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APA 7th Edition Referencing Guide1

A Wintec Library guide to referencing in APA 7th edition style

How do I format a reference when there is information missing?

Missing author, date, title or source

The following table outlines how you can adapt your reference entries when information is missing.

Resources with unknown or anonymous authors may not be reliable/authoritative; consider using alternative sources. See Publication Manual (7th ed.), section 8.14, pp. 264–265. 


Missing element Solution

Reference list entry

(Check the APA guide to see if Title Case or Sentence case is appropriate for the title of your source type.)

In-text citation
No author If no individual or corporate author is named, use the title as the author

Title. (Date). Source.

However the title looks in the What position, is how it should look in the Who/author position:

Write the title in sentence case.

If the source requires the title to be italicised, you need to italicise it in the author position.

If the title of the source is not italicised in the reference, use double quotation marks around the title in the in-text citation and use Title Case.

If the title is long, shorten it for the in-text citation.

If the title includes a [Format], include this in the author position as well.

If you're unsure, check the guide, or ask your liaison librarian.

(Title, year).

Title (year) ...



(Title, year).

Title (year) ...


("Title in Title Case", year).

"Title in Title Case" (year) ...

No date Use n.d. (which stands for no date) in place of the date Author. (n.d.). Title. Source

(Author, n.d.).

Author (n.d.) ...

No title

Describe the work in square brackets.

Author. (Date). [Description of document]. Source

Italicise the title if the title for the same type of information source is normally written in italics.

(Author, year).

Author (year)
No source Cite as personal communication No reference list entry

(C. C. Communicator, personal communication, month day, year).

C. C. Communicator (personal communication, month day, year)

This table has been adapted from the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed), page 284. This information is also available from the APA Style Blog at and the table found at

It is quite common for websites to not have a specific date. However, if your resource is missing significant reference information, you may need to question its validity as an academic resource for your research and perhaps use another, better source.

How can I reference a resource that lists no date?

It is quite common for websites to have no obvious date (remember to avoid using the copyright date on websites as this date may be for the whole website, rather than the specific information you are citing). 

In this case use n.d. (which stands for no date). 

Reference list entry

Department of Conservation. (n.d.). New Zealand's remarkable birds

In-text citations


Department of Conservation (n.d.) observes that...(para. 2).


(Department of Conservation, n.d., para. 2)


How can I reference a journal that with missing issue numbers?

If you cannot find an issue number for the article you are referencing, then you can just omit that information from your reference.  For example:

Reference list entry

Sanchiz, M., Chevalier, A., & Amadieu, F. (2017). How do older and young adults start searching for information? Impact of age, domain knowledge and problem complexity on the different steps of information searching. Computers in Human Behavior, 72, 67–78.

In-text citations

Sanchiz et al. (2017) argue... (p. 68)

(Sanchiz et al., 2017, p. 68).



How can I reference a journal with a missing volume number?

It is unlikely a journal article will not have a volume number, sometimes you have to look very carefully for it.  However, if you can't find one just omit it and put the issue number in brackets as you usually would.  Sometimes the year will double as the volume number, in this case, put it in as you would the volume number. For example:

Reference list entry

Peterhansel, C., Horst, I., Niessen, M., Blume, C., Kebeish, R., Kurkcuoglu, S., & Kreuzaler, F. (2010). Photorespiration. The Arabidopsis Book, 2010(8), 1-24.

In-text citations

Peterhasel et al. (2010) point out... (p. 13)

(Peterhasel et al., 2010, p. 13).



How do I reference a journal or magazine article with a season instead of volume and issue numbers?


If a journal or magazine is published by season and does not include a volume or issue number, include the season with the date in parentheses. For example:

Reference list entry

Ratner-Rosenhagen, J. (2019, Spring). The end of the world as we know it? Dissent

In-text citations

Ratner-Rosenhagen (2019) argues... (para. 4).

(Ratner-Rosenhagen, 2019, para. 4).


Include only the year in in-text citations; the season is not necessary.
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