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Modern Foreign Language Citation Guide

Informal Citation

Online writing tends to be less formal than academic writing. Consequently, the way that you cite your sources may be less formal as well. Just as an article on Kotaku, Vox, or the New York Times doesn't stop midsentence (Cleary, 2021) for the kind of traditional citation you might use in a paper, you don't have to here. Instead, there are a few different methods to appropriately find and cite your sources in online communication.

Citing Sources in Text

Citing sources in text on a website is incredibly easy however you decide to do it. Let's say I wanted to cite the Vox article, "Why Apple’s latest gadget is catching the attention of antitrust regulators."

Now, in a traditional paper, that might look like this:

The new Apple AirTags even use a very similar technology to Tile, creating a U1 chip that "uses ultra-wideband technology for more precise object location" (Heilweil).

In a website, you might instead use a hyperlink directly to the cited source. That might look more like this:

The new Apple AirTags even use a very similar technology to Tile, creating a U1 chip that utilizes similar technology for improved finding.

There, the hyperlink functions as a citation, directing the reader to the source in question. Technically, this is all you need to do. That said, when possible, combining the two formats often yields the best results for readers:

According to Rebecca Heilweil, the new Apple AirTags even use a very similar technology to Tile, creating a U1 chip that utilizes similar technology for improved finding.

Finding and Using Videos

It is incredibly easy to embed a videos from certain sites directly into your website. When you do, the video can serve as a citation in itself, as it links back to its original page. That said, it is recommended that you add some text beneath the video, crediting the creator or channel that made it.

Khadija Mbowe, "Why Is Doomscrolling?"

If you are making video content yourself, check the box below for information on how to effectively cite information.

Citing Sources in a Video

One easy way to cite a source is to include a small, simple citation in one corner of the video. You want your citation to be noticeable and readable, but not to obscure any important information.

You can also cut away to an image with a citation already in the image. In that case, merely posting the image will suffice for an in-text citation. In this example, YouTuber T1J cuts away to a gif, and zooms in to make sure you can clearly see the source, printed at the bottom of the image.

Sometimes, the image won't have a built-in citation. If that's the case, you can merely use the tools discussed below to add a simple citation, like this. Even a url can be an effective citation, and some open source images require that you provide a link back to the original source.

Finding and Using Images

It is important that you do not simply copy and paste images from anywhere on the Web into your articles. Many images have strong copyright protections, and even citing them, your page can get taken down and legal action can be threatened for using them. On the previous page, Art & Images in the Public Domain, I have included a number of resources where you can find video, audio, and images that you can use freely in your online work. Many of those resources have attribution guidelines on the sites themselves, which will tell you who you need to credit and how. If those guidelines exist, make sure you follow them.

Otherwise, a combination of credit and hyperlink to the original file, either in the text itself or beneath the image, is often sufficient.

[A Bacchante]

[A Bacchante], by Julia Margaret Cameron. Courtesy of the Getty.