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APA Citation

Basic Format

Author's Last Name, Author's Initials. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal/Magazine,  Volume(Issue)Page(s)

APA citations generally consist of four elements:

  • Who (author)
  • When (date of publication)
  • What (title)
  • Where (source, or where can the source being cited found)

If a work has 1-20 authors, list all authors in the reference list. If the work has 21 or more authors, list the first 19 authors, followed by an ellipsis (...), and then include the final author's name in your reference list for a total of 20 names.

In-text citations always consist of the author's name and year of publication. If a work has 3 or more authors, list the first author's last name et al. for parenthetical citations. For example: (Crozier et al., 2020).

If you use a direct quote, the in-text citation also needs to include the page number. For example: (Crozier, 2018, pp.55-56)

You can use these elements to put together a citation even if you can't find an example in the manual. Examples of common resources are found in the box below.


Black, E. L., & Murphy, S. A. (2017). The out loud assignment: Articulating library contributions to first-year student success. The Journal of Academic Librarianship43(5), 409–416.

Published Online

Neal, J. (2018, March 1). Fight for school libraries. American Libraries Magazine.


Neal, J. (2018, March 1). Fight for school libraries: Student success depends on them. American Libraries49(3–4), 4.

Basic Format

Author's Last Name, Author's Initials. (Year, Month Date)Title of web page. Site name. URL

  • Authors may be organizations or groups instead of individual people. This is very common with web pages and government resources. If you are unable to identify an author of any kind, start your citation with the title of the source, followed by the date.
  • If the author of the page and the site name are the same, omit the site name.
  • Dates are often missing on web pages. Do not use the copyright date. While a date of last review can give you an idea of how current the page is, it is not the same as a publication date. If you are unable to find a date, use (n.d.).
  • Include the date of retrieval if the contents of the page may change.

Web Page with an Organization Author

duPont-Ball Library. (2021, April 19) Academic library impact on student learning and success: Library impact on student learning and success. Research Guides. Retrieved December 16, 2021 from

Web Page with an Author

Kessler, E. (2018, December 17). How academic libraries are changing and what staff must prepare for. Brightspot Strategy.

Web Page with No Author

Where to study better? Decides between your home and the library. (2017, February 9). Education Task.

Published Online

Brody, J. E. (2018, August 13). An underappreciated key to college success: Sleep. The New York Times.


Brody, J. E. (2018, August 14). An underappreciated key to college success: Sleep. The New York Times, D5.


Baril, K., & Donley, J. (2021). Academic library job descriptions. Association of College and Research Libraries.

Book with Editor

Edwards, K. A., & Mackenzie, T. (Eds.). (2021). Telling the technical services story: Communicating value. ALA Editions.

Chapter in an Edited Book

Ellis, K., Donley, J., & Deems, C. (2021). Small but mighty: Cultivating a community of practice to document the past and prepare for the future. In K. A. Edwards & T. Mackenzie (Eds.), Telling the technical services story: Communicating value (pp. 65–78). ALA Editions.

If a book includes a DOI, list it after the publisher using the same format as a journal article.

The agency responsible for publishing the report is the author if no individuals are listed. If there is a parent agency, it is considered the publisher.

If there is a publication number, include it in parentheses after the title.

For the the first in-text or parenthetical citation, spell out the name of an agency completely. In subsequent citations, abbreviating the name is acceptable if the abbreviation is familiar or easy to understand.

Government Web Page

National Center for Education Statistics. (2021, May). COE - characteristics of postsecondary students. Institute of Education Sciences.

Report by a Government Agency

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (HHS Publication No. PEP21-07-01-003, NSDUH Series H-56). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Manual and Additional Resources

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the definitive resource for questions on APA format.

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