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APA 7th Edition - Citation Guide - CBS Library


The first component in every APA reference is the author. Sometimes an author can be a corporation or group.

Author. (Date). Title. Source.

List the full last name, a comma, and then the initials of the author, with a space between the initials. Do not list the full first or middle name of an author.

  • William Shakespeare Shakespeare, W.
  • Louisa May Alcott Alcott, L. M.
  • Leonardo da Vinci da Vinci, L.
  • George W. Ogden Ogden, G. W.
  • Jean-Luc Lebrun Lebrun, J.-L.

Do not use courtesy or academic titles in your citations. Do include suffixes such as Jr., Sr., III, etc.

  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Doyle, A. C.
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King, M. L., Jr.
  • Ronald C. White, Sr. White, R. C., Sr.

Some authors use non-standard capitalization. Retain that capitalization.

  • bell hooks hooks, b.
  • danah boyd boyd, d.

Some names, such as those with religious or nobility titles, may need to be listed differently in the References page in order to preserve the meaning.

  • Pope Francis
  • Queen Raina
  • Plato

List authors in the order they appear on the source. A comma should separate each author's name, and an ampersand (&) should precede the last author's name. Spell out up to twenty authors' names in the reference list in this format:

Two Authors:

Smith, J., & Miller, W. C. (Date). Title. Source.

(Smith & Miller, 2009)

Three to Twenty Authors:

Smith, J., Jones, B. E., Brown, K. E., & Doe, J. (Date). Title. Source.

List all authors in the reference; however, in-text citations will include the first author's name only, followed by et al.

(Smith et al., 2009)

21+ Authors:

Include the first 19 authors in the reference, then three ellipsis points (. . .), and then the last author (there is no ampersand). In the in-text citation, only include the first author and add et al.

Smith, J., Jones, B. E., Brown, K. E., Doe, J., Chan, L., Garcia, S. M., White, C-G., Fernández, J., Ahmed, A. J., Zhào, L., Cohen, D., Watanabe, K., Kim, K., Del Rosario, J., Yilmaz, P. K., Nguyễn, T., Wilson, T. H., Wang, W., Kahale, A. ... Zhang, Z. Z. (Date). Title. Source.

(Smith et al., 2009)

Some resources may be attributed to a group or organization, instead of a specific person or persons. In this case, give the name of the group or organization, capitalized as needed. You may abbreviate the organization to a common abbreviation beginning with the second in-text citation.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019, October 3). Outbreak of lung injury associated with e-cigarette use, or vaping. Retrieved October 8, 2019, from

First In-Text Citation:

(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2019)

Subsequent In-Text Citations:

(CDC, 2019)

For government authors that may have multiple departments as a hierarchy (for example,U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Library of Medicine), you should use the directly responsible agency.

National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). A brief history of the NLM.

(National Library of Medicine, n.d.)

If the resource is published by that same organization, omit the publisher component.

American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

First In-Text Citation:

(American Psychological Association [APA], 2020)

Subsequent In-Text Citations:

(APA, 2020)

Book Editors

If a book is compiled by an editor (usually specified on the cover or title page), list the names as usual, but add (Ed.) or (Eds.) after the names, to signify editor or editors. This abbreviation is not included in the in-text citation.

Forrester, D. A. (Ed.). (2016). Nursing's greatest leaders: A history of activism. Springer.

(Forrester, 2016)

Audiovisual "Authors"

Audiovisual materials may have different people for the author element. Common examples include director, host, executive producer, musical artist, composer, or a producer. Include a parenthetical clarification of the role.

Jacquet, L. (Director). (2005). March of the penguins [Film]. National Geographic Films; Bonne Pioche.

(Jacquet, 2005)

Wilson, T. V., & Frey, H. (Hosts). (2008–present). Stuff you missed in history class [Audio podcast]. Stuff Media.

(Wilson & Frey, 2008–present)

The Monkees. (1966). I'm a believer [Song]. On More of the Monkees. Colgems.

(The Monkees, 1966)

If you know both the real name of an author and the username, and the username is credited on the work, list both.

DeGeneres, E. [@TheEllenShow]. (2014, March 2). If only Bradley's arm was longer. Best photo ever. #oscars [Image attached] [Tweet]. Twitter.

(DeGeneres, 2014)

If you only have a username, use that for the author.

Motherboard. (2010, August 6). The effects of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki [Video]. YouTube.

(Motherboard, 2010)

If there is no listed author or editor, start your reference with the title, place the date after the title, and continue the reference as normal. Remember that authors can be a company, organization, or group author, and that should be used as the author if provided. Check very carefully to ensure that there is no organization that can be used as the author!


Title. (Date). Source.


Oxford English dictionary (2nd ed.). (1989). Clarendon Press.

Appeal to authority. (n.d.). Logical Fallacies.

For in-text citations, use the title of the item, followed by the date. If the title is long, you may abbreviate it to the first few words. Book titles are italicized; journal or website articles are put in quotations.

(Oxford English Dictionary, 1989).

("Appeal to Authority," n.d.)

If the item is expressly attributed to "Anonymous," list that as the author:

Anonymous. (2006). Go ask Alice. Simon Pulse.

(Anonymous, 2006)

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