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Citation & Format Guide: Format

Using Stable URLs for Citations

A bibliographic citation is meant to give the reader all of the information she needs to find and access the source being cited.  When citing a website, that means including the web address, otherwise known as the URL or Uniform Resource Locator.  Citing websites can be tricky.  While many works on the internet are freely open to anyone, many others are only available to verified users with a login or users who pay to get access to something behind a paywall.  If you are citing a source that requires a login or is behind a paywall, you MUST use what is variously called a stable URL or permalink.  While a stable URL/permalink will not necessarily give every reader access to the article or content, they will at least be directed to a page that shows that the article is indeed there.  If you instead put a non-stable URL, like the URL from the top browser bar, then a reader who types in or click on that link will not be directed to that article.

One specific type of stable URL is a DOI (Digital Object Identifier), a URL which is permanently linked to that object.  Anyone making online content can register their content with the DOI organization.  DOIs all begin or

Many article databases note a stable URL or include a tool for finding one.  On JSTOR, a stable URL and DOI can be found on the left side of the page when you click on an article.  On EBSCO Academic Search Complete, there is an option for obtaining a permalink at the bottom of the right-hand column; look for the chain-link icon.   Click on it and the permalink will appear above the article title.

Citation & Reference Tools

Use the 9th edition of A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (Turabian) for footnote and bibliographic citations. However, you can choose another style manual after consulting with your advisor (eg. SBL). Keep in mind that you must use a selected style consistently. The Learning Commons provides access to the following style guides:

Quick Tip

Turabian is the abridged version of the Chicago Manual of Style developed for students.


Reference Management Tools

Formatting Hanging Indentations


Chicago/Turabian style and other citation styles require that you format your bibliographical entries with hanging indentations.  A hanging indentation is when your top line sticks out half an inch to the left past any remaining lines below.  Hanging indentations make bibliography lists easier to search through:

Ali, Shaheen Sardar. “Teaching and Learning Islamic Law in a Globalized World: Some Reflections and Perspectives.” Journal of Legal Education 61, no. 2 (2011): 206-30. 

Azam, Hina. Sexual Violation in Islamic Law: Substance, Evidence, and Procedure. Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015.


Microsoft Word: Highlight the text you wish to format to hanging indentation, or get to where you want to start formatting that way.  Under the Home tab at the top, look for the Paragraph section of the menu (it looks like the image to the left). 

Click on the tiny expand box in the bottom right corner. 

The menu to the right should appear.  In the middle, under Indentation, there is a pull-down menu labelled Special.  Click on it, and select Hanging.  The box to the right, By, should automatically set to 0.5" or half an inch. 

Google Docs: There is a similar way to format hanging indentations in Google Docs.  Highlight the text you want to format that way, or get to the place in your document where you want to start formatting hanging indentations.  On the top menu bar, click on Format, then Align & Indent, and then Indentation Options.  Under Special indent, select Hanging and set it to .5 (inches).

Apple Pages, Microsoft Word, and Google Docs: All three programs allow you to format a hanging indentation through the ruler function.  Highlight the text you want to format that way or get to where you want to start formatting that way.  Then, if it is not already on, turn on the ruler function: in Microsoft Word, click on View in the top menu, and check the box for Ruler, or else type in Show Ruler into the Tell me what you want to do search; if you are using Apple Pages or Google Docs, click on View in the top menu, and select Show Ruler.  A ruler like this should appear:

Look for the hourglass-shaped triangles and box on the left.  Click and hold on the box at the bottom of the hourglass, and slide it it half an inch to the right.  Then, click on the top downward-pointing triangle, and slide it half an inch back to the left, where it started.

In Apple Pages the ruler looks like this: 

And in Google Docs, the ruler looks like this:

Look for the downward-pointing triangle and bar on the left.  Click and hold on the downward-pointing triangle, and slide it it half an inch to the right.  Then, click on the top little bar, and slide it half an inch back to the left, where it started.

Finally, if the program or platform you are typing in does not have any option for making hanging indentations, you can always try preparing the hanging indented entries in Word, Pages, or Google Docs, and then copying and pasting them into the uncooperative program.  That's what I had to do to get hanging indents to work in this LibGuide!