Referencing Styles

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

What you need to include:

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

Core elements:

In the works-cited list, Core elements are given in the order show below, with the punctuation as detailed below. The fields in bold are those most commonly used for website references.  Omit any element from an entry where it isn't relevant.

  1. Author.
  2. "Title of the webpage, blog post etc".
  3. Title of container, (title of the Website, blog, social media platform)
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date, 
  9. Location. (URL - for the specified page, post, etc.)

An entry in the works-cited list should always end with a full stop/period.  

Full explanation of each of the elements can be found in the 8th Edition of the MLA handbook, a brief explanation is given below:

1. Author.

The person(s) or organisation responsible for the work.  Follow the Author Rules for MLA when dealing with multiple authors, editors, etc. In the case of social media, pseudonyms should be used.  Where no author is given or you can't identify the author, start the reference with the Title.

2. Title.

The title of the source you are using, eg. webpage title, blogpost title, tweet, etc.

3. Title of container,

A container is the item which holds the entry you are using.  For a webpage, this would be the title of the Website homepage, for a blogpost this would be the title of the blog, for social media use the title of the social media platform, e.g. Twitter.  The container title is italicised.

4. Other contributors, (not usually required for webpages, etc)

You can add details of other people who have a contribution to the source who are not the authors, with a descriptor for their role in the work, e.g. adapted by, edited by, illustrated by, translated by, narrated by, etc.

5. Version, (not usually required for webpages, etc)

Where given within a work, this can include such things as revised edition, updated edition, 7th edition, unabridge version, director's cut.  The term edition is normally abbreviated to "ed.".

6. Number, (not usually required for webpages, etc)

This is used where there are multiple volumes of a work to provide the details of the volume you have used.  Journals often have volumes and issues/parts.  Volume is abbreviated to "col." and issues/parts is abbreviated to "no.". Numbers can also be used for television series, and episodes. Whatever source number you are giving ensure that the preceeding term which identifies it is included in your reference.

7. Publisher, (not usually required for websites, etc.)

The full name of the publisher(s) of the work.  As well as book publishers, film production companies and distributors, websites, etc. are given here.  Not all sources require that you provide publishers.  Journals, and websites which host a source, but are not involved in its production do not need to list a publisher.

8. Publication date,

Give the details of the publication date of the source you are citing.  This should be given as Day, Month (abbrevaited) Year - e.g. 12 Dec. 2016,

9. Location (page numbers, and for online resources doi or URL)

Locations for webpages, etc are the full URL for the specific webpage you are referring to.

In-text citation: (Author), e.g.:


Entry in the works-cited list:   Author Surname, Firstname. "Webpage title". Website title, Date of Publication, URL.


Parker, Alan. "Building a Sustainable UK Film Industry". Alan Parker - Director, Writer, Producer,  5 Nov.



Example of entry in works-cited list

In-text citation: (Title), e.g.:

(#53 The Grapes of Wrath)

Entry in the works-cited list:   "Blogpost title". Blog title, Date of Publication, URL.


"#53 The Grapes of Wrath". 1000 Films Blog, 29 Oct. 2016,


Example of entry in works-cited list

In-text citation: (Title), e.g.:

("The War of Troy Tapestry")

Entry in the works-cited list:   "Webpage title". Website title, Date of Publication, URL.


"The War of Troy Tapestry". Victoria and Albert Museum, 2016,


Where the author is an organisation, and they are also the publisher (ie the source is on their website) you should miss out the name of the organisation as the author, and start with the title.


Example of entry with organisation as author

In-text citation

  • Always in brackets. 
  • Give the name of the webpage author
  • Follow the Author rules for multiple authors, corporate authors and anonmymous works
  • Where a work is anonymous or from a corporate author who is also the published give a shortened title instrad of the author

Entry in the works-cited list

Use the punctuation recommended in the Core Elements:

  1. Author.
  2. "Webpage/post title".
  3. Title of container (Homepage of the website, or Blog, etc),
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date, 
  9. Location (URL).

For multiple authors follow the Author Rules.

The webpage title should be enclosed within "quotation marks"

The website, blog, or social media platform should be italicised.

Where a date can be identified give as full a date as you can in the format of Day, Month (abbreviated) Year,

Location is the full URL for the specific page/post/tweat etc. which you are referring to.

URLS should be supplied without any prefix (HTTP, HTTPS, etc), the full URL should be given to the source you are using, and the URL should not be hyperlinked.

Only include the components required for your reference.

Items in the works cited list are listed alphabetically by the surname of the author(s), unless it is a corporate author who is also the publisher, or there is no author, in which case use the title as the first entry in the reference, and alphabetise.

Hanging indents are used where a reference is longer than a single line to make the list easier to scan.