Care must be taken in searching for information on the Internet. Unlike both the print resources found in the library and the electronic databases provided by the library, freely available Internet resources have not necessarily been published by reputable academic publishers nor have they been selected by librarians with expertise in their subject area. Nearly anything can be posted on a website, and just because it is available online does not mean it is valid or authoritative.
However, this does not mean that you cannot find good resources on the Internet; the key to doing so is to carefully evaluate what you find on the web. If you use web resources, be sure to ask these questions:
- Who is the author of the Web site? Are the author's credentials listed?
- What institution or organization is behind the Web site?
- When was the Web site created or last updated?
- Who is the intended audience for the Web site?
- Is the information provided objective or biased?
- How does information provided by the site compare to other works, including print works?
These "general guidelines' are based on MLA style. Always follow your instructor's requirements, advice, or suggestions, however.
· A first citation must be complete. Subsequent references are abbreviated in standard forms. Many well known texts are then cited (in the text of your paper even using endnotes) simply by the customary Latin title (first few words) like Divino Afflante Spiritu.
· A work issued by the overall Church (like the Catechism, or any Vatican II document) is cited ONLY by its title from the publication information. No need to precede the cite with Catholic Church as author. If in doubt, ask. Still, some variations are common in church document citation, depending on the audience and sources being cited, or the advice of the instructor.
· In MLA style, honorific titles like "Pope," "Father" or "Cardinal" or "D.D." are not added after, or before, a name.
· If a document is issued by a constituted church body or organization (rather than by an individual as ecclesiastical authority) use the title page information as far as practicable. Also cite the group's name from the title page, preferring an English version if given (this is often not the case in CLICnet records).
· In theology and church writings, citing the paragraph or section number of a work is regular practice. This is often preferred over MLA style of page number citation in the actual edition consulted. Nonetheless, it is usually acceptable to use paper numbers from the publication. Check with your instructor - he or she may ask you to cite by paragraphs or section numbers alone and not page numbers. Always follow your instructor's requirements in every case. Be sure to ask if in doubt.
In theological research, simply citing paragraph or section numbers is a standard practice, often preferred over the page number in the actual edition "in hand." Still, it is usually perfectly acceptable to use the publication page numbers.