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Print sources:

Generally, all the information needed for a citation can be found on the document's title page.

When citing government publications, try to follow the citation style you are already using (i.e. APA, MLA, Chicago Style) as much as possible.  As long as all parts of the citation are present, you can usually modify the style to be consistent with the rest of your bibliography.  When you are not sure which special rules apply, follow the guidelines on this page.

Basic form of citation:

Authoring/Issuing Agency.  Subgroup/Department of Issuing Agency.  Title.  Edition.  Personal Authors.  Agency Report Numbers.  (Medium) Place: Publishers, Date. (Series elements). (Notes)

Note:

  • Not all fields mentioned in the above guideline will apply to every document.  If, for example, no personal authors are given, simply leave out that section of the citation.
  •  Any fields placed in parentheses in the examples, should be placed in parentheses in your citation.
  • Author/Issuing Agency:  Always begin the entry with the name of the jurisdiction responsible, followed by the government body.

Example:
Jurisdiction  Government Body

Canada. Treasury Board. Blueprint for renewing government services using information technology.  Ottawa: Treasury Board of Canada.  1994.

Naming the jurisdiction is not needed when it is included in the name of the issuing agency.

Example:

 Issuing Agency       Jurisdiction     Author (Subgroup of Issuing Agency)

        ¯                                     ¯                   ¯

National Library of Canada. Advisory Committee on a Strategy for Preservation in Canadian Libraries. A national strategy for preservation in Canadian libraries.  Ottawa: National Library of Canada, 1992.                                      

Title:  Use the title most prominently displayed on the title page.  If there is a subtitle, separate it from the main title with a colon (:).

Example:

Canada.  Minister of Public Works and Government Services.  At Work in Rural Communities: A Directory of Programs and Services.  Government of Canada, 1998.  Catalogue No. A22-177/1998E.

If the name of the government body/department responsible for the publication is part of the title, it does not need to be repeated. For example, if the title page reads:

Report of the Review Committee on the Mandate and Productivity of Canada Post Corporation,

your citation should look like this:

Review Committee on the Mandate and Productivity of Canada Post Corporation.  Report.  Ottawa: Canadian Government Publications Center, 1985.

Personal/Corporate Author:  Add any personal/corporate authors in regular order, after the title.  Include the authors' role, for example "Edited by".

Example:Agriculture Canada.  Pesticide Safety.  Cessna, A.J. Ottawa: Agriculture Canada, 1988.  Agriculture Canada Publication 1825/E.

Medium:  You only need to specify the medium if it is something other than a printed book/document. If the item is in print format you can simply leave out the medium field.

Example: Statistics Canada. 1996 census public use microdata file. Individuals Recensement de 1996, fichier de microdonnées à grande diffusion.  (CD-ROM) Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1999.  Uses Beyond 20/20 browser.

Publisher:  The publisher is usually the same as the issuing agency.  However, if a major printer or distributor is given, use it as the publisher.

Example:  Canada. National Energy Board. Canadian Energy Supply and Demand, 1980-2000. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services, 1981.

Date:  Use the date most prominently displayed on the title page.  If only the copyright date is given, give it with a lower case "c" directly in front of it (no space).  If no date is given, use the initials "n.d." (no date) to indicate this.  If you have an idea what the date is (you might have seen it cited in a library catalogue, for example), put it in square brackets.

 Series elements:  List the full series title and number after the publication information.

Example:  Statistics Canada.  Family and Labour Studies.  Intergenerational Influences on the Receipt of Unemeployment Insurance in Canada and Sweden.  Corak, Miles, Bjorn Gustafsson and Torun Oesterberg.  11F0019MPE.  Ottawa: Statistics Canada, November 2000.  Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series, No. 159.

Notes:  The "Notes" part can contain information that does not fit into any of the other fields, but that you consider to be relevant for anyone trying to locate or use the source.  This could be information about the language, if it is other than English, or other relevant information, such as software requirements for certain electronic media.

 Example: Statistics Canada. 1996 census public use microdata file. Individuals Recensement de 1996, fichier de microdonnées à grande diffusion.  (CD-ROM) Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1999.  Uses Beyond 20/20 browser.

Electronic Sources:

The format of citations for electronic sources is similar to that of print sources, except that the "Notes" field and the "Medium" field are always required.

 Basic Form of Citation: (When citing entire databases)

Issuing Agency.  Title. (edition), (Medium).  Place: Supplier, Date.  (Note specifying format in more detail, number of diskettes, software or other, if required).  Available: URL or online address [Date accessed].

In the "Medium" field you would indicate that nature of the source (i.e. online database).  If the medium is part of the title, you do not need to repeat it.

Example:  Statistics Canada. 1996 census of agriculture CD-ROM = CD-ROM du recensement de l'agriculture de 1996.  Ottawa: Statistics Canada, 1997.  (Uses Beyond 20/20 browser).