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APA Citation Style - Color Coded Guide: Books

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition (first printing), 2010 / APA style guide to electronic references, 6th edition, 2012


Okuda, M., & Okuda, D. (1993). Star trek chronology: The history

     of the future. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

[Book with no author; see notes]

Star trek: Four generations of stars, stories, and strange new worlds.

     (1995). Radnor, PA: News America Publications.

[Online, with a DOI]

Michaud, M. A. G. (2007). Contact with alien civilizations: Our hopes

     and fears about encountering extraterrestrials.


[Online from a database - without a DOI - Do not include the full URL]

Anijar, K. (2000). Teaching toward the 24th century: Star trek as social

     curriculum. Retrieved from

     Include only the homepage of the database:
          eBook Collection:
          Gale Virtual Reference Library:
          Google Books:

[Ebook reader, Kindle, Nook, etc.]

Okuda, M., Okuda, D., & Mirek, D. (2011). The Star trek encyclopedia

     [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from

Book Article or Chapter

James, N. E. (1988). Two sides of paradise: The Eden myth according

     to Kirk and Spock. In D. Palumbo (Ed.), Spectrum of the fantastic

     (pp. 219-223). Westport, CT: Greenwood.

[Online from a database - without a DOI - Do not include the full URL]

Cohen, S. (2002). Klingons are the same wherever you go. In N.

     Stafford (Ed.), Trekkers: True stories by fans for fans (pp. 140-142).

     Retrieved from

Encyclopedia Article

Sturgeon, T. (1995). Science fiction. In L. T. Lorimer et al. (Eds.), The

     encyclopedia Americana (Vol. 24, pp. 390-392). Danbury, CT: Grolier.

[Online from a database - without a DOI - Do not include the full URL]

Tauber, S. (2008). Star trek. In W. A. Darity Jr. (Ed.), International

     encyclopedia of the social sciences (2nd ed., Vol. 8, p. 99). Retrieved


[Online from a website - with no author, no date, no page, and no editor. If some of this information is available, include it as shown above.]

Star trek. (n.d.). In Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved from

     [Include the complete URL]

[Wiki - include the retrieval date in addition to the page's date, if there is one]

Star trek planet classifications. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved January 7,

     2009, from


     [Include the complete URL]

Notes and Discussion

  • Doublespace all lines. Indent the second and following lines 5 to 7 spaces or one half inch. Use one inch margins and Times New Roman 12-point font. Do not justify.
  • Article titles, book titles, and webpage titles: capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle. (Capitalize all significant words of periodical titles, database titles and website titles.)
  • The volume number is italicized for journals and magazines but not for books. The issue number is not italicized.
  • If a book is not the first edition, include the edition number in parentheses after the title. See the example for Tauber in the Encyclopedia box under the Books tab.


  • Authors:
    • Arrange the items on your reference list alphabetically by the author's last name, letter by letter, interfiling books, articles, etc. Items with no author are interfiled in this list by the first significant word of the title.
    • Use only the initials of the authors' first (and middle) names.
    • If no author is given, start with the title and then the date. Note that some authors on the internet use a screen name instead of their real name and that an organization can also be an author (a "corporate author"). See the examples under Books, Websites, and Blogs.


  • Pagination:
    • If the journal (or magazine) begins each issue with page one (paginated by issue), include the issue number (not italicized) if one is provided. If the journal continues the page numbering from issue to issue throughout the volume (paginated by volume), do not include it.


  • DOI: Digital Object Identifier is a string of numbers (and/or letters) assigned to individual journal articles, books, book articles, and other publications.
    • Include the DOI for items that you retrieve both online and (if possible) in hardcopy.
    • The database may provide the DOI as part of the citation, or you may have to look at the top or bottom of the first page of the article to find it.
    • When the 6th edition of the Publication Manual was published in 2010, it originally indicated that the DOI should be preceded by "doi:" (ex. doi:10.1207/s15327965pli0302_13). Your readers could then go to and use the DOI to locate the item. In 2011, it was decided that the DOI should be preceded by the complete URL, "" (ex. Both formats are still acceptable. Use the one that your source uses.
    • If you retrieve an article from a website or database, and it does not have a DOI, go to and type in the article's name to see if they can provide the DOI.
    • If that does not work:
      • Journals: Include the URL of the journal's homepage at the publisher's website (not the direct link to the article or the database). You may have to use a search engine to find this website. If the URL to the journal's homepage is too long and complicated, use the URL of the publisher's homepage. The only time that you should include the full URL to the article would be when the article is difficult to find from the journal's homepage. These are judgment calls that you will have to make.
      • Books: If you retrieve the text of a book from a database (such as ebrary, Google Books, eBook Collection, or Gale Virtual Reference Library) - and there is no DOI - include the URL of the databases' homepage, not the complete URL or the URL of the publisher's homepage. If you retrieve the text of a book from a website or if the book is available only online, then include the complete URL.
    • Do not include the database's name unless the item is available in only that one database. The most likely places where you will encounter this among our online resources would be older articles from JSTOR, ERIC documents from ERIC, and dissertations from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full-Text. See the examples for a dissertation or ERIC document under the Other Documents tab.
    • Older hardcopy publications will not have a DOI, and it can be left out.


  • Websites:
    • If no author is given, start with the title and then the date. Note that some authors on the internet use a screen name instead of their real name and that an organization can also be an author (a "corporate author").
    • If possible, include the month and day that the page was created.
    • If a webpage is part of a larger website, do not italicize the title of the page. If the webpage is an independent document on the website, do italicize the title of the page. This is also a judgment call that you will have to make. If you are not sure, do not italicize.
    • If a webpage is likely to change over time, such as a wiki or personal website, include the date that you looked at the page. Webpages that provide journal articles, books, or reports from publishing companies, professional associations, and government agencies are less likely to change and do not require retrieval dates. This is also a judgment call that you will have to make.
    • If the date the page was created is not given, use (n.d.). See the examples in the Encyclopedia box under the Books tab.
    • If the name of the website is the same as the name of the author, you do not need to include it a second time. This is especially likely to happen with the websites for government agencies and professional associations (see the examples for National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the Websites tab). If the name of the website is obvious from the URL, you do not need to include it (another judgment call).
    • If the URL does not fit on one line, divide it before any punctuation marks (except for the "http://").
    • If you are citing the web version of a hardcopy source, format it the same way that you would the hardcopy source and include the relevant retrieval information.


  • Parenthetical References:
    • If there is no author, use the first few words of the title (unless the shortened title would create confusion). Unlike citations in the reference list, capitalize all significant words. Article, chapter, and webpage titles are placed in quotation marks. Book, periodical, report, and brochure titles are placed in italics. Note that an organization can also be an author (a "corporate author").
    • If two authors have the same last name, include the first initial(s).
    • Use only the year, even if the full citation in the reference list includes the month and day. If you cite the same source a second time in the same paragraph, you do not need to mention the year a second time.
    • If there are no page numbers, you can count the paragraph numbers or list the name of a section or leave this information out if neither of these is practical.


  • The rules concerning a title within a title are not displayed above in order to avoid confusing people. In these examples, Star trek would be italicized if it appears in the non-italicized title of an article and not italicized if it appears in the italicized title of a book (reverse italicization). See the example for Ebert in the Newspaper box under the Periodicals tab.
  • A little bit of additional information is available on the official website, APA
  • For documents and situations not listed here, see the printed versions of the manuals. The APA style guide to electronic references (2012) states:
    • "If you cannot find the reference example you need in the Publication Manual, choose the example that is most like your source and follow that format. Sometimes you may need to combine elements of more than one reference format" (p. 2).
    It also advises:
    • "When in doubt, provide more information rather than less" (p. 11).
    If you are still unsure, Timothy McAdoo (2009), on the official APA Style website, discusses The Flexibility of APA Style:
    • "Sometimes it's okay to color outside the lines. Although the stylistic guidelines in the Publication Manual are meant to ensure consistency within scientific writing, we also recognize the importance of a writer's good judgment. The trick is knowing when it's okay to do your own thing. It's even trickier when you know someone may be reading your paper with a red pen in hand!... If you've mastered the fine points of APA Style throughout a manuscript, your choices will be recognized as careful decisions, not oversights. So be sure to display your in-depth knowledge of APA Style in all other areas of your paper."


Follow These Color Codes:

Title of Book/Website
Title of Article/Webpage
Title of Periodical
Place of Publication
Other Information

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