Franklin Style Manual Online

2.3.4. Listing Web pages, blogs, reader postings, and ebooks

The World Wide Web offers so many kinds of sources delivered in so many different formats that citation systems have difficulty keeping up—not to mention students and instructors! Even so, there are some standard details you can look for to insure your citation does not omit important info. Many of the guidelines below also apply to rich‐media and special‐genre sources covered in Section 2.3.5 and Section 2.3.6. Here we focus on generic Web pages, blogs, user postings, and e‐books.

What information to record:

As you would for other sources, look for the key elements of the basic reference‐list entry: author, date, title, and publication information. The lack of standards for publication can, however, make identifying some important details difficult. Here are suggestions:

  • The authors for Web sources can be listed in many places, including in a byline at the top, in the footer of the page, or even on a separate page linked to the one you are referencing.
  • The publication date for online sources is generally the posting date, which can appear in a variety of locations on the page; a copyright date for the site may be all that is available.
  • The titles of online sources are also sometimes tricky, since most appear as part of the hierarchy within a larger site, so make sure to explore the overall site housing the source.
  • Original production information is sometimes listed for the source (e.g., print date), etc.
  • The last date you retrieved the source should be noted for pages updated regularly.
  • A direct URL (i.e., Web address) can often be pared down to omit unnecessary query info.
  • The website name and main URL of the site are also often used to cite sources.
  • Remember, finally, to record location references (e.g., section numbers, headings, etc.) where material you reference appears. Note that some Web sources do have page numbers.

As you record the key details listed above, ask these questions to make sure you are recording all the relevant information and formatting the citation correctly:

Are you citing a Web page or a node of Web pages?

Begin the entry as you would for a printed report, listing the author first (or title, if unsigned). Note that the author of some Web sources is assumed to be the same organization housing the source on its website (but not for online articles—see below). Next, list the posting date and title (italicized). Finally, put Retrieved from, a retrieval date (unless the source is assumed to remain unchanged) and the source’s URL.



American Management Association. (n.d.). Training options. Retrieved July 1, 2010, from

World Wide Web Consortium. (2010). The semantic web. Retrieved January 1, 2011, from

Are you citing a Web log—or blog—posting?

The title of the posting should not be italicized; insert [Web log post] after it. Be sure to list the full posting date, but omit the retrieval date.



Kiume, S. (2007, August 17). Loneliness isn't good [Web log message]. Retrieved from 2007/08/17/loneliness-isnt-good/

Are you citing an online article from a non-periodical website?

Do not italicize titles for these sources; if the article does not name an author in the byline, put the title first (just as you would for periodical articles). If it is a special kind of article (e.g., a review), note it in brackets after the title.



Gill, K., Brooks, K., McDougall, J., Patel, P., & Kes, A. (2010). Bridging the gender divide. Retrieved from the International Center for Research on Women website:

Ricky Gervais sends friend around world for series. (2011, January 7). Retrieved from /main7220544.shtml

Are you citing reader-contributed content, rather than an edited posting?

Describe the post in square brackets after the subject line (no italics): for example, [Web log comment] or [Online forum comment]. Be sure to provide the full date of the posting; the retrieval date can be omitted.



Goodwin, A. (2009, June 12). Okay, I’ll bite [Online forum posting]. Retrieved from =3060623

Is the identity of the website housing the source indicated clearly by other parts of the entry?

If not, list the name of the site (no italics) after the retrieval date, before the URL.



Gill, K., Brooks, K., McDougall, J., Patel, P., & Kes, A. (2010). Bridging the gender divide. Retrieved from the International Center for Research on Women website:

Are you citing an ebook or ebook chapter?

Start the entry like a similar print source. In brackets after the title, however, describe the file format. Replace the publication details with a retrieval statement listing the URL for the source or, if a direct URL is not reliable, the URL for the site providing the e‐book. If a DOI is available, provide only the DOI (see Section 2.3.3).



Carnegie, D. (2009). How to win friends and influence people (Reissue ed.). [Kindle Edition version]. Retrieved from (Original work published in 1937)

Donogue, D. (2008). On eloquence. Retrieved from /librarytitles/home.action

Last Updated: 06/8/2012 17:10