Explain the process for citation when the source is one without an author and was found online. This is for my works cited page: "Handkerchief." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th...

Explain the process for citation when the source is one without an author and was found online.

This is for my works cited page:

"Handkerchief." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. Academic Search Complete. Web. 20 Sept. 2014.

Do I list this as ("Handkerchief", 1) since "Handkerchief" is the first word in the citation?

Asked on by suscausey

2 Answers | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The issue at hand is how to cite an online source that does not have an author. In looking over the APA rules for citation, there is specificity offered:  "When there is no author for a web page, the title moves to the first position of the reference entry."  In the absence of an author, the title becomes the first position of the citation element.  The APA rules suggest that you should "Cite in text the first few words of the reference list entry (usually the title) and the year. Use double quotation marks around the title or abbreviated title."  In the APA manner, your citation is correct.

In the MLA format for citation, the same structure is followed.  The MLA rules state that you still use the title of the article in the first position of citation:  "...use a shortened title of the work instead of an author name."  The MLA asserts that "If no author or date is given, use the title in your signal phrase or the first word or two of the title in the parentheses."  In both instances, your citation is accurate.  You would not necessarily use "Handkerchief" as the citation because it is the first word in the citation.  You would use it to represent an article found online without a cited author.  

Sources:
chrisyhsun's profile pic

chrisyhsun | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

In my experience, for that particular citation, I would just use ("Handkerchief") as the citation, for the exact reason you stated - it is the first word of the full citation. There is one thing of which you should be careful when you are merely using the first word as the internal citation. The purpose of internal citations is to be able to identify which bulleted citation in the works cited page you got the information from. In that case, you need to watch out in case several of your citations start with the same word, because then it won't be clear which one you are referencing. In that case, I would pick the first two or three words as the internal citation - just enough to clearly identify it as a specific work. The only time I have had this be an issue is in a research paper situation, when all the articles I looked at started with very similar words because they all revolved around a relatively restricted topic.

We’ve answered 318,991 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question