How Do I List YouTube in a Bibliography?

When writing an essay, if you quote, paraphrase or use an idea from a video you found on video website YouTube, you must give credit to your source. Because YouTube is a relatively new media source, as of publication, confusion sometimes exists over how to cite it in a bibliography. Many citation styles simply follow the system for posting any web media. Remember that the goal of citing a source is so that the reader can obtain information about the source.

Choosing a Citation Style

Different citation styles are used for different subjects to highlight the most important information for that discipline. Modern Language Association style is used mainly in literature and the humanities and tends to focus on the name of the author or creator. American Psychological Association style is used in the social sciences and focuses on the date of publication or posting. The Chicago Manual of Style format is used in history and other disciplines and is constructed so as not to disrupt the text with a plethora of sources. While each citation style tends to be used in a particular discipline, follow the citation system that your instructor requires.

APA Style

When citing a YouTube video in APA style, include the name or user name of the person posting, the date of posting, the name of the video (not italicized). Include the "Video file" designation and include the video URL.

officialpsy. (2013 March 7). Psy - Doing Gangnam Shake [Video file]. Retrieved from

MLA Style

According to the Purdue Online Writing Lab, the MLA doesn't indicate a specific YouTube video citation format. Purdue OWL suggests using the MLA standards for other Internet media. Note that YouTube is listed twice in this entry because it is both the website name and the publisher name.

The format is as follows:

Last Name, First Name (or username). "Title of Video." Online Video clip. YouTube (italicized). YouTube, Posting Date. Web. Date of Access.

For example:

officialpsy. "Psy - Doing Gangnam Shake." Online video clip. YouTube (italics). YouTube, 7 March 2013. Web. 12 April 2013.

Chicago Style

When citing a YouTube video in Chicago Style, do not begin with the username or name of the poster unless the poster created the video. If you know the name of the principle subject of the video, such as the performer, person being interviewed or director, then you can put this information first. You can also specify a certain part of the video by including the time you want to highlight.

Bibliography citation format:

Psy. "Psy - Doing Gangnam Shake." YouTube video, 1:03. Posted by "officialpsy," March 7, 2013.

Note that the footnote or endnote format is slightly different:

  1. Psy, "Psy - Doing Gangnam Shake," YouTube video, 1:03, posted by "officialpsy," March 7, 2013,