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ACS - Referencing Guide

Electronic Documents


  References for electronic documents begin with the same information that would be provided for a printed source.

Additional information must be provided (depending on the type of electronic publication) to correctly identify that you accessed the document in an electronic format.

An electronic publication could be an internet site or page, a document published on a website, an email, a journal article published on the internet, or a journal article retrieved from a full text database.

Some documents are published in both paper and electronic formats. Please cite according to the format you accessed.

Be aware that pagination may not be specified for many online publications.

Information Required

Below is a guide to what information you may need to record when citing an electronic document:

name of Author(s) if given and/or names of Editors, if applicable.

title of document

year or date of publication

Edition, version or volume information

title of website or database

pages, sections or paragraphs (if given)

date you accessed the site, unless a DOI is cited. This is positioned after the URL and written as (accessed YYYY-MM-DD). A full stop is placed after the closing bracket.

database name (if appropriate)

internet address (if appropriate)


For specific examples, please see:

Books, Journal articles or Internet Documents.

See the All Examples page for examples of in-text and reference list entries for specific resources such as articles, books, electronic documents and web pages.

Evaluating Electronic Resources

Criteria for evaluating internet sites and other electronic resources include:

Who is the author? It is important to check the author's credentials to determine whether he/she has the knowledge and authority to supply credible information. Check to see if any contact details are provided.

How current is the information? See when the document was created and when it was last updated.

What is the author's interest in the material? Can you detect any bias in the content and are you able to determine the purpose of the site? Check the web address to identify the type of organisation producing the document. Be aware that commercial interests and some politically motivated sites may not present a balanced view.

What sort of content is there? Can the content be considered comprehensive and of good quality? Does it provide links to other documents? Check which audience the information is aimed at.