Reference Services of Princeton University Library


Citing Special Formats:

Electronic Publications and

Government Documents


Within the academic and research world, citation has as its twin goals attribution and credibility.  In many cases a general citation guide will serve in an entirely appropriate way to accomplish those aims.  Four that are often used on the Princeton campus are the Chicago Manual of Style, (15th ed. 2003), the MLA Handbook (6th ed. 2003), Turabian, (6th ed. 1996), and APA (5th ed. 2002).  In addition the special case of legal citation is thoroughly covered in the Blue Book Uniform System of Citation, (17th ed. 2000).  

However, two other cases are also special.  These are Electronic Publications and Government Documents.  At times these will benefit from being treated with the guidance of special style manuals, even when most references can be created by using one of the basic handbooks noted above. 

Electronic Citation Style
Electronic format can be a re-publication of something issued previously in paper format, or else is "Born Digital", that is, always and only existing in electronic form.  In either case, describing the electronic layer carefully, including information on third party and inhouse electronic distribution services, and dating when the item was Viewed are essential.  Guides to Electronic Citation which may be especially useful to accomplish these aims include those below.  Note that there are particular guides among them are designed to work with one of the general style manuals such as those noted above.  They will aid to more completely describe electronic content used to prepare and support research and scholarship.
 

  • Basic Electronic Style by Janice Walker from the Columbia Guide to Online Style 
  • Citing Cyberspace by James D. Lester for the Longman English Website. 
  • Citing Online Sources from the Linguist 
  • Comparison Citation Tables from Duke University Library 
  • The English Pages Citation Guide by Janice Walker for the Longman English Website 
  • Karla's Guide to Citation Manuals, electronic style based on MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, and other style manuals. 
  • Citation Style Guides for Internet and Electronic Sources from the University of Alberta 

  • Citing Government Documents 
    Government Documents sometimes called Public Documents present particular challenges in creating clear and unambigious references.  As Turabian states 

    The form used for citing public documents should make them readily accessible to anyone iwshing to locate them in standard indexes, information services, and libraries. (1996, p. 215)
    To accomplish this end, it is often best to explore the advice given by whatever general style manual is being used to create references.  There is considerable variation among those in terms of how exactly government documents can be described.  Turabian gives some 24 pages of patterns and examples, Chicago some 20 pages, while MLA and APA vary among types of documents being described.   There are, however, two problems in using just the main style manual for government documents.  

    The first is that the particular type of document may be not be well represented.  Most of these manuals focus on U.S. documents, with only slight coverage for state and provincial and for other countries - and very slight coverage to United Nations and other international documents.   But beyond that obvious concern, there is a more fundamental problem that the description is unlikely to be framed to give a solid foundation to identify and to find again that document.  For those reasons, it would be wise to consult the standard citation manual for government documents, and use that in conjunction with the main general style manual for the research.  

    This manual, sponsored by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association, is the Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources, ( 2d ed. 1993).  It is held in the Geology Library and in the Social Science Reference Center on A Floor of Firestone Library, at Z7164.G7 G37 1993.  (The 3rd Edition, 2003, is on order.)

    The Blue Book noted above also describes in exact detail a number of government documents, and can also be useful.  But the examples given in the Complete Guide are especially useful in a broad range of applications on the Princeton University campus, and work well with all the other general style manuals.



    Comments and suggestions on this topic are always welcome. 
    Last modified: April  20, 2004 by sbwhite@princeton.edu

    Reference Services of Princeton University Library


    Citing Special Formats:

    Electronic Publications and

    Government Documents


    Within the academic and research world, citation has as its twin goals attribution and credibility.  In many cases a general citation guide will serve in an entirely appropriate way to accomplish those aims.  Four that are often used on the Princeton campus are the Chicago Manual of Style, (15th ed. 2003), the MLA Handbook (6th ed. 2003), Turabian, (6th ed. 1996), and APA (5th ed. 2002).  In addition the special case of legal citation is thoroughly covered in the Blue Book Uniform System of Citation, (17th ed. 2000).

    However, two other cases are also special.  These are Electronic Publications and Government Documents.  At times these will benefit from being treated with the guidance of special style manuals, even when most references can be created by using one of the basic handbooks noted above.

    Electronic Citation Style
    Electronic format can be a re-publication of something issued previously in paper format, or else is "Born Digital", that is, always and only existing in electronic form.  In either case, describing the electronic layer carefully, including information on third party and inhouse electronic distribution services, and dating when the item was Viewed are essential.  Guides to Electronic Citation which may be especially useful to accomplish these aims include those below.  Note that there are particular guides among them are designed to work with one of the general style manuals such as those noted above.  They will aid to more completely describe electronic content used to prepare and support research and scholarship.
     

  • Basic Electronic Style by Janice Walker from the Columbia Guide to Online Style
  • Citing Cyberspace by James D. Lester for the Longman English Website.
  • Citing Online Sources from the Linguist
  • Comparison Citation Tables from Duke University Library
  • The English Pages Citation Guide by Janice Walker for the Longman English Website
  • Karla's Guide to Citation Manuals, electronic style based on MLA, APA, Chicago, Turabian, and other style manuals.
  • Citation Style Guides for Internet and Electronic Sources from the University of Alberta

  • Citing Government Documents
    Government Documents sometimes called Public Documents present particular challenges in creating clear and unambigious references.  As Turabian states

    The form used for citing public documents should make them readily accessible to anyone iwshing to locate them in standard indexes, information services, and libraries. (1996, p. 215)
    To accomplish this end, it is often best to explore the advice given by whatever general style manual is being used to create references.  There is considerable variation among those in terms of how exactly government documents can be described.  Turabian gives some 24 pages of patterns and examples, Chicago some 20 pages, while MLA and APA vary among types of documents being described.   There are, however, two problems in using just the main style manual for government documents.

    The first is that the particular type of document may be not be well represented.  Most of these manuals focus on U.S. documents, with only slight coverage for state and provincial and for other countries - and very slight coverage to United Nations and other international documents.   But beyond that obvious concern, there is a more fundamental problem that the description is unlikely to be framed to give a solid foundation to identify and to find again that document.  For those reasons, it would be wise to consult the standard citation manual for government documents, and use that in conjunction with the main general style manual for the research.

    This manual, sponsored by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association, is the Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources, ( 2d ed. 1993).  It is held in the Geology Library and in the Social Science Reference Center on A Floor of Firestone Library, at Z7164.G7 G37 1993.  (The 3rd Edition, 2003, is on order.)

    The Blue Book noted above also describes in exact detail a number of government documents, and can also be useful.  But the examples given in the Complete Guide are especially useful in a broad range of applications on the Princeton University campus, and work well with all the other general style manuals.


    Last modified: April  20, 2004 by sbwhite@princeton.edu