How to cite a database

The simplest way to cite sources is to use Parenthetical references or Parenthetical documentation.

The author’s last name and page number(s) are placed in parentheses in the text to give credit to sources.

For example, in your paper you write:

How to cite a database

In their Preface, the authors point out that “Learning Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) and Extensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML) is like learning any new language, computer or human” (Musciano and Kennedy xi).

In your Bibliography, or on your Works Cited page, you should list:

Musciano, Chuck, and Bill Kennedy. HTML and XHTML: The Definitive Guide. 4th ed. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly, 2000.

If you cite another paragraph from the same work, or if the author or authors are clearly indicated in your text, common sense suggests that you only need to add page number(s) for the citation. For example:

Musciano and Kennedy suggest that we should avoid breaking tags across lines in our source document whenever possible to promote readability and reduce potential errors in HTML documents (41).

If you are citing two or more articles by the same author, distinguish the articles by adding a date after the author’s last name, e.g. (Roche 2004 45), (Roche 2005 62-64) ; or by adding the short title after the last name, e.g. (Mayberry Business Leaders 21), (Mayberry Leaders Who Changed 35-40) .

If you are citing two or more authors with the same last name, add first names or initials to distinguish them, e.g. (John Smith 52), (Jane Smith 90), (M. Smith 115) .

To indicate a work with more than three authors or editors, use et al. (Latin expression meaning “and others”) e.g. (Carmichael et al. 25) .

You can solve any problem with in-text citations with the help of the following writing platforms:

If you are quoting from a Web page, your citation for a parenthetical reference follows the same format as any regular citations for author, editor, title, etc. with one exception. Where no page reference is available on a Web page, indicate the author’s last name, or the short title if no author is stated, without any page reference, e.g. (Meyer) or (Patron Saints Index) . A corresponding entry must be made in your Bibliography.

To cite information obtained from the Internet, you should write in your text, e.g.:

On May 2, 2002, some 4500 students wrote the difficult University of Waterloo, Physics Department, Sir Isaac Newton (SIN) Examination. Amazingly, there were three perfect papers! Two team members from Don Mills Collegiate Institute broke Waterloo’s SIN record not so much for finishing First Place but both students on the team had perfect exams (“SIN 2002”).

In your Bibliography, your entry for this parenthetical reference would read:

“SIN 2002 Book Prize Winners.” U of Waterloo. 3 Nov. 2002

If your citation refers to a Web site by four or more authors, e.g. Charlie Harris, Laurence A. Moore, Steven Blacher, Yvonne Hewett, and others entitled: “URLs for a Rainy Day” found at /res2.htm;, in your essay you write:

A really useful Web site (Harris et al.) that compiles various URLs recommended by users has been created by a group of individuals in the United Kingdom.

On your Works Cited (or Bibliography) page, you should list the following in alphabetical order by first word along with your other citations:

Harris, Charlie, et al. “URLs for a Rainy Day.” 3 June 2001.

12 Oct. 2002 .htm;.

Meaning of dates: Web site was last updated on June 3, 2001, the site was accessed on October 12, 2002.
For further details on Internet citations, see Item #23. Internet in MLA Bibliography Example.
Unless the paragraphs or screens are clearly numbered on the Web page by the author or Webmaster, paragraphs or screen numbers probably should not be arbitrarily assigned when citing sources.

The reason for not citing, for example, (screen 12) is that it may be quite inaccurate to indicate such a screen number for a document printed from the Internet. A screen of displayed text is not equivalent to a printed page from a book or a magazine. Unlike printed material where page numbers are clearly indicated, page and screen numbers on a Web page may vary considerably from one user to another depending on numerous variables such as the size of the monitor used, the user’s choice of font size and font type, setting of pixels, printing using portrait or horizontal/landscape format, choice of paper size, user’s option to suppress graphics or images, selection of number of lines per page, setting of top and bottom as well as left and right margins, the particular browser used as well as the version of the browser used, and other variables, may all have an impact on the outcome of the printout.

Even if all users choose the identical variables, it would still be unrealistic to expect a reader to count the number of paragraphs, pages or screens in order to locate your citation. It would be a very tedious task to try to locate a paragraph, page or screen number if the Web page cited is long and consists of both text and non-text items.

In order to accurately count the screens, everyone must first agree on what constitutes a screen as well as where a screen begins and ends on a Web page. Unless the Web page comes with electronic reference markers, i.e. paragraphs, pages or screens that have been clearly numbered, it may be wise not to arbitrarily assign paragraph, page or screen numbers to your citations based on your printouts or screen views.

Instead of adding a paragraph, page or screen number, it may be more practical to add a meaningful section or heading in your parenthetical reference, e.g. (Harris et al. Arts/Humanities) . This may help your readers to easily locate the source of your citation regardless of what browser or font size they have chosen to use.

The Web has drastically changed many of the traditional ways we have become accustomed to in documenting sources. Once in a while, we need to remind ourselves that common sense, logic, and consistency are the main ingredients for writing a good citation. Never lose sight of the real purpose for documenting sources, which is to communicate to the reader, in a standardized manner, the sources that you have used in sufficient detail to be identified and found.

APA style does not require database information in its citations. You would cite the source found within the database, such as a journal article or a photograph.

Click here to automatically cite a Database article.

How to Cite a Journal Article from a Database Online in APA Format

APA style does not require Database information in its citations. You would cite the source found within the Database, such as a journal article or a photograph.


Last, F. M. (Year Published). Article title. Journal Name, Volume (Issue), Page(s). doi:# OR Retrieved from URL


Ahn, H.,; Kim, K. (2008). Using genetic algorithms to optimize nearest neighbors for data mining. Annals of Operations Research, 263(1), 5-18. doi:10.1007/s10479-0080325-2

Make sure to:

  • Leave no spaces between “doi:” and the number.
  • Only capitalize proper nouns and the first work of the article title (or the first word after a : in the title)
  • Only include URL if there is no doi.

APA Formatting Guide

APA Formatting

Citation Examples

Updated November 3, 2020.

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You do not need to cite a database in APA style, but to cite a source within a database, it is important that you know some basic information including the author, publication year, title of the work, name of the database, and URL (uniform resource locator). The templates for an in-text citation and reference list entry of a database, along with examples, are given below:

In-text citation template and example:

Use the author’s surname and the publication year in in-text citations.

Author Surname (Publication Year)

(Author Surname, Publication Year)

Reference list entry template and example:

The title of the work is given in sentence case and italicized. Include the document number in parenthesis after the title. Then, add the name of the database followed by the URL.

Author Surname, F. M. (Publication Year). Title of the work (Document Number). Name of the Database. URL

You need not include the full URL when citing a subscription database, as the URL will not be accessible to readers who have not subscribed to the database. It is sufficient to include only the homepage URL of the subscription database.

Article published online in a database

Online Database Citation Structure:

Last, First M. “Article Title.” Publication Title, volume, number, issue (if provided), date published, page numbers (if applicable). Database Name, DOI or URL.

Online Database Citation Example:

Trier, James. “‘Cool’ Engagements with YouTube: Part 2.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 50, no. 7, April 2007, pp. 598-603. JSTOR,

Online Database In-text Citation Structure:

(Author’s Last Name page number)

Online Database In-text Citation Example:

“Two important, intertwined search aspects enabled by YouTube are immediacy and availability” (Trier 601).

Published October 31, 2011. Updated May 18, 2021.

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

Citation Examples

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To cite an an article from an online database in MLA style, it is important that you know some basic information including the author, publication year, title of the work, name of the database, and URL (uniform resource locator). The templates and examples for an in-text citation and a works cited list entry for an article from an online database are provided below:

In-text citation template and example:

Use the author surname in in-text citations.

Citation in prose:

If you are citing a direct quote, include the page number in the in-text citation if applicable, i.e., (Winner 4).

Works cited list entry template and example:

The name of the database is italicized.

Author Surname, First Name. “Title of the Article.” Journal Title, Volume, Issue, Page Numbers. Name of the Online Database, URL.

Winner, Langdon. “Do Artifacts Have Politics?” Daedalus, vol. 109, no. 1, 1980, pp. 121–136. JSTOR,

You need not include the full URL when citing a database that requires a subscription in MLA, as the URL will not be accessible to readers who have not subscribed to the database. It is sufficient to include only the homepage URL of the subscription database when citing it in MLA style.

Using citations, you avoid punishment or scolding for some numbers, ideas, etc., you simply refer the reader to the author of the materials used. Besides, citations are beneficial for those who want to know more about the data you use.

Either you do your scientific research work at school or college or write an article to the reputable journal, and you need to reference sources of your information. To simplify this hard work, Word 2016 provides you automatic tools for inserting citations.

To insert a citation by adding a new source, do the following:

1. Place the cursor where you want to insert the citation.

2. On the References tab, in the Citations & Bibliography group, click the Insert Citation button:

3. In the Create Source list, select Add New Source. :

How to cite a database

4. In the Create Source dialog box, in the Type of Source list, select the type of source. The dialog box fields will vary depending on the source selected.

How to cite a database

5. Enter the source information in the fields. To display all fields for bibliography information, turn on the option Show All Bibliography Fields:

How to cite a database

Complete as many fields as possible to ensure that you have adequate information for both the citation(s) and the bibliography (How to create a bibliography, see Create a bibliography).

6. Click OK. A source reference enclosed in parentheses is inserted at the location of the insertion point.

If the source information is not readily available, you can create a placeholder and insert the source information at a later time. To insert a placeholder for a citation, click the Insert Citation button and select Add New Placeholder. :

How to cite a database

Word automatically provides the name Placeholder1, you can change it if desired.

To edit source, click in the source field and then click to the down arrow:

How to cite a database

See also this tip in French: Comment créer une citation.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to ask OfficeToolTips team.

How to cite a database

Create a bibliography

How to cite a database

How to create a multi-source citation

How to cite a database

Change the type of brackets in citations

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Business databases and data can be challenging to cite, as they don't follow the same standardized format as books and articles. This page lists my best suggestions for how to cite business databases in APA format 7th edition.

General Principles of Business Database Citations

Below are the general guidelines I used when creating the citation examples.


When a publication or work is attributed to a specific person, use the person's name over the name of the organization, company, or database. (see IbisWorld as an example)

When a publication month and date are available, I listed these in the citation. This is because business databases will often revise reports regularly.

If the source does have a date, I have used (n.d.) to indicate "no date." These citations should have a "Retrieved" date.


Provide as much information about the title as possible. When in doubt, provide more information rather than less. Note that this can make for some fairly awkward looking citations, especially with business databases.

Bracketed Descriptions

In many of the examples below, I have used [Bracketed descriptions] to better describe the format of the source. This is because sources from proprietary business databases are not books or articles and fall well outside the typical peer-reviewed academic literature works. The bracketed description can help describe the format of the source to the reader who is unfamiliar with the type of source.

Database Name

In general, APA 7th Edition discourages the database name in the citation for articles, books, and other sources that can be easily found from a library catalog, publisher website, etc. However, because business databases contain original proprietary information that generally cannot be found outside of the specific database, I chose to list the database name in the source citation. The database name should be italicized.

If no specific person(s) is listed as an author of the source, and the database is listed as the author, I did not list the database name again in the citation to avoid redundancy.

For the source URLs, I linked to the database location within my Business Guides. I chose this as the citation because most of the users of this citation guide will be students within our university community who are submitting papers and projects for course work. To facilitate finding the source by other students or faculty members within our university community, I suggest using the link where they can log in to the databases with their Ohio University credentials.

For faculty citing a source in an external publication, I suggest using the vendor website, rather than the link the Oho University database record.

This article will show you how to write APA database citation. Actually, the format for citing database information is the same as the usual way of citing a particular reference (e.g. journals, magazines, newspapers). You will know more about this in the next part of the article. For now, take a look first at the guide in citing the authors.

Table of Content

Citing the Author

One Author

In-text citation Reference list
Last name

Multiple Authors

Note: In listing the authors, follow the same order as it is written in the source.

Two to Seven Authors
In-text citation Reference list
Last Name A & Last name B

*Use ampersand (&) instead of “and.”

Sanchez, T., & Ku, R.

More than Seven Authors
In-text citation Reference list
Last name A et al.

Hirtle, B., Kluger, M. T., Smith, C. L., Hammond, E., Gibson, M., Nixon, L. R.,… Washington, R. C.

Corporate Author

In-text citation Reference list
Name of the organization or group

No Author

In-text citation Reference list
Title of the article or work

“Music and Society”

Music and Society

This part covers everything you need to know about in-text citation and reference list for databases. You will find here the elements, guidelines, formats and specific examples that will certainly help you in citing databases the APA style.

How to cite a database

To cite a database in a reference entry in AMA style 10th edition include the following elements:

  1. Author(s) of database: If a database doesn't have one specific author, just start with the title.
  2. Title of database: Do not italicize the database title.
  3. Place of publication: Give the name of the city in which the publishing entity was located at the time of publication.
  4. Publisher: Abbreviate the publisher's name.
  5. Year of publication: Give the year of publication.
  6. URL: Give the URL including all its elements (https://www, .com).
  7. Date of update: Add the date the site was updated or modified if available.
  8. Date of access: Give the month day, and year of retrieval preceded by the word 'accessed' (Accessed June 1, 2004.).

Here is the basic format for a reference list entry of a database in AMA style 10th edition:

Author(s) of database . Title of database . Place of publication : Publisher ; Year of publication . URL . Updated Date of update . Accessed Date of access .

Take a look at our reference list examples that demonstrate the AMA style guidelines in action:

Database without an author

Database without an author

This citation style guide is based on the AMA Manual of Style (11 th edition).

How to cite a database

Citation databases compile the citations in the reference lists (bibliographies) of scholarly publications. Citation database records also include bibliographic content that identify a publication: article title, journal name, author, abstract, etc.

Why use a citation database?

Citation databases enable you to find newer papers that reference a paper or author you already know about. You might want to do this in order to:

  • find more papers on a topic
  • trace how an idea has been confirmed, applied, extended or corrected in later publications
  • see which other researchers are citing your work or the work of your labmates
  • find citation numbers and metrics to report on job or grant applications, evaluations, etc.

Three major databases allow interdisciplinary citation searching: Web of Science (WoS), Scopus, and Google Scholar.

Some other databases, such as SciFinder Scholar (chemistry), PsycInfo and PubMed, allow citation searching of smaller sets of journals and/or journals focused on specific disciplines.

This tutorial focuses on the Web of Science database because of its coverage and because it provides the Journal Impact Factor.

  • WoS provides complete citation data back to 1900, making it the most accurate for identifying core or classic articles published before 1996.
  • The Journal Impact Factor has been used as a benchmark in the biomedical sciences for several decades. Although research benchmarks are evolving, It is likely that most research scientists will be asked at some point to report the Journal Impact Factor of the journals in which they publish.

Review the other pages in this module if you would like to compare the features of Web of Science, Scopus and Google Scholar.

The concepts taught about citation searching and analysis in this tutorial are applicable to all citation databases. However, since the databases vary in what they cover, search features and citation analysis tools, the best database to choose depends on your personal preferences and your needs.