Answered By: Jennifer Harris
Last Updated: Aug 19, 2022     Views: 303586

Generally speaking, if you cannot identify the author of a source, you move the title to the author position in the reference list/works cited and use a shortened version of the title for the in-text citation. If you cannot identify the publication date, you substitute n.d. for “no date.” Here are examples of how it works in the three major citation styles:

APA Style

If a source is missing both the author or publication date, the citation will include the title, "n.d." for "no date," and the source. Make sure that there is no identifiable author. Sometimes the author is a company or other group rather than an individual.

Reference Page

General Format

Title of resource. (n.d.). Source.

NOTE: The General Format doesn't include italics. This is because italic formatting of the title or source varies by resource type.

In-Text Citation

General Format

(Title, n.d.)

Title (n.d.)

For additional examples and tips on citing sources with no author or date in APA Style, check out the APA Style's page Missing Reference Information This link opens in a new window.

For a complete walk-through of citing sources in APA, check out the APA 7th Edition This link opens in a new window playlist.

MLA Style

Works Cited Entry

If there isn't an author, even an organizational/corporate entity, begin the citation with the title of the source. If there isn't a date, you just omit that information entirely.

General Format

Title. Publisher.

"Article Title." Journal Title, vol. #, no. #. pp. #-#. DOI.

If a source has an approximate date (e.g. circa 1500 or early 17th century), the MLA Handbook states that you should record the date as given. You will write out dates (e.g. 15th century becomes fifteenth century). See page 186 for more information.

If a source has an uncertain date (e.g. possibly 1890 or 1765?) list the date followed by a question mark. See page 186 for more information.

Works Cited Entry Examples

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Circa 1400-10, British Library, London, Harley MS 7334.

Dickinson, Emily. "Distance - is not the Realm of Fox." 1870?, Pierpont Morgan Library, New York City. Manuscript.

For additional examples and tips on citing sources with no author or date in MLA Style, check out the Purdue OWL (Works Cited This link opens in a new window, Parenthetical Reference This link opens in a new window).

Chicago Style

If the author or editor is unknown, the note or bibliography entry should normally begin with the title. An initial article is ignored in alphabetizing. When the publication date of a printed work cannot be ascertained, the abbreviation n.d. takes the place of the year in the publication details. A guessed-at date may either be substituted (in brackets) or added. The rest of the citation will follow the format of the source (book, journal, website, other medium).

Bibliography Entry

General Format

Title. Location: Publisher, n.d.

"Title." Source vol#, issue no. (n.d.): page(s).

Note Entry

General Format

2. Title (Location: Publisher, n.d.), page(s).

3. "Title," Source vol#, issue no. (n.d.): page(s).

More information

Further Help

This information is intended to be a guideline, not expert advice. Please be sure to speak to your professor about the appropriate way to cite sources in your class assignments and projects.

Campus Students

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Online Students

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American Psychological Association. (2020). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.).

The Modern Language Association of America. (2016). MLA Handbook. Modern Language Association of America.

University of Chicago. (2017). The Chicago Manual of Style. University of Chicago Press.

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