Center for Technology Enhanced Learning

Citing e-resources

The question of citing e-resources can be confusing because page numbers on those resources that are not pdf "scans" of actual paper resources vary according to device used, font and type-size selection and even orientation. A quick google search yields with many offerings, including APA and MLA standards.

Listed below are academic sites found in a quick search, but the gist seems to be that without page numbers, one should list the work, author, version of text, and the chapter and paragraph number of the referred text.

One should note that most etexts (of paper-published texts) being published now include "equivalencies" for what page the cited text would be found on in the paper edition. This is true for newer Kindle books as well.

Valencia College MLA Style for Electronic Sources

Valencia College APA Style for Electronic Resources

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)



(MLA 7th ed.) How do I cite an e-book on a device like a Kindle, Nook, or iPad?

(extracted 1/26/12)

MLA 5.7.18 defines digital files as neither on the web or a published CD-ROM.  Digital files include a PDF on your computer, a word processed document created by a peer, a scanned image you received via e-mail, or "a sound recording formatted for playing on a digital audio player.” 


MLA recommends citing a book on a digital device using the guidelines for citing a book but replacing the format type (Print) with the name of the digital file format, followed by the word "file.”  For the “Digital file type” field on the form, enter a file format such as "PDF file", "EPUB file" (a non-proprietary file format used by Kobo, Nook, Sony and others) or "Plain text file."  If an e-Book reader uses a proprietary format (e.g., Kindle), you may use the name of the file type ("AZW file") or, if this is not visible to you, the name of the device ("Kindle file").

Procedure: To cite an e-book on a digital device, select "Book" as the citation type, then choose:

"Digital File: A file independent from the Web or a published disc (e.g., a PDF or Word file on your computer)" as the publication medium.
If page numbers do not remain constant when you enlarge the text or if page numbers are device-specific, answer "No" to "Does the source have page numbers?"
Example:
Slawenski, Kenneth. J.D. Salinger: A Life. New York: Random, 2011. N. pag. EPUB file.

Parenthetical Reference:
Do not use location numbers in the parenthetical reference as they vary when the e-book is on different devices and may change when you enlarge the text.N. page will appear in your citation (MLA 5.7.18). To create a parenthetical reference for a source with inconsistent pagination, follow our advice in Rule 5 for in-text references.  You may be able to use chapter, section, and paragraph numbers, chapter titles and subtitles, or acts and scenes in-text.  E-book readers are beginning to employ consistent pagination.  For example, some Kindle books will include page numbers that match the print edition.  They are displayed next to locations when you push the Menu button.



(APA 6th ed.) How do I cite an e-book on a device like a Kindle, Nook, or iPad?

(extracted 1/26/12)

To cite an electronic version of a print book on an e-book reader (APA 7.02), choose "Book" as the citation type, then select:

Electronic Media: Book on CD-ROM, downloaded e-book (e.g., Kindle e-book), or other file independent from the Web
Cite either the whole book or an entire chapter, introduction, preface, etc. if you are citing part of a book, supply only real page numbers, not device-specific or variable page numbers.
In the field "Description of the medium" enter the type of e-book version you are using followed by the word "version." Examples include: "Kindle DX version," "Adobe Digital Editions version," "Microsoft Reader version," "Nook eReader version," "Mobipocket version" or "Android version." 

You may also use this form to cite a digital book on a CD-ROM.

Examples:
Roach, M. (2010). Packing for Mars: The curious science of life in the void [Adobe Digital Editions version]. Retrieved from http://www.kobobooks.com

Note:
If the URL is long, you may use the home page as we've done here.
If a DOI is given, use it in place of the retrieval statement.
Parenthetical Reference:

Some Kindle books will include page numbers that match print.  They are displayed next to locations when you push the Menu button.  If page numbers do not remain constant when you enlarge the text or if page numbers are device-specific, do not use them.  Follow the instructions in Rule 9 for using alternate numbering systems like sections (sec.), chapters (chap.), books, figures, tables, parts, verses, lines, acts, or scenes (APA 6.05).



For more information, see USM's Library Resource: Writing and Citing