Still using books when researching an essay? You might as well be living in the Stone Age. All of the cool kids* are using the internet these days! But even in this glorious digital future, you still need to reference sources correctly. As such, here’s our guide to citing a website with MHRA referencing.
MHRA cites sources in footnotes. With a website, the first footnote should include the following:
n. Author Name, Page Title (Year Published/Last Updated) <URL> [Accessed Date].
In practice, then, the first footnote for a webpage would look like this:
1. Ken Ward, The Normans (2006) <http://www.oldcity.org.uk/norwich/history/history04.php> [Accessed 2 October 2017].
For repeat citations, you can use a shortened format to prevent repetition. For a website, this will usually be the author surname plus the title of the webpage.
The bibliography format for a website in MHRA is similar to the first footnote. The main differences are the order in which the author’s names are given and the lack of a full stop, as shown below:
Surname, First Name, Page Title (Year Published/Last Updated) <URL> [Accessed Date]
The site cited in the example above, for instance, would be listed like this:
Ward, Ken, The Normans (2006) <http://www.oldcity.org.uk/norwich/history/history04.php> [Accessed 2 October 2017]
It won’t always be easy to find the relevant information when citing a website. However, you can still cite a source with missing information as long as this is clearly indicated. The most common items of missing information on websites are the author’s name and date of publication:
Author Name: If the site does not name an author, cite the publishing organisation instead.
Date: If no date of publication or last update is available, use ‘n.d.’ (short for ‘no date’).
This applies both in footnotes and in the bibliography. Remember to check carefully, though, as most websites will include these details somewhere on the page (even if they’re hard to spot).
* Individuals in question may not actually be either ‘cool’ or ‘kids’.
MHRA Referencing Style Guide
This is a quick guide to the Modern Humanities Research Association reference style (3rd edn) using footnotes.
For specific formatting examples, see MHRA Style: Common Examples.
When you refer to another person’s ideas or information you must acknowledge the source using a superscript number (above the line) placed after a direct quote or paraphrase. This refers readers to the corresponding footnote at the bottom of the page, or endnote at the end of your assignment. You must also list the sources in alphabetical order (by surname of the author) in a reference list or bibliography at the end of your assignment.
An example of footnotes and a bibliography is shown below:
- The information required is who-what-where-when:
Author name, Title of Whole Work in italics (Place of publication: Publisher, year published), p. xx
- For titles in English, capitalise the first word, all principle words and the first word following a colon
- For titles in other languages, follow the capitalisation rules of the language in question. See the full version of the MHRA Style Guide for more detail
- Book and journal titles are italicised
- Article and chapter titles appear in quotation marks as do titles of operas, songs, poems, stories, etc.
- For place of publication use (City: Publisher, date). Use 2 letter abbreviations for American states (e.g. Cambridge, MA) only if a city of the same name exists elsewhere
- Omit Press, Ltd and Co from publisher details where the publisher name is that of its founder
- If no author is stated, use the title in place of author name (e.g. for newspaper articles)
- If no publication details are available, use:
[n.p.] for no place of publication, [n.pub.] for no publisher, [n.d.] for no date.
- Primary sources and Secondary sources are usually listed separately in the bibliography
- Author names appear in spoken word order, i.e. as firstname lastname (Rowland Weston)
- Encyclopedia and dictionary entry headwords appear in quotation marks, e.g. “sonata”
- Use p. if the information comes from a single page, pp. if it spans two or more pages e.g. pp. 2–6
Format of footnotes
- Font size 10pt
- Indent second and subsequent lines
Stafford, Jane and Mark Williams, Maoriland: New Zealand Literature 1872-1914 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2006)
In a first footnote
- The first name or initial of the author/editor is followed by the surname
- Use whichever form of the name appears on the title page of the work
- All notes end with a full stop, except when the note ends with a square bracket
In further footnotes from the same source (second and subsequent)
- note only the author’s surname (volume if applicable) and page numbers e.g. Te Awekotuku, p.55
Reference List or Bibliography
In the reference list or bibliography at the end of the work:
- Works are listed in alphabetical order by surname
- The first author name appears as lastname, firstname and subsequent names are firstname lastname e.g.Stafford, Jane and Mark Williams
- List multiple works by the same author in title rather than date order (excluding A, An, The). Give the name of the author in the first citation only, in later citations replace the author’s name with a long dash (a 2-em dash) e.g.
Shieff, Sarah, Letters of Frank Sargeson, (Auckland: Vintage, 2012)
____ , Speaking Frankly: The Frank Sargeson Memorial Lectures (Auckland: Cape Catley, 2011)
- To create a 2-em dash in MS Word: use the [Alt] [Ctrl] [minus on number pad] keys simultaneously
- Indent the second and subsequent lines if a source goes over one line
- Give the page range for journal articles and chapters in edited books
- There is no full stop at the end of the entry
- Font size same as that in the main text