Help:Formatting Guidelines for Citations

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For our citation policy, see Fanlore:Citation. For technical help on how to generate a footnote with wiki code, see Help:Footnotes.

These formatting guidelines are for citing printed, electronic, and online public content. We have also provided some suggestions for citing private and semi-private material.

If you are citing a source that has a Fanlore page (such as a fan or a book about fandom or a fanzine), please link to the Fanlore page about that source.

Online Sources

When you cite online sources either in the text of your Fanlore article (inline citations) or in its footnotes, you should include some or all of the following information:

  • Name or title of the content you are citing (strongly recommended)
  • Name or title of the venue where the content is hosted (recommended for communities, mailing lists, and forums)
  • Author/s of the content (strongly recommended)
  • Date the content was published [Day/Month/Year] (if available)
  • Date that you last successfully accessed the content [Day/Month/Year] (strongly recommended)
  • The format of the content, e.g. PDF, Word, Flash (recommended if the content is not in a commonly web accessible form, or is in a form that requires a browser plug-in that may not be widely available)
  • Access restrictions, e.g. password required, moderator permission required, membership required (recommended where applicable)

Generally, Fanlore editors use footnotes for anything complicated and have the option of just providing an inline link like this if the citation info can be easily worked into the main text. Example:

On November 10, 2003, Jane Q. Fan posted a story called Mary Sue Rides Again! on her website, Jane Q's Fanfiction Cave.

See below for examples of footnote citations.

Citing web pages, journals, and blogs

Online article, New York Times:

[1] Doe, J. Fan fiction: What happens when fans get into the act, New York Times, 14 January 2004 (requires registration). (Accessed 04 August 2008.)

PDF on personal website, originally published in a zine:

[3] Fan, Jane Q. Mary Sue Redux (PDF), published in March 2005 in Merry Mary Sue-age, by Fanfic Readers Anonymous Press. (Accessed 25 August 2008.)

Post in a personal livejournal:

[2] username. title of the post, posted to LiveJournal on 1 January 2012. (Accessed 1 January 2012.)

Citing mailing list, forum, journal communities, and message board posts

Forums, message boards, and journal communities follow the same formatting rules shown in the mailing list examples below.

Public lists:

[1] Fan, Jane Q. Parody or its own category? The great Mary Sue debate, posted on 12 June 2004 at Fanfic Archivists. (Accessed 15 July 2008.)

Membership lists:

[1] Fanfic Archivists (requires membership). (Accessed 15 July 2008.)

Limited membership lists:

[1] Fanfic Archivists-L (requires moderator approval). (Accessed 15 July 2008.)

Locked LiveJournal community:

[4] Mary Sue 4 Evah (requires membership). (Accessed 25 August 2008.)

Citing tweets and tumblrs


Tweet by Dale McCready, on April 8, 2011. (Accessed Feb 4, 2012.)


McCready, Dale. April 8, 2011 tweet. (Accessed Feb 4, 2012.)

See also MLA's style guide.



Citing email and transcripts of chat rooms and instant messages

If all parties have agreed to disclose the contents of an email message or a transcript, you may cite and/or link to it.

In some cases, an original poster (OP) or content creator may agree to let you quote and cite them in a wiki article. In these cases, the OP must grant approval prior to your quoting of the content on the wiki. When in doubt, ask the OP how they want you to cite this content. For example, they may want you to link to the home page of the forum or journal, or of the OP's website; or they may prefer that you simply cite it as "personal correspondence" with the OP. Include a date where possible.


[1] Jane Q. Fan, personal communication, 9 August 2006. (Accessed 21 August 2008.)

Chat and instant message transcripts:

[1] Transcript of chat from June 2, 2007. (Accessed 21 June 2008.)
[2] Jane Q. Fan, instant message transcript, 9 August 2006. (Accessed 21 June 2008.)

Other Sources

For print sources (e.g., zines and books) and electronic sources that are not online (e.g., television episodes and films, not that we cite those much), you can use a standard citation format, such as those defined by the American Psychological Association and the Modern Language Association.

You can use any of the above, but you should probably stick to one citation style within the same article. However, Fanlore has no APA or MLA citation police, so don't worry too much about format.

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