Answered By: Elaine M. Patton
Last Updated: Apr 12, 2023     Views: 3211

Your instructor's guidelines override these recommendations, of course! 

MLA (9th ed.): Your Choice

You can link or not, but be consistent with yourself (that is, don't have some links clickable and some not).

If your paper will be read digitally, you can let Word hyperlink them.

If you don't want/need to hyperlink, omit the http:// or https:// from the beginning of the URL. 

Other Notes on MLA & Links

  • A URL that runs over 3 lines or is longer than the rest of the citation it belongs to can be truncated to just the main domain.
  • Do not use link shorteners like bit.ly.
  • Never add any slashes or dashes to the url. Make sure your document doesn't do that when wrapping lines of text.

APA (7th ed.): Clickable Preferred

If your paper will be read digitally, you should make your links (for both URLs and DOIs) live/clickable. Word will automatically do this after you paste in the link and hit space or enter afterwards.

Other Notes on APA & Links

  • Do not include the words "Retrieved from" or "Accessed from" (previous versions used this, but the current 7th edition does not).
  • You may choose to use shortDOIs or shortened URLs if a link is very long and complex.
  • For database articles that do not have a DOI, do not include a permalink or the database name as a substitute.

Chicago (17th ed.): Your Choice

Generally, your links will not be clickable. The manual doesn't explicitly comment one way or another except to note that publishers may choose different approaches (which isn't relevant to our undergrad assignments). Common practice seems to favor non-clickable links, however, but clickable links aren't forbidden, either. Best thing is to be internally consistent with yourself.

Other Notes on CMOS & Links

  • Do not use shorteners like bit.ly.
  • You can tidy up how a longer URL looks by strategically adding line breaks before a single slash (/), tilde (~), period, comma, hyphen, underscore, or other special character.

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