The Chaucer Pedagogy Page
Online Assistance
for Teachers and Students
of Chaucer and the Later Middle Ages
Daniel T. Kline | U. of Alaska Anchorage  
Chaucer Pedagogy | Electronic Canterbury Tales
A Documentation Primer
The Purpose of Documentation
The Three Main Uses of a Source
Parenthetical (In-Text) Documentation
The MLA Style
The APA Style
Evaluating WWW and Electronic Sources
Documenting WWW and Electronic Sources
WWW Pages in the MLA Style
WWW Pages in the APA Style
Documentation Rules of Thumb
why it's important to document your sources
quotation, paraphrase, & summary
easier than footnotes
the modern language association format
the american psychological association format
how to tell a good www site from a poor one
electronic sources require extra care
the mla style for www pages
the apa style for www pages
do! don't! remember!

Andrew Harnack and Eugene Kleppinger's Online! A Reference Guide to Using Internet Resources. 2nd ed. (St. Martin's, 1998) contains detailed examples for documenting electronic sources in all the major styles: MLA, APA, CMS, CBEA great source.

newrite.gif (927 bytes) From Diane Hacker and St. Martin's Press:
Research and Documentation Online, an excellent online guide to research and documentation in the Humanities (MLA style), the Social Sciences (APA style), History (CMS style), and the Natural Sciences (CBE style). Another top-notch source.

Purpose of Documentation
  • Good documentation establishes your credibility to your readers (by showing them your intellectual debts) and to your sources (by giving them proper credit).

  • You must document each and every source you use even if you restate it in your own words and even when you borrow not only content from a source but also even phrasing.

The Three Main Uses of a Source
  1. Quotation: To copy a source's exact words. Use sparingly for emphasis when you cannot improve upon or adapt the source using your own language.
  2. Paraphrase: To restate a source's main points and supporting detail in your own words. A paraphrase will be about the same length as the original.
  3. Summary: To restate only the main point(s) of a source in your own words. A good summary, which gets to the heart of the idea or source, will be much shorter than the original.
  • It is very important that you do not blend summary and paraphrase with direct quotation. Consistently use your own words for paraphrases and summaries; as a rule of thumb, if you state more than three (3) consecutive words from a source, you're quoting the source.
Parenthetical (In-Text) Documentation
  • Parenthetical In-text Documentation Systems consist of two basic parts: (1) the brief parenthetical note in the body of your paper, which points to (2) a longer bibliographical entry at the end of your paper
MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

A bibliographical citation to a book in the MLA style, listed on the "Works Cited" page, consists of three basic components, in this order:

  1. The "Author" Block.
    Reverse the first and last name of the first author only, Last name, First.
    Cite the name given on the title page. Depending on the source, there may be multiple authors, a corporate author, or no author listed.
    When no author is given, use the title as the author.
  2. The "Title" Block.
    List the title of the work and the subtitle in the following format, Title: Subtitle.
    Use an underline for longer works (like books and plays); use quotation marks for shorter works like articles and poems.
  3. The "Publication Data" Block.
    For books, list the information in this order, City: Publisher, Year.
    For quarterly journals: Title vol.# (Year): pages. Ex: Chaucer Review 1 (1967): 1-7.
    For weekly newspapers and magazines: Title (Date): pages. Ex. New York Times (Dec. 25, 1997): A1.
  4. Indent the second and subsequent lines five (5) characters with a "hanging indent" (or as I like to call them, "undents").
  5. Example:

    Nirenberg, David. Communities of Violence: Persecution of Minorities in the Middle
         Ages. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1996.

APA (American Psychological Association) Style
A bibliographical citation to a book in the APA style, listed on the "References" page, 
consists of four basic components, in this order:
  1. The "Author" Block.
    Reverse the first and last name of the first author only, Last Name, First Initial.
    No matter how the name is given on the title page, cite only the initials.
    Depending on the source, there may be multiple authors, a corporate author, or no author listed. When no author is given, use the title as the author.

  2. The "Date of Publication" Block.
    Cite the date of publication in parenthesis: Use the year for books (1996) and the date, year for periodicals (1996, May 4).

  3. The "Title" Block.
    List the title of the work and the subtitle in the following format, Title: Subtitle.
    Use an underline for longer works (like books and plays), but do not use quotation marks for shorter works in the APA style.
    Capitalize only the first words of the title and subtitles and proper nouns.

  4. The "Publication Data" Block.
    For books, list the information in this order, City: Publisher.
    For quarterly journals:  Title, volume, pages.  Ex. Chaucer Review,1,1-7.
    For weekly magazines and newspapers:   Title, pages. Ex. New York Times, p. A1.

  5. Indent the first line five (5) characters while the second and subsequent lines go the margin.

  6. Example:

    Nirenberg, D. (1996). Communities of violence: Persecution of minorities in the Middle
        Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Documenting Electronic Sources
The World-Wide Web (WWW) and other Internet resources offer the student researcher a wonderful variety of materials to investigate, but like any other source, print or electronic, WWW materials must be (1) evaluated before they are incorporated into a research project and (2) properly documented when they are included.
Documenting Electronic Sources: 
The Four Major Styles
Although no single standard format has been accepted for the documentation of electronic sources, the following models have gained some attention. The best guide for composition students, in my opinion, is Andrew Harnack and Eugene Kleppinger's Online! A Reference Guide to Using Internet Resources. 2nd ed. (St. Martin's Press, 1998). This book is well worth purchasing, and the links immediately below are from the very helpful Online! web site.
Each Link to Online! Below Offers Sound Examples for Each of the Following Electronic Forms of Information WWW Site Web Forum Msg Newsgroup Msg Telnet Site Gopher Site
Email Msg Listserv Msg MOOs, MUDs, IRCs FTP Site Linkage Data
MLA Online's "Using MLA Style to Cite and Document Sources"
APA Online's "Using APA Style to Cite and Document Sources"
CMS Online's "Using Chicago Style to Cite and Document Sources"
CBE Online's "Using CBE Style to Cite and Document Sources"

Documenting Websites in the MLA Style

1.  To document WWW sites in the MLA Style, provide the following information in the Works Cited page:
  • author's (or compiler's) name, if known
  • title of web page, in quotation marks
  • title of web site (of which the web page is a sub unit), underlined
  • date of publication or last revision (usually found at the bottom of the web page)
  • date of access (the date you looked up the information)
  • URL, in angle brackets

2.  Example:

Kline, Daniel T. "A Documentation Primer."  The Chaucer Pedagogy Page.  1 Mar.1999.
      3 Mar. 1999. <http://cwolf.uaa.alaska.edu/ ~afdtk/docprimer.htm>.

 

Documenting Websites in the APA Style

1.  To document WWW sites in the APA Style, provide the following information in the References page:
  • author's (or compiler's) name, if known (last name and initials only)
  • date of publication or last revision (if known, but usually at the bottom of the web page), in parentheses
  • title of web page (no quotation marks for the APA style)
  • title of web site (of which the web page is a sub unit), underlined
  • date of publication or last revision (usually found at the bottom of the web page)
  • URL, in angle brackets
  • date of access (when you looked up the information), in parentheses

2.  Example:

Kline, D. T. (1 Mar. 1999).  A documentation primer.  The Chaucer Pedagogy Page
      <http://cwolf.uaa.alaska.edu/~afdtk/docprimer.htm> (2 Oct. 2006).

 

Chaucer Pedagogy  | Electronic Canterbury Tales

 Copyright 1998-2007 Daniel T. Kline & The Kankedort Page All rights reserved. 

This page was last revised on 12.25.06.