Franklin Style Manual Online

2.3.5. Listing audio, video, and multimedia sources

Movies, radio broadcasts, television series, and other rich media content will often be used in research papers treating a variety of subjects, from studies of cultural trends to analyses of economic forecasts. In fact, these kinds of sources are used more than ever, since online access to them has improved so significantly. While such widespread access has enabled writers to draw on a larger pool of resources, the variations in how researchers access these kinds of sources creates some added complications for citation purposes. To best understand the guidelines below, you should review the guidelines to the previous sections, which cover more basic citation practices for both online and offline sources. The sources in this section require minor variations to those basics.

What information to record:

One of the most obvious special requirements for these sources involves the way authors are listed. While most mass‐produced sources involve the contributions of multiple individuals besides the writers given credit on the title page or byline, the special contributions of those creating rich media sources are often more significant, so significant that the special contributors are usually presented as the authors of the source. A director, for instance, might be listed first for a movie, while a performer might be listed first for a musical recording— even though neither of these contributors might actually be the “author” of the script or lyrics. Here are some details to look for as you record information about these kinds of sources:

  • The contributors who are given “top billing” for the source and those you feel are most relevant for your purpose in writing (e.g., performers whose work you are analyzing, etc.).
  • The production date for the source, which may be a recording or original release date for musical recordings and movies or a broadcast date for television and radio, etc.
  • The title of the sources, including both episode and series or program names.
  • The production location and company for CDs, DVDs, and other recorded media.
  • For sources accessed online, the digital format of the source (see below), the URL of the source itself, and the URL of the site providing the source.

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 recorded media, such as DVDs or CDs?

As noted above, you’ll have a few options for listing the “authors” for the source, depending on how the source is credited (e.g., to the director, to the producer, to the performer, etc.). The date of production goes next and then the title of the source (italicized). Immediately after the title, list the media format in square brackets (no italics). Finally, close the entry with production city and company.



Affleck, B. (Writer/Director), Iwanyk, B., & King, G. (Producers). (2010). The town [Motion picture]. United States: Warner Brothers.

Coyne, S., Martin, B. (Writers), & McKinney, M. (Writer/Director). (2003). Madness in great ones [Television series episode]. In Slings and arrows: The complete collection [DVD]. Silver Spring, MD: Acorn Media.

Young, N. (n.d.). After the gold rush [CD liner notes]. In After the gold rush [CD]. Burbank, CA: Warner Brothers. (Original work recorded in 1970)

Are you citing a radio or television broadcast?

After listing the main contributors, provide the date for the specific broadcast you are citing. Then list the title of the program, putting the medium in square brackets after. If a title has been given to the particular episode you are citing, list it (no italics), then the format, a period, and the program name (preceded by In). The end of the entry should include the city where the broadcast was heard or viewed and the network or station.



Cheap Trick (Performers). (2011, January 1). Austin city limits [Television series episode]. Austin, TX: KRLU.

Gross, T. (Host). (2010a, January 6). Fresh air [Radio program]. Columbus, OH: WCBE.

Are you citing a video or audio download or podcast?

The first part of the entry will match similar sources on recorded or broadcast media. After the title, though, describe the format. In place of production information, provide standard retrieval information (no retrieval date is required).



Agoyen. (2007, February 22). Downtown Marquette dog sled races [Video file]. Retrieved from

Gross, T. (Host). (2010b, July 30). Fresh air [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

Last Updated: 06/8/2012 17:10