What to refer to?


I received a question at the information point yesterday about how to refer to web pages. When I asked further about what web pages was the student thinking of I found out it had to do with pdfs. Then I asked even more and found out now that the pdfs were journal articles which the student had found using one of our databases. If one asks there are more wondering about thisl

Journal articles are refered to as articles no matter where you find them – on a web page or a print journal. It is the sources that is the important part – not the form. The same goes when you search in a database or use our search engines. It is not the database och the search engine which is your source. More about that can be found in the blog post Google is not your source!

In order to illustrate this further I give you two examples here:

Take a look at  Information research.It is a (scholarly) journal (stating that even on the page) published only online. Now, take a look at this article Continuum thinking and the contexts of personal information management. It looks like a web pages but it is an article published in a journal and is refered to as an article.Your source is the article published in a online journal which looks like a web page. Reference looks like this:

Huvila, I., Eriksen, J., Häusner, E. & Jansson, I. (2014). Continuum thinking and the contexts of personal information management. Information Research, 19(1) paper 604. [Available at http://InformationR.net/ir/19-1/paper604.html]

Articles which you download from a database are often in pdf-format. When you open the file you most often will find bibliografic information (journal name, volume, issue, DOI) either on the page header or footer. Use this information to write the reference. URL to the pdf is not interesting – it varies depending on if you are here at the library or if your are at home or if you have gotten hold of it through some other library.

Now, lets speculate that you are writing about H&M and their understanding of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, CSR. Find more about it here. When looking at that page you see that it is also a web page like the page Information Research has – only with a better looking design. Here the web page is your source. Maybe you want to write about how H&M uses water and you use the page for Water as your source. Reference looks something like this:

H&M. (2014). Water. http://about.hm.com/en/About/Sustainability/Commitments/Use-Resources-Responsibly/Water.html [2014-03-27]

H&M is the author since we cannot find someone who would have authored this page. Water is the title of the page – look at the tab for the name of the page. Then comes the URL and last in brackets the access date. The date is important since web pages are not static. If you compare with the reference above you notice that there is no access date in the reference. THis is because the contents of the article is not changed after publication. Articles are static web pages with the exception of daily newspapers. If you use a daily newspaper online as a source you need to write down the access date.

When you have questions about references come to the information point. We are there to help! Remember – cite your sources!

Pieta Eklund