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Citing Sources

Referencing, avoiding plagiarism, and presentation of the Chicago Style

Audiovisual and Electronic Sources

Electronic content is often impermanent and manipulable. If a source changes or becomes unavailable, citations to that source may need to be adjusted. It is therefore essential to verify the accuracy of citations to electronic content as close to the publication date as possible.

Some databases or electronic periodicals provide persistent links to make citations easier. The Digital Object Identifier (DOI) allows assigning a unique and permanent identifier to electronic sources. It is possible to find an electronic document through its DOI on this web site.

A DOI can also be converted into a URL in this way: (example: j.jet.2003.12.008 ). This link leads directly to the document.  

This web site allows you to format automatically a citation in the style of your choice starting from the DOI.

The « author-date » system may be less suitable for electronic and audiovisual sources, because the date of publication is essential in this system, and it is sometimes difficult to find the date of publication of an electronic document. This is why we will sometimes give examples only for the  « notes and bibliography » system.

First Name Last Name, Title of the movie. Original release date; place of publication: Publisher, date of publication. Type of medium.

Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, dir. The Lives of Others. 2006; Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate Entertainment, 2007. DVD.

Last Name, First Name. Title. Original release date; place of publication: Publisher, date of publication. Type of medium.

Henckel von Donnersmarck, Florian, dir. The Lives of Others. 2006; Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate Entertainment, 2007. DVD.

Scenes are individually accessible in DVDs, so they can be treated as chapters and cited by title or by number.

Example (note)
"Dans la forteresse", La grande illusion, directed by Jean Renoir (1937; Boulogne-Billancourt: Studio Canal, 2001), DVD.

It is also possible to cite ancillary material, such as critical commentary, or documents included in the DVD’s supplements. If it is a material original to a specific edition of the DVD, it is not necessary to mention the original release date of the film. 

"Making Of", The Lives of Others, DVD. Directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate Entertainment, 2007.

Information on the Internet is often posted without clear indication of authorship, title, publisher or date, that is, without standard facts of publication. If no facts of publication,  or very few, can be determined, it is still necessary  to include information beyond the URL, which may change or become obsolete. A complete citation must not only indicate where a source is or was located, but also what a source is. For original content from online sources other than periodicals, include as much of the following as can be determined: title of the site, owner or sponsor of the site, title of the page, publication date or date of revision or modification, URL. It is recommended to keep a copy of any source that is likely to change or disappear.

"Title of the page or the document," Title of Web site, Owner/Sponsor of Web site, Date of publication or revision or access date, URL.

"Joost Pauwelyn on the Data-Driven Future of Legal Research," The Geneva Graduate Institute (website), 16 October 2017,

Author of the post, "Title of the post", Title of the blog, Date of the post, URL.

Catriona Murdoch and Wayne Jordash, "Will Seven Millions Starving Yemenis Ever Find Justice?", iLawyer (blog), October 2, 2017,

If no date can be determined from the source, include the date the material was last accessed. If the material is a recording of a speech or other performance, or if it is a digital version of a published source, include information about the original performance or source. For multimedia designed to run on a web browser, a file format does not need to be mentioned; if a downloadable file was consulted, specify format.

YouTube Video

"Gianfranco Rosi on Fire at Sea", Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) Originals, October 18, 2016, video, 3:51,

TED Talk

Thunberg, Greta. "The disarming case to act right now on climate change." Filmed November 2018 in Stockholm, Sweden. TED video, 11:05.


"Building militaries in fragile states", interview of Mara Karlin by Jack Miraldi, February 21, 2019, in The Modern War Institute Podcast, podcast, 23:09,

Access dates in online source citations are of limited value, since previous versions will often be unavailable to readers, and the author may have consulted several versions in the course of research. The Chicago Manual of Style recommends therefore including the date of the last visit to the site only in time-sensitive fields such as law, where even small corrections may be significant, or when the professor or the editor asks it.  Add also an access date if the publication date or the date of the last modification can not be determined.

A very long URL can often be shortened simply by finding a better version of the link. But shortened versions provided by "URL shorteners", intended primarly for use with social media, should never be used, because such services could disappear, and the original URL identifies the domain name and other elements that may be important to the citation.