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Referencing: About End-Text References

End-Text References

A reference list contains the information a reader needs to be able to identify and retrieve works cited in a text. This information is in the form of end-text references.

End-text references comprise four elements:

  • Author: who is responsible for this work? An author may be an individual; multiple people; a group (government agency, organisation or institution); or a combination of groups and people.
  • Date: when was the work published? Date of publication can be year only; year, month and day (exact date); year and month; year and season; or a range of dates (e.g. range of years).
  • Title: what is the work called? There are two categories of titles: works that stand alone (e.g. reports, whole books, data sets, webpages, and films), and works that are part of a greater whole (e.g. edited book chapters, podcast and television episodes, and journal articles). 
  • Source: where can I find the work? This might be a publisher, a web address/URL, or both.

End each element with a full stop, with the exception of the URL or DOI (adding a full stop can interfere with accessing the content using the link).

These elements come together to form an end-text citation that follows this format: 

Author. (Date). Title of the work. Source.

Example of an end-text citation for a whole book with no DOI

Grellier, J., & Goerke, V. (2018). Communications toolkit (4th ed.). Cengage Learning Australia.

For a brief (6-minute) introduction to end-text referencing, view the video below:


See below for the specific rules for formatting each element, from author to source (including URLs).

For information about formatting the reference list as a whole, see the page Reference List.

There are some variations to this general reference format depending on the type of work you are citing. Reference Examples can help you format a variety of reference types.

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  • Format the author's name as family name, comma, first initials. Each initial is separated by a space.
  • If the author is an organisation, provide its full name, even if it is abbreviated elsewhere. See below for more information.
  • Separate each author with a comma. Include an ampersand (&) before the final author's name.
    • If two authors are both group authors, do not use a comma between them.
    • Include up to 20 authors. If a work has more than 20, provide the first 19 authors, an ellipsis (. . .), and then the final name. Do not include an ampersand. The Quick Guide PDF has an example of a work with more than 20 authors.
  • A full stop goes at the end of the author element (unless one is there already).

Author, A., Author, B. B., & Author, C.

Bureau of Meteorology & Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation.


Group authors

When the author is a group, such as a company or a government department, you should provide its full name in the end-text reference, even if it is abbreviated elsewhere. Deciding what counts as its full name can be tricky. You might need to look for an "About Us" or similar page to find out how the organisation should be credited. Visit the APA Style website for more information.

  • If a webpage or report is on a government or company website, you should generally use the organisation as the author.
  • Sometimes both an individual and a group seem to be the author. If there is a person listed prominently on the work (e.g. on the cover, title page, suggested citation, or the top of an article), that is usually the author; the group would then act as the 'publisher'. Use your judgment to decide who is being presented as the author, and which author would help someone else find the work using your reference.
  • If multiple layers of government agencies are listed as the author, use the most specific agency as the author, and include the parent agencies in the source element as 'publisher'.
  • Do not include jurisdiction (e.g. Commonwealth of Australia) unless it is needed to distinguish between two organisations that would otherwise have the same name.

The National Cancer Institute is a US-based group which is part of the National Institutes of Health, which is itself part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The author should be only the most specific group:

National Cancer Institute.

The full reference would include the parent bodies as the 'publisher', ordered starting from the largest level, and separated by commas:

National Cancer Institute. (Date). Title of the work. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health. https://www......


Specialised roles

Some reference types, such as films or edited books, routinely credit major contributors who would not be described as the 'author' of the work. For these contributors, include their role in parentheses after their name in the end-text reference. (Do not include the role in the in-text citation.) If the role is editor, it should be abbreviated as (Ed.), or (Eds.) for multiple editors.

Scott, R. (Director).

Cunningham, S., & Turner, G. (Eds.).

Saunders, A. (Host).

Patterson, J. (with Marklund, L.).


No author

If you can not find the author of a work, including a group or organisation that is responsible for the work, use the title in place of the author. The title spot can be left blank. (Formatting for in-text citation is available here.)

Do not cite the author as "Anonymous" unless the work was published under that pseudonym.

Italian government declares state of emergency in flood-ravaged Venice. (2019, November 15). The Age.


Unusual spelling & capitalisation, and titles & ranks

Use the spelling and capitalisation the author uses.

boyd, d.

de la Cruz, J.

Johnson-Lee, H., & Johnson Vasquez, L.

If an author's first name is hyphenated, include both initials and the hyphen if both names are capitalised.

Young-Ha Kim ⇒ Kim, Y.-H.

Lee-ann Raboso ⇒ Raboso, L.

Do not include titles and ranks, unless they are part of the author's name.

John Smith, Jr ⇒ Smith, J., Jr.

John Smith, M.D., Ph.D. ⇒ Smith, J.

Lady Gaga ⇒ Lady Gaga.



If the real name of someone who usually publishes under a username is known, give the real name first but include the username in brackets:

Dorsey, J. [@jack].

Only the family name will be included in in-text citations: (Dorsey, 2020).

If only the username is known, do not put it in brackets. The username will be treated as the author's name for in-text and end-text citations, e.g. (mt2mt2, 2015).


Give the date the item was published - usually just the year.

For some items that are published more frequently, such as webpages and newspaper articles, a more specific date is required (if available) to help the reader find the specific work you are citing.


Formatting this element

The date goes within parentheses:


(2012, May 18).

(2019, Spring).

No date

Note that the copyright date at the footer of a webpage is usually not the date the content was published.

If you can not find the publication date for an item, use the abbreviation for "no date":


Titles usually do not keep the same formatting as the original source. Keep the original spelling, but capitalisation and italics in titles are standardised to fit the APA style rules. 

Formatting: italics

Titles of stand-alone publications (works that are complete in themselves, like a whole book or a report) are formatted in italics in your end-text references. Titles of items that are part of a larger work (such as articles and chapters) are not in italics.

Stand-alone work:

Project management: The managerial process.

Part of a greater work:

Italian government declares state of emergency in flood-ravaged Venice.


Formatting: capitalisation

There are two types of capitalisation used in APA style referencing:

  • Sentence case: Most words are lowercase, except: the first word of the title, the first word of any subtitles, proper nouns (e.g. places and people), and acronyms.
  • Title case: Capitalise the first word of the title, the first word of any subtitles, any major or content words, and any word with four or more letters.

Most titles in your end-text referencing will be in sentence case. If you are mentioning the title of a journal as a whole, a newspaper or magazine, an organisation's name, or a publisher, these will usually be in title case.

Sentence case:

The role of occupation in an integrated boycott model: A cross-regional study in China.

Title case:

Health Promotion Journal of Australia.

Gone With the Wind.

Jump to information about:

Edition, report, or volume number

Unusual formats

No title

Original work in another language

Republished or translated works


Works with an edition, report, or volume number

If a work has an edition, report, or volume number, include it in parentheses after the title. Do not put a full stop between the title and this descriptive information. This element is not in italics, even if the title is.

  • Use the abbreviation "ed." for edition, and "Vol." for volume.
  • Edition is written with numbers, not in superscript: use "6th ed.", not "Sixth ed." or "6th ed." Revised edition is abbreviated to "Rev. ed."
  • For reports, give the report number as it appears on the work, as in the second and third examples below.

Effective security management (6th ed.).

Land management and farming in Australia, 2014-15 (Cat. No. 4627.0).

Foundation to year 10 curriculum: Language for interaction (ACELA1428).

If there is both a volume and an edition, the edition comes first.

Clinical nutrition (2nd ed., Vol. 3).


Works with an unusual format

If the format is something unusual for an academic context (something other than books, journal articles, and reports), you can include a description of the format after the title. The description will not be in italics, even if the title is.

Guide to the wildflowers of Perth [Brochure].

Don't let me be misunderstood [Song].

Journeys towards expertise in technology-supported teaching [Doctoral dissertation, Edith Cowan University].


Works with no title

If the work has no title, use a description of the work in square brackets.

[Map showing local Perth election results in 2018].

Do not use italics for your description, even if the title would usually be in italics.

If this is a work with an unusual format (e.g. Photograph, Lecture recording, or Map), you can include the type as part of the description.


Works in another language

Before you use a work in another language as a reference for an assignment, check with your unit coordinator that this is acceptable. They might prefer that you find an English-language source so that they can check the reference for themselves.

If you are citing a work in a language other than the language of your own writing, and you read that work in its original language, you should include a translation of the title element. The translated title does not need to be literal: it should inform the reader what the work is about. The translation should be within square brackets, following the original title, and is not italicised even if the title is.

Schweriner Café-Besucher tragen Schwimmnudel-Hüte [Visitors to Schwerin cafe wear pool noodle hats for social distancing].

Nihongo no goi tokusei [Lexical characteristics of Japanese language].

All other details should be written in the original language. This will make it easier to locate the source. If the language does not use the Roman alphabet (for instance, if it is written in a language like Hindi, Mandarin, or Arabic; or in Japanese, as in the example above), you should transliterate those details into the Roman alphabet if possible.


Republished or translated works

If a work has been republished in a different year, include information about the original publication date at the end of the reference. If other creators had a significant role in creating the new edition, include information about the editor, translator, or (as below) narrator in parentheses after the title; if the type of work needs explanation, include the type in square brackets. These elements are not in italics, even if the title is. There should be no full stop between the title and extra information in the title element, or after the original publication date.

An example of this sort of work might be an ebook published in a different year to the original book, a version translated into a new language or format, or a new edition of a classic book; this is not intended for reprints of the same work by the same publisher soon after publication.

Heller, J. (2008). Catch-22 (T. White, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Hachette Audio UK. (Original work published 1961)

Both dates will appear in the in-text reference for these works: (Heller, 1961/2008).

The source of a work is usually:

  • The publisher, parent body of an organisation, or overarching website for a webpage
  • DOI or URL

Note that an item might have both a publisher/website and a URL or DOI.

If the publisher is the same group or individual as the author, do not duplicate the information in your reference. You should still include a DOI or URL if appropriate.

Bureau of Meteorology. (2019). Monthly weather review: Australia: September 2019.

Bureau of Meteorology is both the author and the publisher of this report, so the reference does not have a publisher listed in the source.


DOI/URL notes
  • Do not place a full stop after a DOI or URL.
  • If there is a DOI, always include it. You do not need to include a URL if there is a DOI.
  • If using a URL, use a permanent link if there is one. If possible, link directly to the work you used.
  • URLs and DOIs should be live (the reader should be able to click the link), but whether they look like hyperlinks (blue and underlined) or like the rest of your text is a style decision that you can make. Check your assignment guidelines or ask your lecturer if they have a preference.
  • DOI should be displayed in the format:

Oxford University Press.

Australian Institute of Criminology.



URL shorteners

APA style now allows link shorteners where a link is overly complex or long.

  • This advice is aimed largely at student papers: it is usually not appropriate for publication or theses.
  • Some URL shorteners only work for a few days, so make sure the link will work for as long as you need it to, including marking and potential appeal periods.
  • Check that shortened links are acceptable for your assignment.
  • There is no requirement to shorten a URL. Even if a link is very long, you can include it in your reference list.

A URL shortener will take a long URL and make it look more like this:

Some websites have their own short links that you can use, specific to their site.

APA 7 Tutorial: DOIs and URLs

Learn how to use the two types of electronic retrieval information found in references, digital object identifiers (DOIs) and uniform resource locators (URLs), including how to cite documents retrieved from research databases and websites.

Academic Writer, © 2020 American Psychological Association.

No author

If a work seems to have no author, check to see if an organisation or group might be responsible for it. If there is not a clear group author either, you should use the title in place of the author.

Use the title, or the first few words of the title if it is long, in your in-text citations as well.


No date

The date in a citation refers to the date the content was published. If you can't locate this information, use the abbreviation for "no date" in place of the year: n.d.

Use this abbreviation in your in-text citations as well.


No title

If there is no title, use a description of the work in square brackets.

If the work would usually have a type (e.g. Photograph, Data set, Recording of a play) in brackets after the title, you can include that in the title description.


No source

If a work you used is not available to the intended audience of your assignment or project, consider whether it is appropriate to use it as evidence.

If you decide to use it, you should cite the work as personal communication. This sort of citation does not have a reference list entry, because a reader would not be able to locate the work you used. It uses only in-text citations, with a slightly different format to normal in-text citations.

If you are using your own research data, see Section 8.36 in the APA manual.


In general, cite: 

  • what is available on the work you are citing, and
  • what would make it easy for another person to find that work.

You should have some information for each of the four elements (author, date, title, source), but if a detail does not exist, leave it off.

Missing reference information on the APA Style website.

APA 7 Tutorial: Missing Reference Elements

Learn about the four reference elements of an APA Style reference: the author, date, title, and source.

Academic Writer, © 2020 American Psychological Association.

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What Is a DOI?

If there is a DOI for a source you are citing, include it at the end of your reference. This takes the place of a URL.


A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique code used to identify content and provide a persistent link to a document on the internet. A publisher assigns a DOI when a journal article is published and made available electronically.

A DOI will usually be found on the source near other reference elements like title and author. For APA style referencing, you should put the DOI in the following format:

Make sure the DOI does not include EZProxy in the URL. It should just be If the DOI is not already in URL format (for instance, the example above might just say DOI: 10.5468/ogs.2016.59.1.1), you can attach "" to the front of the DOI number.


For further information, refer to Crossref or the APA's Academic Writer tutorial below. Read the information about URL shorteners under Source: formatting and notes above before using a short DOI.