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Art History

A subject guide for art history at Colorado Mountain College

No matter what style you're using, citations need a few basic elements:

  1. Author: who wrote it?
  2. Title: what's this article called?
  3. Publication: which journal or publisher published the piece?
  4. Date: When was it published? Which issue and volume?
  5. Page: Where is it in the journal?
  6. DOI: Where can your readers find it online?

Depending on which style, those elements will look a little different in your citation.  Let's look at citations for the article "Effects of a brief grateful thinking intervention on college students' mental health," written by Tyler L. Renshaw and Dana K. Rock.  It appeared in the journal Mental Health & Prevention, volume 9, in March 2018, on pages 19-24.  It can be found online at

APA 7th Ed.

Renshaw, T. L., & Rock, D. K. (2018). Effects of a brief grateful thinking intervention on college students' mental health. Mental Health & Prevention, 9, 19-24.

MLA 9th Ed.

Renshaw, Tyler L., and Dana K. Rock. “Effects of a Brief Grateful Thinking Intervention on College Students’ Mental Health.” Mental Health & Prevention, vol. 9, 2018, pp. 19–24. Accessed 17 Aug. 2023.

Reasons to cite:


Imagine you're walking down the street, and a random person pulls you aside to let you know that 80% of artists are actually communists. And aliens. And maybe just unkind people, too.  Would your first reaction be to:

  • Nod and say "Huh, I never knew that, but I guess they are just kind of unkind, communist aliens, huh?" 
  • Or would you ask them where they got their information before you believed them?  (<--Do this one, please.)

The same applies when someone is reading your paper.  If you just throw a fact out without providing a source, why should they believe it?  Citing gives your words authority and believability.

Giving Credit

If you're using information in your paper that you found somewhere else (hint: this should almost always be the case), it's just polite to give credit to the original author.  Also, if you don't, you could be committing plagiarism, which is a big no-no.  Even if you're not directly quoting, if you paraphrase information or ideas from another source, you should cite.

Helping Others Learn

When you cite, you're helping other people learn, by helping them track down the sources you used, if they want to learn more.

APA 7th Edition Citation Examples

APA 7th Edition Example Sheet

Books and Encyclopedias

Book with one author (no DOI included)

Beam, J. L. (2023). Starting strong: How to write fake citations like a champ. Imaginary Publishing.

Parenthetical citation: (Beam, 2023), (Beam, 2023, p. 201)

Narrative citation: Beam (2023) said “blah blah blah” (p. 201).

Note: If you’re paraphrasing, you don’t need the page number in the in-text citation.  If you directly quote, include the page number.

Books with multiple authors

Bell, T., & Cosma, W. V. (2018). Waiving the wand: When to get rid of magic in children’s lives. Fairyl & Press.

Platypus, P. T., Squarepants, S., & O’Neal, A. (2019). Flying with bananas: The power of fruit in enclosed spaces. Little Nope Press.

Parenthetical citation: (Bell & Cosma, 2018), (Platypus et al., 2019)

Narrative citation: Bell and Cosma (2018) argue…, Platypus et al. (2019) said…

Note: List all author names in the references list, unless you find a source with more than twenty authors.  If you do, list the first nineteen, then put an ellipsis (…) after the nineteenth name to indicate there are more.

If there are two authors, put them both in the parentheses.  If there are three or more, just list the first name, then et al.

Entry in an encyclopedia (online)

List of tautological place names. (2023, August 5). In Wikipedia.

Parenthetical notation: (“List of Tautological Place Names”, 2023).

Narrative notation: According to the article “List of Tautological Place Names” (2023)…

Journals & Magazines

Journal article with a DOI

Fett, B., & Skywalker, A. (2021).  Helmet effectiveness in villainy: A longitudinal study of evil cranium protection. Intergalactic Journal of Antagonists & Henchmen, 23 (4), 170-182.

Parenthetical citation: (Fett & Skywalker, 2021)

Narrative citation:  Fett & Skywalker (2021) found that…

Notes: What’s a DOI, you ask?  It stands for Digital Object Identifier, and is a unique string of letters and numbers used to identify an article or document.  They are often listed as URLs, like the one in the example above.  If it doesn’t start with, just add that to the beginning of the number.

Journal article without a DOI (from a database)

Rabbit, O.T.L., Mouse, M., & Phillips, R. (1982). The fading line: An ecocriticism of forgotten cartoon characters. CCA: The Journal of Cartoon Characters that were Way Better than Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, 17(2), 62-68.

Journal article without a DOI (from the internet at large)

Doe, J. (2023). I’m tired of thinking up names and titles: A librarian’s plea for help. American Journal of Things that Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time, 10(1), 15-16.

Notes: Whenever possible, include a DOI instead of a normal URL.

Webpages and Online Government Reports

Webpage with a listed author (news site)

Snape, S. (2018, August 15). How to get away with horrific bullying by redeeming yourself in the last act. Daily prophet online.

Parenthetical citation: (Snape, 2018)

Narrative citation: Snape (2018) somehow posthumously said…

Webpage without an author or written by an organization

American Library Association. (2020). Librarians write too many weird guides.

Parenthetical citation: (American Library Association, 2020)

Narrative citation: The American Library Association (2020)…

Notes: If the name of the organization and the name of the website are the same, just list them as the author (like the example above).  If the association and the website have different names, include the site name after the page name.

Online government report

Ministry of Funny Walks. (1974). Efficacy of adding a third skip per stride.

Parenthetical citation: (Ministry of Funny Walks, 1974, p. 17)

Narrative citation: In their report, the Ministry of Funny Walks (1974)…