A Definitive Guide to Writing: How to Cite a Source

Part G: Citing References and Sources Through the Footnote

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Zyxware is publishing a multipart essay on how to write effectively. In the fifth article in this series, you can read part G that educates on how to provide proper citations in a genuine academic sense.

  1. Give credits where it is due—a hyperlink to sources. Cite primary sources as far as possible. 

  2. Ensure credit line for photos published as part of articles. Regardless of the familiarity of people or structures appearing in a photograph, include a caption describing the image. Make the picture relevant to the story. 

  3. Quotes should always bear proper attribution. Unnamed or anonymous sources raise questions and add speculation. While quoting a person firsthand, mention the mode of communication. While quoting from an interview published elsewhere, explicitly reveal the source. Include the interview title, name of the interviewer, publication date, volume and name of the periodical. 

  4. For all online citations, include the month and year of accessing the webpage. Place it inline as descriptive text or put it separately as a footnote or endnote. While quoting short posts or comments from social media pages and profiles, embed the relevant posts or comments. Refer to the video that appeared on YouTube or Vimeo channels. 

  5. While providing online references beneath articles, follow the order: Full name of the Author, Name of the Website, specify whether it is just (online) or (online, pdf) or (print, online) as is the case, provide the title of the article inside double quotes and in italics, provide the dateline of that article, specify if dateline is absent, write ‘Link accessed on’ and provide the date on which you accessed that link, and hyperlink the article to the word, ‘Link’. If the byline is missing, omit it. e.g., Prathiksha Thayil, Zyxware (online), “Digital Transformation in Media Publishing”, Published 2021-11-20, Link accessed on November 23, 2021.

  6. While citing a book, give the reference as a footnote or endnote. The style and order of a footnote or endnote should be the Full name of the author, "Title of the Book Chapter" in "Title of the Book" edited by <full name of the editor> (Place of publication: Publisher, year of publication), page number. 

  7. For a book with multiple authors or editors, give their names separated by an ampersand. 

  8. For sequential citations from the same book, use ibid.. 

  9. In long-form articles having an academic rhythm, especially while writing a paper with many chapters, include a Bibliography. [1]

  10. Suppose an author refers to a paragraph in a chapter by various authors that appeared in a book edited by multiple editors. The citation order in the Bibliography should be Author1, P. Q. & Author2, R. S. (copyright year). Title of the Book Chapter. In T. U. Editor1 & V. W. Editor2 (Eds.), Title of the Book (Edition, Pages #-#,) Publisher. DOI or URL. Here, the letters P to W stand for initials of the given name and middle name, while the name of the author and editor should be their surnames. For authors, initials come after the surname, while for editors, initials come first before the surname, followed by the indication (Eds.). DOI is the digital object identifier.[2] URL is the universal resource locator. 


  • [1] There is a subtle difference between references and bibliography. A reference list put as an endnote is the list of references cited in the article. A bibliography is the list of references cited in all chapters, plus other background material the author might have read while writing the paper but not directly mentioned in the treatise.

  • [2] Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is part of the metadata in digital journals. The 13 digit International Standard Book Number (ISBN No.) or the Machine Readable Cataloging (MARC 21 and MARCXML) specification in a library management system can identify a book in physical form. In contrast, the author can include ISBN-A or actionable ISBN in DOI that helps identify them in digital form.