Biography PDF on a website

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dsenn's picture
Biography PDF on a website


I am having difficulties trying to work out how to write a citation for a pdf article I found on a website. The article is a short biography of a relative on mine, written for a gardening website. I know how to cite a website but unsure on how to cite a pdf from the website.

The address for the biography (the webpage includes multiple biographies) is, Doreen Arney. Could you direct me to which section of E.E. I should be looking at to cite this pdf document.

Kind regards,

EE's picture

Ah, what a tangled web has been woven by those who created digital publishing!  There are at least two ways we might handle a PDF posted at a website:

Emphasis on the PDF:

In Layer 1 we would cite the PDF'd article (or other item) for whatever type of material it is; in Layer 2 we would cite the website and webpage that delivered the item.  EE 14.20 provides an example.  However, the PDF'd biographical article you are trying to cite lacks several essential pieces of information, so your first layer will look rather naked.

Emphasis on the website:

This is the better approach. To quote from our QuickSheet Citing Online Historical Resources: "Websites that offer multiple articles, collections, or databases are the online equivalent of books with independent chapters by different author. (EE 2.32 "Online Materials: Basic Elements to Cite" also covers this in more detail.)  You first cite the individual webpage/article/chapter/database in quotation marks, then cite the website in italics, then cite the publication place/URL and date in the same parentheses normally used for publication data, then cite the specific item.

You have several models here you might follow:

  • If you have the QuickSheet Citing Online Historical Resources, just follow the "Basic Template" on the first page. Since there's no author, you ignore that field.
  • If you have the 3d edition (or the new 3d edition revised), turn to the QuickStart Guide tucked into the flyleaf. Under "The Basics: Publications: Print & Online," follow the example for "Website with Multiple Offerings."  
  • If you have an earlier edition, you could follow the "E-journals & E-magazines" examples at 14.28.

In your case,

  • "Useful Gardening Information and Our Members Profiles," is the specific webpage (the equivalent of an article).
  • Strathalbyn Garden Club is the title of the website (as well as the name of the site's creator)
  • The biography that you choose to download, with its exact title (say: "Ruth Anderson —Life in Australia—July 2015") is the specific item that you choose from that web page. It would be cited after  the parenthetical URL for the web page.


  • If you have the QuickSheet Citing Online Historical Resources, just follow the "Basic Template" on the front leaf. Since there's no author, you ignore that field.

The Editor