November Feature: APA Style Updates

An update to the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (5th ed.) was recently published under the title APA Style Guide to Electronic References. The aim of the new guide is primarily to modernize and standardize some of the existing rules relating to the citation of online materials. Below are some of the most frequently encountered changes. To see the entire 24 page Guide, ask at the reference desk or look next to the Manual in the Main and Reference Collections under call number BF76.7 .A63 2007.

The Citing References: APA Style has been updated to reflect changes relevant to the extant examples.

  • DOIs
    • When provided, Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) are used instead of URLs and database names in citations. A DOI is a unique number assigned to a journal article, which is independent of the location of the article. It will remain the same no matter where the article is found, and will provide a persistent link to the online article. To find an article with a DOI, enter the number into a DOI resolver such as
    • When no DOI is provided, use the URL of the journal’s homepage in the citation.
  • Retrieval Dates
    • No longer required in citations when there there is a publication date listed. So, for online journal articles no retrieval date is necessary.
    • Required when there is no publication date listed or when the content is likely to be changed, such as in Wikipedia.
  • Issue Numbers
    • Always include the issue number for journal articles when available. This is no longer dependent on the pagination scheme used.


Journal article from library database with DOI assigned

Stultz, J. (2006). Integrating exposure therapy and analytic therapy

      in trauma treatment. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 76(4),

      482-488. doi:10.1037/0002-9432.76.4.482

Journal article from library database with no DOI assigned

Sillick, T. J., & Schutte, N. S. (2006). Emotional intelligence and self-esteem

      mediate between perceived early parental love and adult

      happiness. E-Journal of Applied Psychology, 2(2), 38-48. Retrieved


This post is part of the Featured Resource, which was previously on the Library’s home page. The Featured Resources Archive contains the past spotlights from December 2002 – Summer 2008.

About Martha

Martha is a Reference & Instruction Librarian and the liaison to the Biological Sciences, Computer Science, Languages and Literatures, Mathematics, and Physics Departments
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