is to copy and paste. Test it. If it doesn’t take you back there, something’s wrong.
It is the only item without a period at the end. Also, do not use carrots on either side <
Finishing checklist for electronic sources:
your work cited titled as: Work Cited? It should be in bold, centered, and then there needs to
be one space between the work cited and the title. (No underline, quotation marks, italics, or extra size, and no colon
following the title.)
Are all of your authors real people? (They must be real names –
if not, then you have no author.) Did you abbreviate their names? You shouldn’t.
Did you single
space your work cited entries, but double space between them?
Did you leave the first line of
each work cited entry all the way to the left margin, but indent any subsequent lines for each entry?
you alphabetize your entries? (You shouldn’t alphabetize by “A, The, An,” but it
really doesn’t matter as long as you are consistent.)
Did you use spaces?
There should be spaces between every word in every item, regardless of the punctuation that might be associated with any of
those words. As well, remember that numbers are considered the same as words, so you must have spaces between numbers,
Is the period at the end of your article title inside of the quotation
marks? (Seriously, this is the easiest place where I can check attention to detail.)
Did you normalize
your work cited? Is all the type the same font and size? Are the colours the same? As well,
there should also be no bold or italics in the works cited.
Did you only list the entry once?
Regardless of how many times you cite a source, it will only be listed once in the work cited.
Is the web
page title different from the URL? Remember, the web page title is not the same as the web address,
at least, not always. For instance, the title of my apartment building is Summit Apartments at Lake Union. That
is not the street address. Granted, there are places where the address is the name of the place, but it should never
be assumed automatic.
Is there anything that just doesn’t belong? If a date is missing,
you will not have: n.d. If there is no author, you will not have: No Author.
It is also pointless to have the word: Web. If we can’t tell it’s from the web by the URL, writing
“Web” is probably not going to help, and if you don’t have the URL, the word “Web” won’t
take us to the site. There should be no quotations from the original work with the work cited. And your work cited
entries should not be numbered or bulleted.
for verifying sources:
Authors: Authors are always people. They
are never corporations, companies, or simply “staff.” Watch out for other names at the site, such as photograph
credits, other authors that the author of your article are citing, other contributors, and the names of people leaving comments.
If there is more than one author, you must list them all. The first author is last name first, first name last, then
subsequent authors are separated with commas, but their names are first name first and last name last. If there are
three or more authors, then you only need list the one that come first on the article (it is not your choice),
and then after the first author you may simple put “et al.”
The “Article Title” is rarely ever the same as the Web Page Title. The Web Page title is
the title of the entire web site, and it will almost always be the biggest title on the home page. However, the web
page title may, or may not, be listed prominently on other pages at that site. The article title, on the other hand,
will be the title of the section where you are specifically getting your information (often the name of the hotlink you followed
to get there). If you are referring to a short story or a poem that you found at a Web site, then the title of that
short story or poem will always be the Article title. Be careful, though, of sub-titles. For instance,
if you are reading an article on the Platypus, there may be several sub-titles, such as “Breeding Habits” and
“Habitat.” You do not list sub-titles. It is a sub-title if it is still part of a
larger whole. If that larger whole is part of an even larger whole, then the title of that larger whole is the article
title. And if there is nothing larger, then it is the web page title and you need to go back to the next largest title
for the article title. Web pages often have several article titles. You only list the article title where you
are getting the information from. If you are getting information from more than one article or more than one author
at the same Web site, you need to do work cited entries for each article or author. However, no matter how
many different entries you have from the same site, it only counts as one site.
Dates: This is not when the article was originally published, but when it was published, last
updated, or copyrighted in the format you’re looking at it right now. If you have more than one choice,
go with the most recent. Dates for news articles will usually appear right below the title, usually as part of the by-line.
Dates on other articles (especially copyright dates) will usually appear somewhere at the bottom of the page, if at all.
If there is no date, skip it. It is fairly common not to have a publication date on the web. Dated material, however,
is generally more reliable. (And, yes, you can make that into an equation: Therefore, any information on the Web
is generally unreliable.)
Web Page Title: See “Article Title” above.
Once again, remember that the Web page title and the article title are rarely ever the same. If yours is, assume
first that it may be wrong. If a site only has one title, and it’s not clear if that title is the Web page title
or the article title, always assume it’s the Web page title. But be assured, my first thought when I see only
a Web page title or when the Web page title is the same as the Article title – and especially when I see only an Article
title – is that you missed something.
Date Accessed: That would be today. Now.
There really is no reason not to have this date, and if you don’t, there is no question that you screwed up. Like
all dates, it must be in international format. If the month is longer than four letters, then it must be abbreviated.
All abbreviations must be followed by a period. If the month has not been abbreviated (such as June) then it would not
be followed by a period.
URL: You will always have a URL, and the
URL should take you to as close to quote or paraphrase as possible. Do not simply use the homepage URL unless
that’s as close is you can get. The URL is how you found the site. If there was no URL, you wouldn’t
have been there to begin with. This will almost always be found at the top of the page in the address bar. When
you copy it, get it all, no matter how ridiculously long it might be. If you leave off one symbol, it’s not going
anywhere. Also, if you don’t put a space between the date accessed and the URL, or if you put something after
the URL (something that should not be there at all, such as those silly “carrots”) then there’s a chance
that those things will become part of the URL. If so, it’s not going anywhere. Regardless of what some texts
may tell you, do not disable the hyperlink.
you have a work cited, you must always have in-text citations. Regardless of how perfect your work cited is,
it must be keyed to in-text citations. A work cited without in-text citations is just about as pointless as
in-text citations without a work cited. You must have both. If your major research paper is missing one or both,
I will not even grade it.
citations will simply be the first item in your work cited surrounded by parentheses. If you have an author, it will
be the author’s last name: (Eldridge) If there is only an article title, it will be the entire title:
(How I Hate Documentation) This is why that first item sticks out and the rest of the work cited entry is indented,
and then why they are all alphabetized. It is so, when upon seeing an in-text citation, I can just skim down the left
side of your work cited and find it almost immediately. I don’t have to look beyond the first item to know exactly
what I have. That’s why the in-text citation and the first entry in the work cited must match perfectly.
Don’t change it in any way, including abbreviations.
There is no punctuation inside of the parentheses – no quotation marks, no commas,
is no other added information in the parentheses, such as dates, unless... Unless the work is clearly paginated (which
will always be the case with print sources), then you will include the page numbers… just like this: (Eldridge
128). Or there is more than one first item that is exactly the same. Then you will include numbers like this:
(1 Eldridge) and (2 Eldridge). Note in cases like this you do NOT number the work cited entries, but only the in-text
citation. Remember: Page numbers to the right, which cite is which to the left.
There is always a space between the in-text citation and whatever word (as
well as any punctuation associated with that word) that the in-text citation follows, like this: “…and
so it goes.” (Vonnegut)
punctuation mark that goes with the sentence that is being cited will always go with the sentence, not after
the final parentheses of the in-text citation.
Most Important Thing About In-Text Citations
They must MATCH your work cited. Even if your work cited is completely screwed
up, as long as the in-text citation matches whatever comes first, then you will be OK. I will be able to match your
quotes with their sources. It is when I can’t match the quotes with the sources that you’re in trouble.
I should never have to guess or assume that I know which in-text citation goes with which source. And I won’t
guess. And remember, if I can’t match an in-text citation to a source, then that citation does not count.
And if I can’t match a work cited entry with an in-text citation, that source doesn’t count, either. Your
grade will depend, to a large extent, on how many citations and work cited entries you have. Unless they are obvious,
don’t expect me to try too hard to match them.
Last Word of Advice
do randomly check sources, regardless of how good they may look. However, you can be absolutely positive that teachers
will check those sites where the titles appear to be wrong. Instructors will also check sites where the punctuation
is off or the dates are not in the right format or where the in-text citation does not match the first item in the work cited
perfectly. It is all about attention to detail. If you’re not paying attention on the easy stuff,
like putting your period inside of the quotation marks, then you can’t possibly be that good when it comes to figuring
out that “Britannica, Encyclopedia” was not really the author. And if you’re making mistakes in your
work cited, how accurate are your quotes? While they’re at the site, you can bet teachers are going to check.
However, instructors rarely check sources that are formatted perfectly.
As well, one sure way to bring attention to your work cited is to be inconsistent.
If something is inconsistent (such as one date is in international format and another is not), it tells the reader one thing
every time: One of them is wrong. It would be less obvious, for instance, if all of your dates were consistently
wrong than if only one were wrong.
use the computer programs that create work cited and in-text citations. Ever. They are unreliable, they can’t
readily be edited, their URLs can’t be followed, they allow you to make mistakes, and you never really learn how to
do it right. And they just annoy most instructors. A good rule is never to annoy the person giving you a grade,
especially if that person has made a definite point of telling you what annoys him (and by “him,” I mean “me”).
“The superiority of the English language is obvious simply because we, Americans, choose to speak it.”
Bimbaum, Vula. “Let Us Keep Our Language Pure.”
2010. The Holy Grail Press. 29 Feb. 2012. http://holygrailpress.com/id348.html