How To Cite E-Text

Geoffrey Samuel

Please note that if you use material from the Internet, it should be properly referenced. The URL alone, (for example, "," or even the full reference which for this document is currently "") is not sufficient.

In the "Harvard-style" referencing favoured by Sociology and Anthropology staff, an appropriate full reference for a WWW page might include

Author's Lastname, Author's Firstname. Year of Publication. "Title of Document." Title of Complete Work (if applicable). Version or File Number (if applicable). Date of the Document. Protocol and Address, Access Path or Directories. Date of access.

E.g. if you accessed this page on 15 March. 2002, you would give the reference as

Samuel, Geoffrey. 2002. "How To Cite E-Text." Last updated 05/03/02. URL: "". Date of access: 15/03/02.

In practice, you may not be able to locate all of this information, but you should give as much of it as possible. The full URL and date of access are particularly important.


The Year of Publication

This is needed because of the way we cite references, e.g. (Samuel 1998). This should be the year from the document date (see below). If you cannot identify a document date, use "n.d." ("no date").

The Date of the Document

This should be the date on which the document was last revised or updated. Normally this is given at the end of a Web page. It is needed because of the transitory nature of e-text. A page which you read one month might be deleted, drastically modified or on a different URL by the following month. This date is the date on which the information was put on the Web in the form in which you have it.

Protocol, Address etc (URL)

This is what you enter into your browser to reach the actual page (not the site as a whole), e.g. URL: "".

The Date of Access

This is needed for the same reason as the document date. This is the most recent date on which you actually found this information on the Web.

Other Kinds of E-Text

Analogous procedures can be followed with gopher or ftp items. As with all referencing, the important thing is that an intelligent reader should be able to locate the source of your information unambiguously and with as little difficulty as possible.


Some Web sites that give more detailed information on referencing procedures for e-texts are [a University of South Australia Library page that gives several further links] [for the "Harvard," author-date or 'parenthetic' style preferred by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology] [for the MLA "footnote" style used by some other departments] [see "Online Citation Guides"]

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GBS updated 05/03/2002