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American History & Studies

This guide provides resources for courses and programs in American History and American Studies

Citing Sources Found on the Web

Citing Web Sites

It is important to provide complete information about your primary or secondary source whether found in a printed source or online. The basic elements to include in a citation for a published print source are: author of the document, title of the document, title of the book if different from the document, name of editor or author of the book, place of publication, publisher, year, and page numbers. The basic elements to include in a citation for an online source are: author of the document, title of the document, title of the web site, author or producer of the web site, url, date (if given) and date accessed. Various style formats such as Chicago, MLA and APA put these elements in different order using different conventions. See the following web sites for further information and examples.

Evaluating Primary Sources on the Internet

Evaluating Primary Source Sites on the Internet

Using Primary Sources on the Web (from ALA/RUSA)

Evaluating Primary Sources (from American Memory)

How To Read a Primary Source > (from the University of Iowa)


Guidelines for Evaluating Historical Websites

Who: Who is the author or sponsor of the website? Is that person or organization named? Is any supporting documentation available?

What: What is the mission or purpose of the website? Is it clearly articulated? What kinds of materials are on the website? Are they properly cited and acknowledged? What is the document format on the web?

Where: Where is the site located? Is there a physical address with phone number and email address for a contact person? Does the site have a(n) .edu, .org, or .com address?

Why: Why does the site exist? Does it have a point of view or opinion? Is it pedagogical or polemic? Does it want something from you?

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