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Citing Government Documents: American Psychological Association

According to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 6th ed. (2010). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. Revised January 2010 Contents

Electronic and Online Resources - General Guidance



     While the APA Manual recognizes information from the Web can be in a variety of formats and difficult to cite, it states:

"In general, we recommend that you include the same elements, in the same order, as you would for a reference to a fixed-media source and add as much electronic retrieval information as needed for others to locate the sources you cited." (p. 187)

     See examples in the preceeding printed resources sections (above) for in-text formats. Examples below are in reference list format.

      The Manual emphasizes the use of DOI's, digital object identifiers, and includes them, if available, instead of URL's. URL's are used if no DOI can be found. (p. 191) (See pgs. 187 - 192 for more information on DOI's.)

      If no DOI has been assigned, give the home page URL of the journal, book, or report. If the URL is so long as to continue onto a second line, break it after a slash or before a period.

     Usually it is not necessary to include database information since coverage of titles may vary over time. (p. 192)  However, the Manual states that database names may be given for material of "limited circulation". ( p. 202) Sociological Abstracts and Wiley InterScience are used in two examples to illustrate this. Most of the examples have a direct URL to the resource which may or may not be available within a database. If no "permanent link" to the individual title is in the electronic record, it seems best to give the name of the database used to find the resource.

     Format for retrieval statement: If the name of the database is used, follow it with a colon before the URL. If the URL alone follows "Retrieved from" do not precede the URL with a colon

Retrieved from GPO Access database: (URL)

Retrieved from (URL)

Some additional information may be found at: