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SBL Handbook of Style

A guide to using the SBL Handbook of Style.

Websites and Online Resources

Web resources come in a variety of types and each type requires variations in how the footnote and bibliography entry are constructed. SBL notes that items posted online may not contain needed publication facts.  Nonetheless, citations must contain more than simply the URL which may change or be deleted. 

Concerning URLs which may be long, SBL has posted on their blog the suggestion of archiving potential websites using the Way Back Machine and then using Tiny URL or a similar URL shortening service to create a smaller, more easily typed URL. Keep in mind that this suggestion can not be used for subscription resources such as journal articles or social media. 

6.4.15 Websites

SBL indicates websites must have a citation which must include more than a URL. SBL does not recommend including an access date and does not specify to include publication dates. Checking with your professor is always wise. 

SBL specifies the following elements should be included:

  • Descriptive phrase or title of the page which should be enclosed in quotation marks
  • Author if known
  • Owner or sponsor of the website
  • URL

Examples of the note and bibliographic citations are included for two different websites.

B: “Child Nutrition Reports.” Bread for the World.

N: “Child Nutrition Reports,” Bread for the World,

B: What is a Refugee?" USA for UNHCR.

N: "What is a Refugee?" USA for UNHCR,

6.4.15 Blogs

SBL indicates a blog entry may be omitted from the bibliography but should have a footnote. 

N: Walt Kaiser, “On ‘Jesus vs. Paul’ a Response to Scot McKnight by Walt Kaiser,” Koinonia Blog, 8 December, 2010,

Blog comments:

SBL does not provide specific information on how to cite a blog comment. In this absence, follow Chicago Manual of Style/Turabian which indicates comments should be cited only in the notes and as a shortened form of the original blog post note. 

N: Scot McKnight, 8 December, 2010 (3:31 p.m.), comment on Kaiser,“On ‘Jesus vs. Paul’ a Response.

Social Media

The print SBL Handbook of Style does not include any information on how to cite social media posts. However, the corresponding SBL Handbook of Style blog does include information on how to cite social media which are linked below.

Note:  Due to the fleeting nature of social media posts, keeping a screenshot of any social media you cite is a wise choice.