Referencing Styles

A guide to the reference styles used at the University of St Andrews

What you need to include:

This advice related specifically to web pages, rather than all information found online.  If you need to reference a book or journal article which you have accessed online, please refer to the section within this guide for books and journal articles.

Remember to evaluate the information you find on websites to ensure they are appropriate for academic use.

  • Author or organisation
  • Year of publication/update
  • Title (give the title of the specific page you are referring to)
  • URL
  • Date Accessed

The Basic In-Text citation format is:

(Author Surname or Organisation, Year)

The Basic Reference format is:

Author or Organisation (Year) Title. Available at: URL (Accessed: DD Month Year).


In-text citation:

(Jones, 2016)

Reference list entry:

Jones, C. (2016) Solar system facts. Available at (Accessed: 15 July 2016).



Example web page reference with individual author
  • For author information look in the "About" section of a web page
  • Dates can often be found either beside the title, if it's a blog entry, etc. or at the bottom of the website.





In-text citation:

(NASA, 2016)

Reference list entry:

NASA (2016) Journey to Mars. Available at: (Accessed: 14 June 2016).

Example web page with organisation as author
  • Where an organisation is commonly known by an acronym (NASA, UN, etc) there's no need to give the full name.  Where an acronym isn't in common use, or you want to avoid any uncertainly the full name of the organisation should be given.
  • Date of publication can often be found alongside the page title or at the bottom of the page.


  • In-text citations are within parenthesis, and contain the author(s) surname(s) and year of publication, page number is given if you are referring to a specific page/section;  if you refer to the authors within your text only the date is needed in your in-text citation, if you refer to the year in your text, only the author(s) is required in your in-text citation.
  • If you can identify the author include this
  • For multiple authors or editors follow the advice in the Author Rules tab, paying attention to the use of commas, the word "and" is used rather than "&"
  • (Date) is always within parenthesis, and followed with a "."
  • Provide the title of the specific page you are referring to
  • Provide a DOI or URL at the end of the reference


Examples of references for a range of online materials can be found in Cite them right: the essential referencing guide, which you'll find in the Library.