You have probably had difficulty at some time locating information about electronic resources: they can change or even disappear, and that makes citing them in your reference list challenging. Various publishers have started using what is called a DOI number that offers readers a persistent link to the source on the Internet. Below is a guide on how to cite with a DOI number.
What Is a DOI?
A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a string of numbers and letters that uniquely identify a source. They can be found in a library entry; here is an example:
How Do You Use a DOI in a Reference List?
You use a DOI number instead of the URL. You do not need to list the database you used to find the source either. Here is an example:
Prabhu, V., Sutton, C., & Sauser, W. (2008). Creativity and certain personality
personality traits: Understanding the mediating effect of intrinsic
motivation. Creativity Research Journal, 20(1), 53-66. doi:
(Note: The APA manual uses lower case in the reference list but all caps in the explanations.)
How a Reader Uses a DOI Number
Your professor can check your reference by entering the DOI into www.CrossRef.org where the number will serve as a way to find that reference.
Use the URL if There Is No DOI Number
When there is no DOI number, use the URL. Here is an example:
Bunce, A. (1995, September 9). Beowulf in the boardroom: Executive ponder
poetry. Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved from
APA Electronic Reference Style Guide
The Library has a copy and so does the Writing Center. You can download a copy for $11.95 from:
The Purdue Online Writing Center web site also has a fantastic APA electronic references section that includes DOIs: