Reference List: Electronic Content

On this page

Basic Guidelines for Citing Electronic Content

Note: The basic guidelines below are modeled on Citing Medicine, 2nd Ed. For a full list of citation rules, consult Chapter 25: Websites.

For more recent examples of electronic content citation, see NLM-NIH Samples of Formatted References for Authors of Journal Article: Electronic Materials


  • Enter author’s surname followed by no more than 2 initials (e.g. Smith JD)
  • List names in the order they appear in the text
  • Separate each author name by a comma and a space

Note: If there is no author available, simply omit the author and start the citation with the title of the page.


  • Reproduce the title of a webpage as closely as possible to the wording on the screen
  • Use a colon followed by a space to separate a title from a subtitle


  • Place the word “Internet” in square brackets following the title

Place of publication

  • Place is defined as the city where the homepage is published
  • For U.S and Canadian cities, include the abbreviated state or province in the place of conference and place of publication (e.g. Ottawa (ON), Denver (CO) )
  • For cities outside the U.S. and Canada, include the country name or country code. (I.e: Malaga (ES) or Malaga (Spain) )


  • A publisher is defined as the individual or organization issuing the homepage
  • Record the name of the publisher as it appears on the homepage or opening screens

Date of Publication

  • Always give the year of publication
  • Include the month of publication, if desired, after the year. E.g. 2008 Jan
  • Abbreviate months to the first three letters (e.g. January becomes Jan)

Date of update/revision

  • Webpages are frequently updates or revised after publication dates or copyright dates
  • In square brackets, use whatever word for update or revision which is provided (i.e. updated, modified) and include the year of update/revision (e.g. [updated 2008 Jan 6] or [revised 2008 Jan 6])

Date of citation

  • Include the date the webpage was seen
  • Use the following format: YYYY MM DD
  • Place the date of citation after the date of update/revision, within the same bracket. E.g. [updated 2008 Jan 6; cited 2015 May 5]

Location (When no page numbers are available)

  • Give location as the total number of screens, paragraphs, lines, or bytes of the part, whichever is most practical; precede the total with the word about and place it in square brackets, as [about 15 screens]
  • Use the word "about" before the length indicator when the number is calculated.


  • Use the phrase “Available from” followed by a colon and a space
  • Insert the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) it is entirety; do not omit http://, www, or other beginning components
  • End with a period only if the URL ends with a slash, otherwise end with no punctuation

Citation Examples

Website Homepage

1. [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher; Date of publication; [updated YYYY MMM DD; cited YYYY MMM DD]. Available: URL


2. [Internet]. Toronto (ON): Ontario Institute for Cancer Research; c2019 [cited 2019 Mar 1]. Available from:

Part of Website

3. Title of homepage [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher; Date of publication of homepage. Title of part; Date of publication of part [updated YYYY MMM DD; cited YYYY MMM DD]; [Location or pagination of part]. Available: URL.


4. U.S. National Library of Medicine [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): NIH-NLM; 1993. History of Medicine; 1998 [updated 2019 Feb 22; cited 2019 Mar 7]; [about 2 screens]. Available:


5. Author or organization. Title of blog [Internet]. Date of publication [updated YYYY MMM DD; cited YYYY MMM DD]. Available from: URL


6. Ottawa Public Health. Ottawa public health blog [Internet]. c2019 - [cited 2019 Mar 7]. Available from:

Contribution to a blog

7. Author of contribution. Title of contribution. Date of publication of contribution [cited YYYY MMM DD]. In: Author or editor of blog. Title of blog [Internet]. Place of publication: Publisher. Date of publication - [extent of contribution]. Available from: URL


8. Schammel J. Failure in medicine: the greatest teacher. 2018 Nov 8 [cited 2019 Mar 7]. In: University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville. Transforming medical school [Internet]. Greenville (SC): University of South Carolina. c2014- [about 3 screens]. Available from:


9. Database Name [Internet] Place of publication: Publisher. Date of publication [Updated YYYY MM DD; cited YYYY MMM DD]; Available from: URL doi: if available


1. Drug Product Database [Internet] Ottawa (ON): Health Canada. c2010 [updated 2015 Jun 18; cited 2019 Mar 11]; Available from:

Software on the Internet

2. Author AA, Author BB, Author CC. Publisher: Title of software. Version no. [software]. Date of publication [cited YYYY MMM DD]. Availalbe from: URL


3. Hayes B, Tesar B, Zurow K. OTSoft: Optimality Theory Software. Version 2.3.2 [software]. 2013 Jan 14 [cited 2015 Feb 14]. Available from:

Content last reviewed: February 20, 2019