How to reference websites in Harvard style
|In-text citation example||(Google, 2020)|
|Reference template||Author surname, initial. (Year) Page Title. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Reference example||Google (2020) Google terms of service. Available at: https://policies.google.com/terms?hl=en-US (Accessed: 11 May 2020).|
Different formats are used for other kinds of online source, such as articles, social media posts and multimedia content.
Blog posts and online newspaper articles are both referenced in the same format: include the title of the article in quotation marks, the name of the blog or newspaper in italics, and the date of publication.
|Template||Author surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article Title’, Blog Name, Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Example||Rakich, N. (2020) ‘How does Biden stack up to past Democratic nominees?’, FiveThirtyEight, 28 April. Available at: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/how-does-biden-stack-up-to-past-democratic-nominees/ (Accessed: 29 April 2020).|
|Template||Author surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article Title’, Newspaper Name, Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Example||Rayner, G. (2020) ‘Boris Johnson sets out three-step plan to end lockdown on long road to freedom’, The Telegraph, 10 May. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/05/10/go-back-work-boris-johnson-says-britons-set-long-road-freedom/ (Accessed: 11 May 2020).|
The format for a magazine article is slightly different. Instead of a precise date, include the month, season, or volume and issue number, depending on what the magazine uses to identify its issues.
The URL and access date information are included only when the article is online-exclusive.
|Template||Author surname, initial. (Year) ‘Article Title’, Magazine Name, Volume(Issue) or (Month) or (Season). Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Example||Taylor, P. (2020) ‘Susceptible, infectious, recovered’, London Review of Books, 42(9). Available at: https://www.lrb.co.uk/the-paper/v42/n09/paul-taylor/susceptible-infectious-recovered (Accessed: 11 May 2020).|
Social media posts
To reference posts from social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, include the username and the platform in square brackets. Write usernames the way they appear on the platform, with the same capitalization and symbols.
If the post has a title, use it (in quotation marks). If the post is untitled, use the text of the post instead. Do not use italics. If the text is long, you can replace some of it with an ellipsis.
|Template||Author surname, initial. [username] (Year) ‘Title’ or text. [Website name] Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Example||Dorsey, J. [@jack] (2018) We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation … [Twitter] 1 March. Available at: https://twitter.com/jack/status/969234275420655616 (Accessed: 11 May 2020).|
Images, videos and podcasts
Online content is referenced differently if it is in video, audio or image form.
To cite an image found online, such as an artwork, photograph, or infographic, include the image format (e.g. ‘Photograph’, ‘Oil on canvas’) in square brackets.
|Template||Author surname, initial. (Year) Title [Medium]. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Example||Taylor, P. (2020) Grey squirrel [Photograph]. Available at: https://flic.kr/p/2iZBKhY (Accessed: 11 May 2020).|
Online videos, such as those on YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo and Dailymotion, are cited similarly to general web pages. Where a video is uploaded under the name of an individual, write the name in the usual format. Otherwise, write the username of the uploader as it appears on the site.
If you want to locate a specific point in a video in an in-text citation, you can do so using a timestamp.
|Template||Author surname, initial. (Year) Title. Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Example||Scribbr (2020) What is plagiarism? 23 January. Available at: https://youtu.be/Uk1pq8sb-eo (Accessed: 14 May 2020).
(Scribbr, 2020, 1:58)
For a podcast reference, you just need the name of the individual episode, not of the whole series. The word ‘Podcast’ is always included in square brackets. As with videos, you can use a timestamp to locate a specific point in the in-text citation.
|Template||Author/presenter surname, initial. (Year) Title [Podcast]. Day Month. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).|
|Example||Carlin, D. (2017) The destroyer of worlds [Podcast]. 24 January. Available at: https://www.dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-59-the-destroyer-of-worlds/ (Accessed: 11 May 2020).
(Carlin, 2017, 25:55)
Referencing websites with missing information
Online sources are often missing information you would usually need for a citation: author, title or date. Here’s what to do when these details are not available.
When a website doesn’t list a specific individual author, you can usually find a corporate author to list instead. This is the organisation responsible for the source:
Google (2020) Google terms of service. Available at: https://policies.google.com/terms?hl=en-US (Accessed: 11 May 2020).
In cases where there’s no suitable corporate author (such as online dictionaries or Wikis), use the title of the source in the author position instead:
‘Divest’ (2020) Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divest (Accessed: 29 April 2020).
In Harvard style, when a source doesn’t list a specific date of publication, replace it with the words ‘no date’ in both the in-text citation and the reference list. You should still include an access date:
|Example||(Scribbr, no date)
Scribbr (no date) An introduction to referencing. Available at: https://www.scribbr.co.uk/category/referencing/ (Accessed: 11 May 2020).
Frequently asked questions about Harvard website references
- How do I know if a website is a reliable source?
It’s important to assess the reliability of information found online. Look for sources from established publications and institutions with expertise (e.g. peer-reviewed journals and government agencies).
The CRAAP test (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose) can aid you in assessing sources, as can our list of credible sources. You should generally avoid citing websites like Wikipedia that can be edited by anyone – instead, look for the original source of the information in the “References” section.
- How can I specify a location in a source without page numbers?
You can generally omit page numbers in your in-text citations of online sources which don’t have them. But when you quote or paraphrase a specific passage from a particularly long online source, it’s useful to find an alternate location marker.
For text-based sources, you can use paragraph numbers (e.g. ‘para. 4’) or headings (e.g. ‘under “Methodology”’). With video or audio sources, use a timestamp (e.g. ‘10:15’).
- When do I need to use a Harvard in-text citation?
A Harvard in-text citation should appear in brackets every time you quote, paraphrase, or refer to information from a source.
The citation can appear immediately after the quotation or paraphrase, or at the end of the sentence. If you’re quoting, place the citation outside of the quotation marks but before any other punctuation like a comma or full stop.