Web Extension to American Psychological Association Style (WEAPAS)
Proposed standard for referencing online documents in scientific publications
Land, T. [a.k.a Beads] (1998, October 15).
Web Extension to American Psychological Association Style
(WEAPAS) (Rev. 1.6)
[WWW document]. URL http://www.beadsland.com/weapas/
This document proposes an extension of Appendix 3-A
(APA, 1994, pp. 189-222), integrating the Internet standard of
Uniform Resource Locators (URL) (Graham, 1995),
as used on the
World Wide Web (WWW, or Web)
(W3C, 1995). The extension proposed here is an alternative to the "path
statements" suggested for online sources
(APA, 1994, p. 218-220, 1998; see also Dewey, 1996).
As an alternative to the approach taken here, readers may wish to consult Li & Crane's
(1996a, b; Scribe SA, 1998) "American Psychological Association
Embellished Style." Li & Crane also discuss "Modern Language Association (MLA)
Embellished Style." Those wishing to use citations tailored to the MLA school may also wish
to consult Walker (1995) and Wainwright (1995).
The more generic guide provided by Quinion (1996) offers still another
approach, while Ivey (1996) can be read as a review of the points each
of these approaches speak to, and
Duesterhoeft (1998) provides general guidelines and numerous example references based on Li & Crane, among others.
There is also
a summary of ideas for citing electronic texts (e-texts) by Tent (1995),
and a short page discussing URLs in biomedical texts by Beckleheimer (1994),
available for those who are interested. Also, a very extensive German language text
on the same question is available from Bleuel (1995).
This is an evolving standard. This document should
be considered under construction. Comments and suggestions are encouraged, and should be
sent by electronic mail (e-mail) to the author via
Elements of References in WEAPAS Style
World Wide Web documents described as "maintained" should refer to the author with the
Maintainer (abbr Maint.), although the more generic
Ed. (i.e. Editor) may also be used.
Two special cases of author identifiers are considered under the Web Extension: e-mail addresses
Electronic Mail Address as Author
- First, all links which might name an author for a document
(e.g. an anchor on the e-mail
address itself, a "Return to Home" or "About the Author" link) should be exhausted before resorting
to using an e-mail address.
- If the Web page only lists or links to an author's e-mail address,
other information is available
to suggest the author of the page, the e-mail address should fill the author position of the
- Generic aliases (e.g. webmaster, maintainer) are an exception. In these cases, treat
the organization which the documents represent (usu., but not always, the organization
running the server on which they are found) as a group or corporate author. This organization
will likely be found also in the ADDRESS field in proximity to the eMail address.
- Newsgroup postings and other documents which are only identifable by an e-mail addresses
should also use the e-mail address as author.
- No capitalization or other changes in case should be made to e-mail addresses in the author
- When citing references with e-mail addresses for authors, write out the full e-mail address
as if it were a surname.
Nickname or Handle as Author
Because some types of online documents may be updated or modified by their authors' at any time,
references to these documents should date the document version used with as much specificity as
possible, with the following guidelines:
- As with e-mail addresses, all potential links to pages in which a real name might be found
should be exhausted before using a nickname as author.
- If an author is commonly known by a handle, while their real name is also known, the handle
may be included in brackets immediately following the real name in the author position. In such
cases, the abbreviation "
a.k.a." (for 'Also Known As') should be used to identify
the nickname as such.
- The first letter of a handle should be capitalized. Unless the handle tends to be recognized
by the use of non-standard case schemes (e.g. eNiGmA, mrEd), which
should be preserved to aid in identification (i.e. the first letter should maintain its
- If a nickname is given as author, because the real name can not be determined, but an e-mail
address for the individual is also known, the e-mail address should be included in brackets
immediately following the nickname.
- References to articles in monthly serials, which will not be modified once distributed,
need only list the year and month of publication. If the periodical is a recognized journal,
with volume and issue numbers, only the year should be listed.
- Articles in newsgroups should be referenced not only by date, but by time, to distinguish
them from other articles in the same thread by the same author. The format for such time references
should be of the form
"(Year, Month Date,
where GMT stands for Greenwich Mean Time, and Hour is on a 24 hour clock.
- Online documents which provide no information as to the date they were created or last
modified, should be treated as republished versions of works with no date of initial publication
(APA, 1994, p. 173), such that the reference would be of the form.
n.d./Year)" where Year is the year the document was retrieved.
- When referencing documents which are likely to change unpredictably over time (e.g.
many Web pages) the year may be followed by the month and day (if available).
In earlier revisions of this update, it was recommended that the word "version" should be
appended to the dates of Web pages. This has been deemed redundant however, and so has been
dropped from the current proposal.
Optionally, one may choose to list the date a document was downloaded or viewed online, should
there be a concern that the document might expire in the forseeable future. Such dates come at
the end of the reference, parenthesized in the form "(visited Year, Month
Generally the title of an online document should be immediately recognizable. There are some
variations to watch out for however.
There are many different types of documents and services available on the Internet. The nature
of a given document should be given in brackets immediately following the title.
Subject: line of a newsgroup article should be treated as its title.
Although the prefix "
Re:" or its cognate, a series of one or more closing angle
>"), should be dropped. Messages lacking a subject or marked
explicitly as "
No subject" or similarly tagged, should be treated as untitled works.
- Gopher menus (as opposed to discrete files retrieved by a gopher server) do not have
titles, only description(s) of content, which may be provided by external pointers to the menu.
It is recommended that such a description be included in brackets in the title position, otherwise
the gopher menu should be treated as an untitled work.
- The title of a HTML Web document should be taken from the
element of that page. If the client used to view this page does not automatically display
the contents of the
<TITLE> element, it must be found by looking at the
source file. Should the title given in header (e.g.
<H1>) elements vary
substantially from the that in the
<TITLE> element, it may be listed also,
<TITLE> part, and separated by a semicolon.
Note that postings to mailing lists (e.g. Listserv, MajorDomo) are not included here.
As these documents are not publicly retrievable at a later date,
and are seen only by those individuals who are subscribed to the list at the time the message
was sent, they should be treated as personal communications.
- An online database other than WAIS.
- Digitized image
- Graphics file in .gif, .jpg, or some other format.
- Digitized sound file
- Recorded or sythesized audio file.
- Digitized vide file
- Film, movie, or animation as an electronic data file.
- Electronic data file
- Something for which these other descriptors is not entirely appropriate.
- FTP archive
- Subdirectory within an FTP accessed file system.
- Gopher menu
- Location in gopher space other than a terminal document node.
- On-line news posting
- Article in a Usenet or local newsgroup
- On-line search query
- A database query or similar service accessed by gopher, or via the Web using the GET method.
- On-line serial
- Periodical distributed by eMail or in another form.
- On-line service
- Service other than a database, accessible via telnet or other protocols.
- PostScript file
- File containing instructions for rendering a document on a PostScript printer or other device.
- Text file
- File containing text which may be read without a special program.
- WAIS database
- Publicly accessible WAIS.
- WAIS query
- Results of a search of a WAIS database.
- WWW document
- An HTML document which must be viewed using a World Wide Web client.
The Web Extension employs URLs in the publication element of references, under the following
Unfortunately, I have not yet had the free hours to sit down and write up the extensive examples
I had planned. Please be patient. In the meantime, the format of the
References, below, should be a good jumping off point.
- Each unique Uniform Resource Locator should be prefaced with the keyword "URL" followed
by a space.
- A URL should not end with a period or other punctuation.
- If a URL should run longer than the space available on a line, it may be broken at a
/") character, keeping the slash as the last
character on the line, in the
same way as a dash ("
-") is used to divide hyphenated words.
- When the retrieval of a document involves the sending of e-mail, the
URL should be followed by any information required in the mail for retrieval. This information
shall be prefixed by either the keyword
Message: (if it is to be included in the
body of the mail) or the keyword
Subject: (if it is meant to appear on the subject
header line). A space should delimiter both sides of the keyword, but no other punctuation (other
than the colon in the keyword) should be used.
- For documents which have alternative methods of online retrieval, the URL for each retrieval
method should be listed, with URLs delimited by a single space and no other punctuation.
American Psychological Association (APA) (1994). Publication manual
of the American Psychological Association (4th ed.). Washington, D. C.: Author.
American Psychological Association (APA) (n.d/1998)
How to Cite Information From the Internet and the World Wide
Web [WWWdocument]. URL http://www.apa.org/journals/webref.html
Beckleheimer, J. (1994). How do you cite URL's in a bibliography?
[WWW document]. URL
Bleuel, J. (1995, November 8). Zitieren von Internetquellen
["Citing sources on the internet"] [WWW document]. URL
Dewey, R. (n.d./1998). APA Style Resources
Psych Web [WWW document]. URL
Duesterhoeft, D. (1995, August 3). Documenting Electronic Sources: APA Style [American Psychological Association]
[WWW document]. St. Mary's Univeristy, Academic Library and Learning Assistance Center.
Graham, I. (1995, December 4). Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)
[WWW document]. URL http://www.utoronto.ca/webdocs/HTMLdocs/NewHTML/url.html
Ivey, K.C. (1996, September 2). Citing internet sources
[WWW document]. URL
http://www.eei-alex.com/eye/utw/96aug.html. Also in The Editorial Eye,
19(8), 10-11. Alexandria: EEI.
Li, X., and Crane, N. (1996a, May 20) Bibliographic formats for citing
electronic information [WWW document]. URL
Li, X., and Crane, N. (1996b) Electronic styles: A Handbook for citing
electronic information. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc.
Quinion, M. (1996, March 10). Citing online sources.
World Wide Words: Michael Quinion on aspects of English
[WWW document]. URL
Scribe SA (1998, August 21).
Scribe APA Style Reference Builder
[Computer program/Windows]. URL
Tent, J. (1995, February 13). Citing e-texts summary.
Linguist List, 6(210) [Online serial].
Wainwright, M. (n.d./1995). Citation style for internet sources
[WWW document]. URL
Walker, J. R. (1995, April). Walker/ACW style sheet;
MLA-style citations of electronic sources [WWW document].
World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) (1995, May 15). About the World
Wide Web [WWW document]. URL
Please send comments and suggestions to
This page was last modified 15 October 1998.