How do I find a journal abbreviation?

Thanks to our Saturday librarian Marg Baltzer for this helpful post! – HC

The citation style that I have to use abbreviates the name of the journal. Where can I find the correct abbreviation for the journals that I cite in my paper?

There are four main sources you can use to determine the correct abbreviation. If one source does not list the abbreviation you are looking for, try the next one on the list! (If you are off campus, make sure you login first)

If you try all four sources and still can’t find your abbreviated journal title, don’t make it up! Some journal titles aren’t abbreviated, including some that are just one word titles. Talk with your professor to know how you should proceed!

  1. Ulrich’s Periodical Directory. When you login to Ulrich’s all you need to do is search for the journal name, click on the title and then scroll down to, and click on ‘additional title details’. It may or may not have the abbreviation listed.
  2. Web of Science. In Web of Science, click on the arrow right beside ‘basic search’
    Basic search arrowFrom the drop down list, choose ‘cited reference search’. Under the second search box you will see “view abbreviation list”. From this page, you can navigate to the required journal title
  3. NLM Catalog. On the search page of the National Library of Medicine (PubMed), find and click on ‘Journals in NCBI Databases”. Enter your journal title and the results will give you the correct abbreviation.
    4. Journal Seek. In JournalSeek , simply enter your journal title and if the journal is in their database, the search results will give you the correct abbreviation

How do you cite a website?

Obviously the exact formatting of citations depends on the style you’ve been asked to use (i.e. APA, MLA, Uniform/ICMJE Requirements, etc).  You won’t need all of the information below for every single citation style. But in general you need to try to find the same type of information you would in a print resource.

  1. Author
    • Look for whoever wrote the page.  If it’s not listed at the bottom or the top of the page/article that you’re using, look on the “contact us” page or “about us” page of the website.
    • You may not find an individual author.  This is okay (if you feel that the site is reputable and reliable).  In most citation styles, you would just skip this information.
    • The organization responsible for providing the website is often the author – especially when it’s a government site, or a major organization like the American Psychological Association or the Canadian Diabetes Association.
  2. Title
    • You will likely need to find two titles: the name of the webpage you’re using, and the name of the  overall website that page falls under.  My example below demonstrates this: the webpage name is “Bipolar disorder – what are the symptoms?” while the website name is Mind Your Mind.  I will need both of these pieces of information for my citation.
  3. Publisher
    • Often, this is just the name of the website – what you’re looking for is who produces or sponsors the site.
    • In a big organization, like the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the publisher is the Heart and Stroke Foundation.
    • Some not-for-profit organizations (and even some for-profit sites) will have a sponsor who pays for their site.   This information could be little, like an icon on the bottom of the page so look carefully!  [I’ve included an example from WebMD below so you can see what I mean.  In this case, the sponsor is NCI, but I only found that information by scrolling down the page].
    • If you can’t find a publisher or sponsor (i.e. if it’s an average person’s website rather than an organization’s) make sure to include “n.p.” in your citation where the publishing information should go (as in “no publisher”).
  4. Location of Publication

    • Not all citation styles require this information, and it’s often tricky to find.  Just try your best!
  5. Date of Publication
    • Normally this information is found at the bottom of the page, next to the words “last updated.”
    • If you see a website that has a date like “c2010”, that’s actually the copyright date, not the date of publication.  If this is the only date you can find, make sure to include the “c” in your citation.
    • If you can’t find a date of publication anywhere on the site and you still want to use it in your bibliography, most citation styles require you to say “n.d.” in your citation where the date should go (as in “no date”).  See my examples below so you know what I mean.
  6. Estimated Length or Number of Pages

    • If you are citing a PDF from a website, this part’s easy.  But for normal websites,  some citation styles require you to count the number of paragraphs on the page that you’re using.  Have fun!
  7. Accessed Date or Retrieved Date or Cited Date

    • Make sure to record the date that you looked at the website, in case the content is updated.
  8. URL
    • Some citation styles don’t require this anymore, when you look at their manual.  Make sure to check with your professor before skipping this information, though.



Author, A. A. (Date). Title of website. Retrieved from URL.

Kessy, S. S. A, & Urio, F. M. (2006). The contribution of microfinance institutions to poverty reduction in Tanzania. Retrieved from

ICMJE Requirements (previously known as Uniform Requirements)

Title of website [Internet]. Location of site sponsor/publisher: Sponsor/Publisher; Copyright date [updated Date; cited Date]. Available from: URL. [Internet]. New York: Association of Cancer Online Resources, Inc; c.2000-2010 [updated 2010 May 16; cited 2011 Oct 3]. Available from:


Author, First Name. Title of Source. Publisher, Date, Location.

Eaves, Morris. The William Blake Archive. Lib. of Cong., 28 Sept. 2007,