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Turabian 9 Author-Date Style


Web resources come in a variety of types and each type requires variations in how the reference list entry and parenthetical citation are constructed. Turabian 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. 

19.5 Websites and Online Resources

Turabian emphasizes that content available in books or articles, even when found on a website, should be cited as a journal article available online or as an ebook. Websites should be cited only when containing original content.

In section 19.5.1, Turabian indicates as many of the following elements as possible should be included:

  • Author. If there is no author, use the website title or owner. 
  • Publication or revision year. If no year can be found indicate n.d. 
  • Title of the page which should be enclosed in quotation marks
  • Title or owner of the website
  • List a time/date stamp for when the item was posted, last modified, or if neither option is available the date accessed as indicated in section Turabian suggests including the year along with month and day to avoid confusion. Remember that instructors may choose to require access dates. 
  • URL

In the examples below, one website has a specific publication date and one website does not so an access date is utilized.

R: Bread for the World. 2015. “Child Nutrition.” Bread for the World. May 18, 2015.

P: (Bread for the World 2015)

R: USA for UNHCR. n.d. "What is a Refugee?" USA for UNHCR. Accessed September 18, 2018.

P: (USA for UNHCR n.d.)

19.5.2 Blogs

Turabian indicates entries posted on a blog by the author or an approved guest blogger should be cited in a format very similar to newspapers with the addition of the URL. Give the blogger's name exactly as listed even if it is a pseudonym. 

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

P: (Kaiser 2010)

Blog Comments:

Turabian indicates a blog comment should only be cited in a parenthetical citation. The citation should include the commenter's name exactly as given, date and time, and an author-date citation indicating the original blog post.

P: (Scot McKnight, December 8, 2010 [3:31 p.m.], comment on Kaiser 2010)

Turabian indicates you may also weave the citation into the text if you ensure the original blog post is clearly indicated. An example is posted below.

Scot McKnight commented on December 8, 2010 [3:31 p.m.] in regards to Walter Kaiser's blog post "On 'Jesus vs. Paul'."

19.5.3 Social Media

Turabian notes in section 19.5.3 that information posted on social networks should be be woven into the text. If there is no reference list citation, include the URL after the date as shown below. 

Spiritual Formation Minister Casey Tygrett posted to Twitter on April 28, 2015 the observation "We don't need more Scripture, liturgy, or community. We need the wisdom to know what these all mean & how to live in the real world through them" (@cktygrett, April 28, 2015, 

A reference list citation and accompanying parenthetical citation should only be included if it is important to your argument.

Turabian indicates the following items must be included in a reference list citation: 

  • Author's screen name and actual name, if known
  • Year of the post
  • Up to 160 characters of the post rather than a title
  • Type of post (social media platform and photo or video if needed)
  • Exact date of the post and time stamp. 
  • URL for the exact post

R: Tygrett, Casey [@cktygrett]. 2015. "We don't need more Scripture, liturgy, or community. We need the wisdom to know what these all mean & how to live in the real world through them." Twitter, April 28, 2015, 10:36 a.m.

P: (Tygrett 2015)

Note:  Due to the fleeting nature of social media posts, Turabian recommends always keeping a screen shot of any social media you cite. 

Given the nature of social media, misspelled words, abbreviations, and other items that are not considered proper English commonly occur. Turabian section 25.3 provides information on how to acceptably modify quotations in this instance. Of particular note, Turabian indicates that spelling errors may be corrected without comment unless the error is significant or relevant to the argument. In that case, insert the Latin word sic, italicized and in brackets immediately after the error.