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Online sources

The Internet has become an increasingly popular medium for the publishing of academic material. As with written documents, all online sources must be properly referenced.

When making use of online sources, remember that much of the information on the Internet has not been subject to the rigours of academic peer review one would expect from a book or journal article.

Due to the ephemeral nature of material published on the Internet, it is essential that the date on which the online resource was accessed is included in the reference. This will ensure the reference is as accurate as possible.

The British Standards do not provide guidance on the correct way to cite online sources. These guidelines are based upon those provided by Bournemouth University, which are available on the web. (Click on the link below to view).

HOLLAND, Matt. July 2005. Citing References. [online]. Available from: [Accessed 22 July 2005].

Bournemouth University referencing guidelines

References to online publications should follow the same pattern set out for written sources, and should thus include:

  • The name of the author
  • Year of publication
  • Title - in italics followed by '[online]'
  • Title of online resource in which it appears
  • Details of publication - volume number etc
  • Website address (URL) - preceded by 'Available from'
  • Date on which the website or resource was accessed - in square brackets e.g. [Accessed 7 October 2005].

Ensure that the URL is written correctly. Be especially careful to check the use of capitals, as addresses are case sensitive. When writing URL's, try not to have the address continue over two or more lines. Where this is impossible, place the line break at a forward slash.


BRADSHAW, R. [no date]. Augustine of Hippo (534-430): synopsis [online]. Available from: [Accessed 14 July 2005].