Legal Question in Technology Law in Maine

Citing Website References

If you are using information obtained off a web site in a report or document, and you are not sure of the original source, how do you cite it? E.g., data from the CDC being "crunched" and placed on a web site - is the CDC the origin, or is the organization using the data in other reports (as in rates) the origin? Do you cite both, if known? Thanks.

Asked on 8/10/99, 11:10 am

2 Answers from Attorneys

Bruce Burdick Burdick Law Firm

Re: Citing Website References

Just do what is reasonable to try to give the credit to the source without making any guarantees. For example: "This material was extracted from the website and appears to be crunched information from the CDC. Since we did not create it or modify it, we cannot verify its accuracy or original source."

If you put such a "disclaimer credit" I see little way anyone would have a claim against you except possibly for copyright infringement,if your copying is not authorized. Keep in mind that just because you give credit does not mean you can infringe copyrighted material. For example, I can't legally copy Star Wars-Episode I and put it on the web just because I give credit to ILM and George Lucas.

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Answered on 8/16/99, 12:16 pm
Gerry Elman Elman Technology Law, P.C.

Re: Citing Website References

There are lots of sources of guidelines for citation style, depending on the kind of document you're writing. If it's a legal document, take a look at the Web Sites linked at the American Bar Association's page:

If the paper is being written for another context, then apply the rules taught by the most appropriate organization or information source. For example:

Modern Language Ass'n Style of Citation:

American Psychological Ass'n Style of Citation:

Chicago Style Manual (Turabian):

And here are some links to various style manuals:

Another set of links:

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Answered on 8/14/99, 8:15 am

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