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How to Cite Online Sources

We often get asked if users can quote parts of our resource library in their own work. This page explains how you can do this and more generally, how any online source can be cited in your work.

Quoting ICAL TEFL Resources

The resources on this site are free to use. You can quote them in any reasonable way in your work (although copyright, of course, remains with ICAL). You can also download or copy them for your classes as appropriate.

In effect, you can do what you want with them within reason.

(You are not allowed, however, to collect the resources together and publish them with little or no change or development and you are not allowed to publish them as is to make money out of them. They are free TEFL resources for all!)

Informal Citing and Linking

If you are writing online and quote another online resource in an informal manner (i.e. you are not writing an academic paper), you can simply link to the original page in your work. For example you might write something like this:

According to ICAL, “The word alphabet comes from alpha and beta, the first two letters of the Greek‏‎ alphabet. These in turn come from the first two letters of the Phoenician alphabet where they meant ox and house respectively.”

Note that the link title isn’t necessarily the same name as the page it links to. In the example above the link title ICAL is linked to the page we have on alphabets.

In informal citations as long as you include a link to the respective page then this is often acceptable. In this next example we aren’t quoting but paraphrasing information from the link:

The word alphabet comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet, alpha and beta.

Here, the word alphabet links to the page we have on that subject.

Formally Citing Online Resources

In more formal contexts (notably academic work) then different methods of citation are usually used. There is no single, universally accepted method, but this is quite common:

  • Author and/or editor names (if available)
  • Article name in quotation marks (if applicable)
  • Title of the Website, project, or book in italics. (Remember that some Print publications have Web publications with slightly different names. They may, for example, include the additional information or otherwise modified information, like domain names [e.g. .com or .net].)
  • Any version numbers available, including revisions, posting dates, volumes, or issue numbers.
  • Publisher information, including the publisher name and publishing date.
  • Take note of any page numbers (if available).
  • Medium of publication.
  • Date you accessed the material.
  • URL (if required, or for your own personal reference; MLA does not require a URL).

Note this list comes from citation recommendations from Purdue OWL and because this article is an informal one, we can just use a descriptive title and link to the original URL.

As an example, here is a formal citation for the alphabet page above that we would use after quoting some of the text:

ICAL, “Alphabet”, ICAL TEFL Resources, 20/March/2013, <http://www.icaltefl.com/index.php/linguistics-for-english-teachers/alphabet.html>

Note the date we used to access the page (useful because webpages often change) and also the URL placed in angled brackets.

Of course in online writing the URL can be linked to the title:

ICAL, “Alphabet“, ICAL TEFL Resources, 20/March/2013

Automated Formal Citations

There are a number of useful websites which build formal citations automatically. One such is located at BibMe. You simply enter the relevant information in a form and it outputs the result. The form looks like this (click to enlarge):

A completed citation form from BibMe.

And the output is like this:

“Alphabet‏‎.” ICAL TEFL Courses & Resources. ICAL, n.d. Web. 20 Mar. 2013. <http://www.icaltefl.com/index.php/linguistics-for-english-teachers/alphabet.html>.

Note that this same site allows you to form citations for all kinds of work including webpages, films, newspapers and so on.

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