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Write a reference entry for a web page

posted Oct 11, 2012, 4:18 PM by Peter Knowles
If you use the Internet in your research, you will need to create references for many different web pages. Because each different page really is different, it's hard to be sure that all the pieces will be where you want them. But the instructions below should help you find most of the information you need, and will help you put them in the proper order. 

Here are the parts you'll find on an ideal web page:
 Item Notes
AuthorMany web pages don't tell you who wrote them, but you should make a decent effort to find the author's name. It will make your job easier later on, so do your best to find an author's name. 
Web page title This should appear either at or near the top of the page, near the information you've found, or on a tab at the very top of your computer screen. If they are different, choose one of them. 
Web site titleThis could be the same as the last item, but it's probably different. Think of it like a magazine title like Time, Rolling Stone, or Newsweek (as opposed to the name of an article inside a magazine). If it's not obvious what the name of the site is, try going to the domain's home page (the .com, .org, .net, or other dot-ending) to see what it might be. 
Date of last updateThis is another item that can be hard to find. Look for a copyright, (c), symbol with a year nearby. Sometimes you can't find the date or month, but you can find the year. Get as much as you can, but take what you can get.  
The word "Web"This is where the URL used to appear, but that element is no longer required by MLA. Your teacher may want that information and tell you to include it, and you can certainly make use of it as you do your research, but you generally don't include the http://www.... part here. Instead, a single word tells someone where you found the information and where they should go to find it too: Web.
Date that you were thereUse the most recent date that you worked with the material. This item tells someone else that, as of that date, the web page was there and it contained what you've used for research. 

With an author and date:
Smith, John. "Cleopatra and the Nile." Ancient Rulers of Egypt. 21 August 2009. Web. 10 October, 2012.
With no author or date:
"Cleopatra and the Nile." Ancient Rulers of Egypt. Web. 10 October, 2012.