OverviewReferencing information in a publication serves several purposes. First and foremost, it lets your readers know that you are not making things up, and that you have consulted authoritative sources for your information. Second, it provides a path for your readers to retrace your steps, should they wish to do so. Thus, enough information must be provided to allow a person to find the source. Third, referencing information provides a framework for the logical progression of the arguments you are making in your report. Therefore, the more accurate and complete your citations are, the more they benefit your readers and grant higher credibility to your writing. Citing documents from the internet, however, is tricky due to the dynamic nature of most websites. Citing web-generated data is even trickier. This is a developing art and, though standards are being developed, the results may never be as clear or dependable as for published print sources. The following are guidelines that we hope will help you. As with any citation guidelines, these will show you the elements required in your citation. The exact format may vary depending on where you are publishing your report. In the descriptions and examples given, the following order and format are used:
Author (if known), Title (if known), [type of document (optional) and medium]. Place of publication: Publisher, Date of publication [date of visit to site]. Search parameters (if needed).
Author – Sometimes you may have instead an editor, compiler, or the material may be an adaptation of someone else’s work. If so, indicate this in parentheses.
Title – Do not make up a title. If what you are citing has no explicit title, use ‘(no title given).
Type of document – This is optional; use ‘graph,’ ‘map,’ ‘table,’ ‘photograph,’ etc. if it helps. ‘
Medium – In all of these examples, the medium is ‘[online]’. For other resources you cite you may need to use ‘disk’, ‘CD-ROM’, etc.
Publishing information – This is not always easy to determine. For website-generated material, use ‘Portland (OR): StreamNet.’ For other material, try to determine who published it and where they are located. Note that the publishing agency is not always the same as the author agency. If the date of publication is unknown, leave blank. If you are fairly certain about the publication date but it is not explicitly stated on the page, follow the date with a question mark.
Date of visit to site – Use the format [dd month yyyy], where day and year are numeric, and the month is text. For example, use [03 January 2007] or [03 Jan. 2007] to represent January 3rd,
URL – Preface this with ‘URL: ‘and include the address in < >, followed by a period.
To cite text found via StreamNet, first of all, be sure to note the site that the text is actually coming from. StreamNet has several reports as well as other resources originating from our site. We also link to information from many other sites. It is most useful to reference the originating location.
You have gone to the section on the Fish and Wildlife Program project selection process and would like to cite the report given on the Deschutes subbasin.
Deschutes River Subbasin [report online]. Portland (OR) : Northwest Power and Conservation Council, 1997? [17 May 1998]. URL: <http://www.nwcouncil.org/fw/subbasinplanning/deschutes/>.
You have gone to the ‘Public Education’ section and found a factsheet that you would like to cite.
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (adapt.), Where are the salmon, when? [factsheet online]. Portland (OR) : StreamNet [17 May 1998]. URL:
You have found the full text of a report that is also available in published hard copy. You have two choices here (1) obtain the report and cite it as a normal paper document (preferred) or (2) cite it as an electronic document, but note its availability elsewhere.
Anderson, Duane A., et al. Report on the Status of Salmon and Steelhead in the Columbia River Basin – 1995 [report online]. Portland (OR) : Bonneville Power Administration, 1996. [17 May 1998]. URL:
<http://www.streamnet.org/about-sn/reports/crstat95.htm>. Also available as BPA report number 65130-1.
Note: for Fish HLI (CAX) and Fish Monitoring Data (trends) also see guidance on the Data Policy and Agreements page.
If you are citing a particular data point, you should cite the printed text source, as it has more permanence and is the original source. In fact, even though the data may be on the StreamNet web site, it is always good to see the data in context. Therefore, it is advised that you look at the source document. Note that all StreamNet data are referenced to source documents and these documents are available via the Columbia Basin Fish & Wildlife Library. For reference information, go
to http://www.streamnetlibrary.org or click on the reference found through your online query.
If you are citing a table or a graph that actually appears in a printed text source, see the above guidelines. If you are using a table or a graph from the website that was created from a single source, you must cite the website, but you might also consider referencing the source.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (comp.), (no title given), [graph online]. Portland (OR) : StreamNet [17 May 1998].
URL:<http://query.streamnet.org/Request.cfm?cmd=BuildCriteria&NewQuery=BuildCriteria>. Data category = “Adult Return – Redd Counts”; Species = “Chinook”; Run = “Fall”; HUC4 = “17090001 Willamette R, M Fk & Tribs”. Data derived from: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. Columbia Basin system planning, salmon and steelhead production plan: Middle Fork Willamette River, Willamette River subbasin, Portland (OR): Northwest Power and Conservation Council, 1990.
Note: for CAP Fish HLI (CAX) and Fish Monitoring Data (trends) also see guidance on the Data Policy and Agreements page.
The StreamNet database may be downloaded in its entirety as a Microsoft Access file. For complex applications where a high degree of verification is required (e.g. a dissertation) it may be appropriate to download the database, conduct analysis using the database, and then cite the StreamNet database as the source. This has the advantage of providing a physical reference that is static, as opposed to the more dynamic Internet reference. Citing the entire database in most cases is not appropriate and should be done only in the above described situations; a citation of this type is of limited usefulness to your readers.
Note that the StreamNet database is archived every six to twelve months to track database development and to provide static references. These archived versions of the database are available for download. Please also note that the archive consists of data only, and that the website in its entirety is NOT archived.
StreamNet Database (Version 98.3) [database downloaded to disk]. Portland (OR): StreamNet, April 1998. [17 May 1998]. URL: <http://www.streamnet.org/accesstable.html>.
StreamNet provides numerous GIS data sets for download. These GIS data sets may be manipulated using GIS software to conduct spatial analyses and to build custom maps. Metadata are provided for all GIS data sets distributed by StreamNet. When citing a GIS data set it is best to cite its accompanying metadata instead, because the metadata carry the pertinent information needed to evaluate and acquire the data set and contact its stewards. As with the online database, users should cite the year of data set publication (listed in the metadata) as well as the date that the files were downloaded. When a GIS data set is used in a map, it is customary to simply identify StreamNet and other data providers under a Sources heading, along with the date the map was compiled. Maps compiled in cooperation with the StreamNet project should carry the StreamNet logo.
StreamNet GIS Data (2003). Metadata for Pacific Northwest coho salmon fish distribution spatial data set. Portland (OR) : StreamNet, May 2003. [31 Jan 2005]. URL: <http://www.streamnet.org/online-data/GISData.html>.
Citing ad-hoc information created by the StreamNet website.
One of the more uncommon features of the StreamNet website is its ability to generate output ‘on the fly’ and to allow the user to customize parameters. In these cases, just giving the URL for the site is of limited usefulness. The search parameters must also be included. Also, in these cases, there is no author to cite; it is suggested that you cite StreamNet as the publisher.
If you are citing a map or a table or a graph that has been derived from several sources (which may or may not be evident), include all information necessary for a person to retrace your steps. If you are citing something derived from a single source, see below.
Flathead Subbasin: westslope cutthroat trout [map online]. Portland (OR): StreamNet [10 October 2005].
URL:<http://query.streamnet.org/Request.cfm?cmd=BuildQuery&NewQuery=BuildCriteria&Required=S pecies,ColumbiaSubbasin2001&Species=21&ColumbiaSubbasin2001=74&DataCategory=23&_Count=52 5>. Data Category = “Fish distribution”; Species = “Westslope cutthroat trout”; Columbia Subbasin =
These guidelines were prepared after having consulted the following sources:
Excerpts from International Standard ISO 690-2 [document online]. Ottawa: International Organization for Standardization, 1997 [14 May 1998]. URL: <http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/iso/tc46sc9/standard/690- 2e.htm>. [Original source now available
at http://web.archive.org/web/19970706074038/http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/iso/tc46sc9/standard/690- 2e.htm.]
Land, T. [a.k.a. Beads] Web Extension to American Psychological Association Style (WEAPAS): proposed standard for referencing online documents in scientific publications (Rev.1.4.4) [document online]. March 30, 1998 [14 May 1998]. URL:
StreamNet staff, Personal Communication, May 18-19, 1998.
StreamNet Website [website online]. 1997-1998 [17 May 1998]. URL: <http://www.streamnet.org>
Walker, Janice R. Columbia online style: MLA-style citations of electronic sources (Vers. 1.2) [document online] January 1995 (Rev. 11/97) [13 May 1998]. URL:
<http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cup/cgos/idx_basic.html>.[Original source now available
For additional assistance, please feel free to contact the StreamNet Librarian at email@example.com or by phone at 503-736-3581.
These guidelines are provided as a service from the StreamNet Library. You are welcome to make links to this document but please do not copy or redistribute it without giving proper credit.