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Reference List

About DOIs and URLs

The last element in a reference to an electronic source is typically a clickable link to the material. There are two possible formats:

  1. DOI
  2. URL

Always search for a DOI first. If you do not find a DOI, and the source is not easily accessible in a database, provide a direct link/URL to the information. Use a permalink if available.

Note: If a source (like an ebook or a journal article) is easily accessible through databases, but does not have a DOI, cite it as a print source.


DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier and allows readers to access journal articles or electronic books with a type of direct link. DOIs can be found

  • near the bottom of the Detailed Record if using the Library's database,
  • at the top or bottom of the first page of the article, or
  • on the copyright page.

They should be formatted as follows:



If an online source has no DOI and is not easily accessible through databases, include a direct link to the source using its URL. Use a permalink if available. Use the following format:

  • Always use the full URL that takes the reader directly to the document.
  • When copying and pasting a URL, allow MS Word to automatically break the URL or move it to a new line: i.e. you don't need to do anything to it.
  • Keep URLs hyperlinked.
  • Do not end with a period.