Informal Resources

Script of Video:

In this video, we will go over the following information about citing informal resources in APA:

  • Lecture notes
  • PowerPoints
  • Online forum/Discussion board posting
  • Email

Please note, all information mentioned is based on the 6th edition of the APA style guide.

To begin, let’s talk about the citation of lecture notes.


Course lecture notes taken by a student are considered “personal communication”, as they are unpublished and non-retrievable. For this reason, they are only cited within the text of your paper. It is not necessary to include them in your reference list.

For example, notes taken for a lecture given by Professor A. Smith would be cited as follows:

The Professor’s name, followed by the words “personal communication” in quotes, and lastly, the date the notes were taken (in this case, May 17, 2017).

This citation would come at the end of the sentence and would be placed in brackets.


Citation of a PowerPoint slide is somewhat more formal than lecture notes. For in-text citation, simply use the author’s surname and the year they were created.

It can be written like this… Or like this…

For your reference list, the author’s last name will be listed first, followed by their first name. The year of creation will be listed in brackets; and lastly, the name of the lecture should appear in italics. Be sure to provide the file format in brackets after the lecture title (for example, PowerPoint slides, or Word document).

If the resource was online and retrieved from a website, list the URL.


Online forum and discussion board postings follow similar formatting to online PowerPoints or lecture notes. In text citation follows the normal citation order: author’s surname followed by the year of creation.

Similarly, in the reference list, citations should list the author’s name, followed by the year. If the author's name is not available, provide the screen name. Place identifiers like post or message numbers, if available, in brackets.

It is important to note that titles for items in online communities (e.g. blogs, newsgroups, forums) are not italicized.

The URL of the discussion board should follow the title. In addition, if available, provide the URL where the message is archived (e.g. "Message posted to..., archived at...").


Finally, let’s discuss citation practices for emails.

Any information passed through email is considered “personal communication”, as they are unpublished and non-retrievable. Emails only need to be cited within the text of your paper.

Just as citation of lecture notes will appear, citation for an email will read as follows: author’s name, “personal communication”, and the date the email was written.

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