Frequently asked questions about copyright.

How to refer to a source without an author?

If no author is given, write down the organization that is responsible. When the organization is also unknown, place the title first, then the year of publication, followed by the rest of the acknowledgement. Within the text itself, the title instead of the author is cited. In the reference list the source is listed by the first letter of the title.


  • American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (6th ed.). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
  • Collins COBUILD advanced dictionary. (2009). Boston, MA: Heinle Cengage Learning.
  • Heuristic. (n.d.). In Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary (11th ed.). Retrieved on October 2, 2013, from http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/heuristic

How to refer to a source without a publication date?

If no year is available, use ‘n.d.’ (meaning “no date”).


  • Adams, M. (n.d.). Snow-white and the little bears: A fairy tale play in four scenes. London: Books for the Bairns.
  • Examining the Latest Trends in Screening and Treatment Rates of Hepatitis C: Trends in Management. (n.d.). Retrieved on October 2, 2013, from http://www.newevidence.com/virology/entries/

How to refer to a source without a publisher or location?

When the publisher is unknown, write down the location, followed by the name of the institute or organization where the publication is from. When this is also unknown, write down n.p. (no publisher).
When the publisher is known but the name of the location is not, write down n.p. (no place of location).
When the name of the location as well as the publisher or organization is unknown, the citation is cancelled completely.
Missing information that can be found elsewhere, for instance on the website of the publisher, can be enclosed between brackets, but this is not obligatory.


  • Baggins, B. (1970). There and back again: A hobbit's tale. Hobbiton: (n.p.).
  • Baggins, B. (1970). There and back again: A hobbit's tale. (n.p.): Shire Press.
  • Baggins, B. (1970). There and back again: A hobbit's tale. [Hobbiton]: Shire Press.

How to refer to a source with multiple publishers?

For multiple locations and/or publishers, APA states that only the name that is first referred to in the publication should be cited. When doing so, do not interfere with the publication’s style of writing. For instance, don’t change name of the city 'Den Haag' into ‘The Hague’.


  • Filarski, R. (2011). Shaping transport policy: Two centuries of struggle between the public and private sector: A comparative perspective. Den Haag: Sdu Uitgevers.
  • Hull, E., Jackson, K. & Dick, J. (2011). Requirements engineering (3rd ed.). London: Springer.
    Please note: Dordrecht, Heidelberg and New York are also listed on the title page.

How to refer to a journal or newspaper article without a volume, publication date or page numbers?

In some cases, especially with online sources, the year of publication, number and/or page numbers are not mentioned. This can also be the case with special quires and attachments. When this information is not available, you are unable to cite it. It is possible to cite the month when the number is missing, or to refer to a paragraph when the text is divided in multiple sections. A special edition can be cited separately, using brackets. 


  • Elkund, R. C. (Ed.). (2011, June). NASPSPA 2011 Conference Abstracts [Supplement]. Journal of sport & exercise psychology, 33.

How to refer to personal translation of a source?

Quotations and paraphrases can be translated, for instance to improve the readability of the text. Be sure to add the words “personal translation” when doing so. The original source should appear in the reference list at the end of the paper.
For official translations, go to Do you include the isbn, translator or entitling in the reference list?


  • According to Meer, Neijenhof and Bouwens (2001) "feedback is being given all day" (p. 126, personal translation).

How to refer to a book, article in a reference list when the source is found on the internet or via an online database?

You can cite it in the same way you cite internet sources in your reference list, because there can be a difference between an online and a printed version. For instance, databases such as LexisNexis do not always mention page numbers. For examples, go to Internet source.

How to do in-text citation for different publications by the same author and in the same year?

When you are using more than one publication by the same author or organization that are published in the same year, write down the letter ‘a’ after the first year and the letter ‘b’ after the second year.


  • …is mentioned in the first report (HAN University, 2011a, p. 5) and also in the second report (HAN University, 2011b, p. 15)… 

How to do in-text citation to a source that refers to another source?

Within the text you name the work that you have read. It is done this way because an author is likely to give his or hers own twist (especially with paraphrasing) to the source he or she cited.
It is possible to mention the authors interference with the source he or she cited within the text, by adding the words “quoted in” or just “in”. List only the secondary source - the one that you have read -in your reference list, in the example below Chan.


  • ..." (Nguyen, as cited in Chan, 2002, p. 487) ...
  • ...is argued by Nguyen (as cited in Chan, 2002, p. 487)...

How to refer to a internet source that is only available after a log-in, for instance Scholar?

Here you can apply the same rules as for internet sources that are freely accessible. The reader might not be able to access the source you used, but this also accounts for websites that are modified or have gone offline.

How to refer a chapter of a book in a reference list?

Go to Chapter from a book. When the author of the chapter is the same as the author of the book, it is not necessary to make a special reference according to the APA guidelines.


How to refer and do in-text citation for a source with multiple authors?

This depends on the number of authors or editors.
One or two authors are always listed, in-text as well as in your reference list. Use an ampersand (&) instead of “and”.
Three, four or five authors are all listed at the first quote or paraphrase. When the same publication is cited again, you can sustain with listing only the first author, followed by et al. (Latin for “and others”). List all authors in your reference list.
When there are six or more authors you list only the first author, followed by et al. In the reference list every author is listed. When there are eight or more authors, you only list the first six authors, then use ellipsis points (…), followed by the final author, without an ampersand.

Number of authors or editors
First quote or paraphrase
Second and subsequent quotes or paraphrases
Reference list
One or two
Brown & Black, 2013
Brown & Black, 2013
Brown, A., & Black, B. (2013).
Three, four or five
Brown, Black, White, Blue & Grey
Brown et al., 2013
Brown, A., Black, B., White, C., Blue, D., & Grey, E. (2013).
Six or seven
Brown et al., 2013
Brown et al., 2013 
Brown, A., Black, B., White, C., Blue, D., Grey, E., & Green, F. (2013).
Eight or more
Brown et al., 2013
Brown et al., 2013 
Brown, A., Black, B., White, C., Blue, D., Grey, E., Green, F., ... Pink, G. (2013.)

Do you need to include interviews by phone, chat, e-mail or in person in the reference list?

Interviews by phone, chat, e-mail, etc. are being categorized as “unpublished interview” and are not included in the reference list. Next to a reference list it a list with names and data of your interviews could be included.
Within the text you can refer to an interview by using the addition “personal communication” and the date. Especially when the person being interviewed is quoted (see third example), it is recommended to ask for permission in advance.


  • …according to Mr. Johnson (personal communication, October 14, 2013) this is not true… 
  • …but this not true (Mr. Johnson, personal communication, October 14, 2013) and will…
  • …Mr. Johnson (personal communication, October 14, 2013) stated in an e-mail he sent us that “this is not true” and…

Do you include a lecture in the reference list?

Classes, lectures, workshops, presentations, etc. are not listed in your reference list, because of the reader’s inability to check whether the information is valid, therefor it is a personal communication. You can refer to a class by using and in-text citation and write down the name of the class, the name of the teacher, personal communication and the date.
Please note: when you want to refer to, for instance, a PowerPoint-presentation that is also available online, you have to apply the same rules as for an internet source.


  • …according to Mr. Johnson (lecture on youth at risk, personal communication, October 14, 2013) this is not true…
  • …but this not true (Mr. Johnson, lecture on youth at risk, personal communication, October 14, 2013) and will…
  • …Mr. Johnson (lecture on youth at risk, personal communication, October 14, 2013) stated during his lecture that this is not true and… 

Do you include the ISBN, translator or forms of address in the reference list?

ISBN, names of translators and forms of address are not included in a reference list. When you use works from classical literature that have been translated multiple times, list the name of translator after the title of the work accompanied by, if available, the original year of publication.
For own translations, see How to refer to personal translation of a source?


  • Piaget, J. (1969). The psychology of the child (H. Weaver, Trans.). New York, NY: Basic Books.
  • Plato. (1961). Meno (R. S. Bluck, Trans.). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. (Original work published ca. 380 B.C.).

Do you include the complete url, even when it is very long?

To be able to retrieve the website you have consulted, you will need to cite the entire link. Links sometimes consist of several lines and it is not always clear if they might work only temporarily.


The website of the above example above also contains a permalink (“permanent link”), which is not only shorter but also redirects to the right internet page, even when the link is temporary or modified.

Online magazine articles often contain a DOI ("digital object identifier"). This is an unique number which provides a long-lasting link for online articles. If you use DOI it is not neces-sary to add the date of consultation or downloading.

  • Poorjavad, M., et al. (2010). Oropharyngeal dysphagia in multiple sclerosis. Multiple sclerose journal, 16 (3), 362-365. doi:10.1177/1352458509358089

A DOI is made into a link by adding the following text: http://dx.doi.org/. The example above will become http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1352458509358089.

Does APA use end or footnotes?

APA does not recommend the use of footnotes and endnotes. However, it is not against the rules. You can refer shortly to your source in the main text (go to In-text citations). The complete description is then listed in your reference list (for examples go to Reference list). The reason for this is economical: it saves paper.

Is it possible to check the correct spelling of names, titles, etc. somewhere?

The right orthography of the names of authors, publishers, etc. can be checked at the HAN Catalogue and WorldCat. WorldCat also gives the correct APA guidelines of the title you have looked up, by clicking the option “Cite/Export”.

Where can I find additional information regarding APA guidelines?

You can find the APA guidelines in the following publication, which is available at the HAN Study Centres Kapittelweg and Gymnasion in Nijmegen and Economie-Techniek in Arnhem:

American Psychological Association. (2010). Publication manual of the American Psy-chological Association (6th ed.). Washington: American Psychological Association.

APA also holds a blog: http://blog.apastyle.org.

Looking for an example that is not listed above? Let us know by e-mailing to auteursrecht@han.nl.

When in doubt, try to be as complete as possible. Remember that the goal of creating a reference list is to enable people to trace back the sources that you have listed.