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How do I cite a YouTube video, or a TV advert, or a podcast?

March 27, 2013

…or a computer game, a film trailer, or an extract from a radio programme? does it make a difference if it’s on a DVD or CD or on the web?

The British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) has just published a set of guidelines to help students, academics and researchers reference the growing diversity of audio-visual materials in this digital world.

Here’s their press release:

BUFVC Audiovisual Citation Guidelines

BUFVC Audiovisual Citation Guidelines

Have you ever wondered how to cite a television advert? Or what about an extra from a DVD? Do you ever need to provide advice to students or contributors about how to reference audiovisual content within their own work? The British Universities Film & Video Council (BUFVC) has today launched a pioneering set of guidelines to help answer all these questions and more.Despite the exponential increase in the use of audiovisual material in teaching, learning and research in higher and further education, existing guidelines for the referencing of moving image and sound are often insufficient as they are based on standards developed for the written word.

The newly launched guidelines are practical, accessible and applicable to a wide range of different users across all disciplines. They encourage best practice in citing any kind of audiovisual item and cover film; television programmes; radio programmes; audio recordings; DVD extras; clips; trailers; adverts; idents; non-broadcast, amateur and archive material; podcasts; vodcasts; and games.

In the era of YouTube, podcasts and vidcasts it is crucial for students, researcher and academics alike to be able to cite these sources clearly and ensure references can be traced back unambiguously.

“This guide now makes it possible for any writer (even a student) to lead their readers to the exact audiovisual source they are discussing.” John Ellis, Professor of Media Arts, Royal Holloway, University of London

A free interactive version of the guide is available to download from the BUFVC website:

And here’s my first attempt to use the guidelines, to reference the Volunteering Team’s UWL Harlem Shake for Red Nose Day.

A YouTube video would appear to come under the heading of New Media >User-generated online content, for which the  format is:

Given Title or ‘Track title’, Main Title [type, format] Production credit. Production Company/Sponsor/Private, Country of production, date created/uploaded/published. Duration. Start-end timings of extract. [release information, e.g. production company, catalogue number, date of specific edition] or point of access, e.g. original web URL (date of access).

which gives us, according to the YouTube example in the guidelines:

UWL Harlem Shake for Red Nose Day [user-generated content, online] Creat. UWLVolunteeringTeam. 12/03/2013, 2mins 42secs. (accessed 27/03/2013).

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