How To Cite A Database

How To Articles

When it comes to academic research or writing, properly citing databases is a crucial but often overlooked aspect. In this article, I will guide you through the process of citing a database, offering personal insights and commentary along the way.

Understanding the Importance of Database Citation

As a researcher, I’ve come to understand the significance of citing databases accurately. Not only does it give credit to the original creators of the data or information, but it also allows readers to locate the sources I’ve used. In an age where information is abundant but often unverified, citing databases adds a layer of credibility to my work.

APA Style Citation for Databases

One of the most commonly used citation styles is the APA (American Psychological Association) format. When citing a database in APA style, the basic format includes the author, publication date, title of the data set, and the URL of the database.

For example:

Author. (Year). Title of data set (Version number) [Description of form]. Name of Database. URL

MLA Style Citation for Databases

For those who prefer the MLA (Modern Language Association) style, citing a database involves including the author, title of the database, publication information, and the URL.

Here’s a simple MLA format example:

Author(s). "Title of the Database." Title of the Site, Publisher, Publication date, URL.

Personal Tips for Effective Database Citation

Based on my experience, one of the most important tips I can offer is to always double-check the accuracy of the information provided in the database. Additionally, make sure to include the retrieval date in your citation, especially if the content in the database is subject to change over time.


As we navigate through the vast landscape of data and information, it’s imperative to give credit where it’s due and guide others to the sources we rely on. Citing databases not only honors the original creators but also upholds the integrity of our own work. By mastering the art of database citation, we strengthen the foundation of academic and professional discourse.