How to cite a website with no author

Obviously the exact formatting of citations depends on the style you’ve been asked to use (i.e. APA, MLA, Uniform/ICMJE Requirements, etc).  You won’t need all of the information below for every single citation style. But in general you need to try to find the same type of information you would in a print resource.

  1. Author
    • Look for whoever wrote the page.  If it’s not listed at the bottom or the top of the page/article that you’re using, look on the “contact us” page or “about us” page of the website.
    • You may not find an individual author.  This is okay (if you feel that the site is reputable and reliable).  In most citation styles, you would just skip this information.
    • The organization responsible for providing the website is often the author – especially when it’s a government site, or a major organization like the American Psychological Association or the Canadian Diabetes Association.
  2. Title
    • You will likely need to find two titles: the name of the webpage you’re using, and the name of the  overall website that page falls under.  My example below demonstrates this: the webpage name is “Bipolar disorder – what are the symptoms?” while the website name is Mind Your Mind.  I will need both of these pieces of information for my citation.
  3. Publisher
    • Often, this is just the name of the website – what you’re looking for is who produces or sponsors the site.
    • In a big organization, like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the publisher is the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
    • Some not-for-profit organizations (and even some for-profit sites) will have a sponsor who pays for their site.   This information could be little, like an icon on the bottom of the page so look carefully!  [I’ve included an example from WebMD below so you can see what I mean.  In this case, the sponsor is NCI, but I only found that information by scrolling down the page].
    • If you can’t find a publisher or sponsor (i.e. if it’s an average person’s website rather than an organization’s) make sure to include “n.p.” in your citation where the publishing information should go (as in “no publisher”).
  4. Location of Publication
    • Not all citation styles require this information, and it’s often tricky to find.  Just try your best!
  5. Date of Publication
    • Normally this information is found at the bottom of the page, next to the words “last updated.”
    • If you see a website that has a date like “c2010”, that’s actually the copyright date, not the date of publication.  If this is the only date you can find, make sure to include the “c” in your citation.
    • If you can’t find a date of publication anywhere on the site and you still want to use it in your bibliography, most citation styles require you to say “n.d.” in your citation where the date should go (as in “no date”).  See my examples below so you know what I mean.
  6. Estimated Length or Number of Pages
    • If you are citing a PDF from a website, this part’s easy.  But for normal websites,  some citation styles require you to count the number of paragraphs on the page that you’re using.  Have fun!
  7. Accessed Date or Retrieved Date or Cited Date
    • Make sure to record the date that you looked at the website, in case the content is updated.
  8. URL
    • Some citation styles don’t require this anymore, when you look at their manual.  Make sure to check with your professor before skipping this information, though.
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