Citations Online Architecture
Reference Examples


Each example element is accompanied by a citation whose mouseover note provides context. The element examples are organized according to the following order: Titles, Internet sources, authors and other contributors, publishers, and dates.



The title element consists of a title, an optional alternative title, optional version-edition information, and optional content clarifications. Consider the following title elements shown in the transformed reader view:

Yo! Yes?, multiple editions[yo-yes]
Macbeth (The Tragedy of Macbeth)[macbeth]
Badlands \[review of the film Badlands by Terrence Malick][badlands]

The first example links to a list of 26 editions listed by Good Reads. The second includes an alternative title. The third clarifies the title of a review by mentioning the film reviewed.

The Citations Online architecture allows some references to be subsidiary to others. For clarity, the mouseover note for a subsidiary reference includes the title of the corresponding root reference. Consider the following subsidiary titles and notes shown in the reader view:

Cherry Tree[George, cherry]
9.4 Four Elements of a Reference[APA, elements]
"'What's to-day, my fine fellow?' said Scrooge ..."[dickens, Christmas]


The link element gives one or more hyperlinks to representations of the referenced content. The hyperlinks are of two kinds — presentations and portrayals. Some examples:

Cherry Tree Myth. Article.[George]

The above example has a link to a presentation of the named article.

Yo! Yes?, multiple editions. Boardbook, hardcover, review.[yo-yes]

There is no online presentation of Yo! Yes? The links boardbook, hardcover, and review are all portrayal links.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Kindle eBook; vendor, book review, synopsis.[jim].

Although this eBook is available online, it is not directly available because no available URL allows a reference to link to the eBook. All of the links in this reference are portrayal links.


The contributor element is a list of authors and other contributors. Roles, biographies, and other credibility-relevant data accompany contributors. Two examples:

Matthew Childers (author, illustrator, writer; bio)[Childers]
— an author with multiple roles and a biography

American Psychological Association (about)[APA]
— a corporate author with an about page


Publishing activities are performed by publishing houses and their imprints as well as newspapers, magazines, journals, and websites. Some examples:

Globe Theatre[macbeth]
— a publisher of live performances

— an author as the publisher

— a posting platform


The date element shows how and when content was created or placed online. Some examples:

Posted 2014 August 10[monkey]
— a social media post

Published 1911, posted 2019 December 23[dickens]
— an online book with a pre-Internet publication date

Updated 2021 September 28[lung-cancer]
— an updated Wikipedia article

The date format is chosen by the content creator.

Supporting Documentation

The Citations Online architecture is described in Citations Online: Preliminary Guide for Content Creators. The research behind this architecture is presented in the article Citations Online: Architecture Development.


icon icons/cherryTree.png. George. Cherry Tree Myth. Article. Jay Richardson (author). undated.

badlands. Badlands [review of the film Badlands by Terrence Malick]. Article. Peter Bradshaw (@PeterBradshaw1). The Guardian. Published 2008 August 28.

macbeth. Macbeth (The Tragedy of Macbeth). Play script. William Shakespeare, Kenneth Muir (editor). Globe Theatre, London; Arden Shakespeare. Performed 1606, second Arden series published 1997 January 31.

jim. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Kindle eBook; vendor, book review, synopsis. John Berendt (bio). Random House. 1994 January 13.

lung-cancer. Classification [of lung cancers]. Article section. WikiProject Medicine (supervising project). Wikipedia. Updated 2021 September 28.

George, cherry. Cherry Tree. Oil on canvas; explanation, video. Grant Wood (bio). Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Created 1939.

Childers. Different Roles in Comic Books. Resource. Matthew Childers (author, illustrator, writer; bio). Updated 2020 November 4.

monkey. "I am who I am". Meme. Post Planner. Facebook. Posted 2014 August 10.

icon icons/dickens.png. dickens. A Christmas Carol. Online book. Charles Dickens (bio), Arthur C Michael (illustrator). Hodder and Stoughton, Library of Congress. Published 1911, posted 2019 December 23.

dickens, Christmas. "'What's to-day, my fine fellow?' said Scrooge ...". Page 110. ~. ~. ~.

yo-yes. Yo\! Yes\?, multiple editions. Boardbook, hardcover; review. Chris Raschka (author, illustrator; bio). Multiple publishers. Published 1993 March 1 through 2020 April 21.

APA. APA Style Guide (Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th edition). eBook vendors. American Psychological Association. Self-published. Published 2019 October 1, copyright 2020.

APA, elements. 9.4 Four Elements of a Reference. Page 283; APA article. ~. ~. ~.