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Citation Guides: Articles- Databases

How to format library databases articles in APA style

About this guide

This guide is based on The Bluebook. For more details and examples, consult The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation (19th ed.) 2010. (REF KF 245 U55  2010).

  • Note, however, that the APA style incorporates various changes into the Bluebook style.
  • The Bluebook style is not used to cite legal periodical articles or books. Use the regular APA style.
  • To cite legal materials from states other than Massachusetts, follow the forms given below for Massachusetts, but substitute the abbreviations found on pages 170-228 of the Bluebook.
  • Some Web-based databases do not include the data required to cite according to these rules. Lexis-Nexis is the best source.

Additional APA Style Guide Websites

Citing Library Database Articles in a Reference List

Articles found in library databases are referenced in the same way as print articles. If the article is easily located, you do not need to include database information or a URL. Database information may be included if the article is difficult to find, but is not mandatory.

Note: Many databases provide a citation generator tool that will format citations for you; all you have to do is select the correct style. Then you can copy and paste the citation into your paper. It's always good to double check what the database creates, because errors in punctuation and capitalization are fairly common.

Basic Format

Author, A. A., Author, B. B., & Author, C. C. (Year). Title of article. Title of Periodical, Volume number(Issue number), page range.

Note: The title of the periodical and the volume number are italicized.


Gielen, Anne C., Kerkhofs, M., & Van Ours, J. (2010). How performance related pay affects productivity and employment. Journal of Population Economics, 23(1), 291-301.


  • Date for journals may include month and year or just the year
  • Date for magazine and newspaper articles may include day, month and year
  • If pagination is continuous throughout the volume of a journal, issue number may be omitted from citation


Journal Article - journal with non-continuous pagination within each volume

Buell, C. (2001, August). Enhancing content literacy in physical education. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 72(6), 32-37.


Journal Article - journal with continuous pagination within each volume (no issue cited)

Bodnar, J. (2001). Saving Private Ryan and Postwar Memory in America. American Historical Review, 106, 805-817.


Magazine Article - publication date includes month, day and year

Novak, M. (2001, September 3). The Stem-Cell Slide. National Review, 53(17), 17-18.


Newspaper Article- publication date includes month, day, and year, no volume or issue number

Pincus, W. (2001, August 25). Panel asked to defer anti-leak bill hearing. The Washington Post, p. A4.

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