What if a source has no author, date, or title?


Click a link below to learn how to cite and reference a:

Source with no author

Source with no date

Source with no title

Source with no author AND no title

Source with no author:

First, check if the source has a group author.

A group author means an organization, government agency, company, or other form of group is responsible for the content:

  • On a website, look at the top for a banner or logo that appears on every page or find the contact information (e.g. the "About Us" page).
  • In a document or report, look at the first 1-3 pages to see if a group is listed as the author or publisher of the information.

If you cannot find a person(s) or group listed as the author, move the title into the author position:


Go ask Alice. (1971). Prentice Hall.

Citation (paraphrase):

(Go ask Alice, 1971).

Note: Only refer to an author as Anonymous if the work is signed as Anonymous.

Source with no date:

Replace the date element with the initials (n.d.):


Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research. (n.d.). Understanding substance use: A health promotion perspective. Heretohelp. https://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/infosheet/understanding-substance-use-a-health-promotion-perspective

Citation (paraphrase):

(Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research, n.d.).

Note: Do not use the copyright year on websites. Copyright on webpages refers to legal ownership and not the publication date.

Source with no title:

Replace the title element with a description of the work in [square brackets].


Denton, B. (2016, July 30). [Group of soldiers in a street in Falluja, Iraq]. The New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/31/world/middleeast/at-the-front-in-a-scarred-falluja.html?_r=0

Citation (paraphrase):

(Denton, 2016).

Source with no author AND no title:

Describe the work in [square brackets] in the author position, and then provide the date and publisher/URL.


[Cat in the window]. [Online image]. (2021). https://pixnio.com/fauna-animals/cats-and-kittens/cat-looking-window

Citation (paraphrase):

([Cat in the window], 2021).


For more information and examples, see the APA's blog post on how to incorporate missing information into citations and references.


  • Last Updated Mar 25, 2024
  • Views 4794
  • Answered By Library Staff

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