How to Cite a YouTube Video

How to Cite a YouTube Video

Before getting to the point of how one can cite a YouTube video, it could be useful to understand why someone would need to cite a video clip and where. This is all because of the growing YouTube power. It is not just a convenient platform to post videos and a handy searching system to help you to find the necessary information in video format. Millions of items on YouTube include rare recordings and authors’ unique materials, and they all can serve as references for researchers, journalists, bloggers, etc.

But here the issue is: these videos are defined as intellectual property. Thus, in case you want to use the information told by some YouTube lecturer, you will have to cite the resource properly. It could be enough to simply name it and put a link to the exact video when you compose an unofficial personal blog entry. With articles or academic studies, it is just the other way round. Here the absence of the proper credits given to the YouTube authors is not just unethical. It can get you into the real reputational troubles. No one would like being accused of plagiarism.

That’s why there are rules on how to cite a YouTube video correctly. They are easy to remember and they will help you to avoid potential difficulties.

Obligatory Data for Putting a Reference to a YouTube Video

To form the citation string, you need to get the “ID” of the YouTube video. These will be certain details of the owner and of that exact video which are public,

  • YouTube channel title. If the author also provided the real name, include it too.
  • Exact YouTube video clip title.
  • Date of publishing.
  • URL.
  • Length of the video.

You might need to get more details if the chosen style requires them. Different styles have different requirements.

Style Formats Used to Cite YouTube Videos

MLA Format

MLA states for the Modern Language Association, which has introduced this style, guide for academic writing. The scope is humanities-based researches, particularly literary studies and essays.

APA Format

APA states for the American Psychological Association. As a result, most researchers turn to this style when they work on the sciences, particularly with practical tests. Though, theoretical researches are also applied here.

Chicago Style

It is the universal style appropriate for the footnotes and bibliography. With this style, you can put references neatly by combining them with the raised number which is applied to the definite word or phrase in the text.

The difference between these styles is in the order of elements and the appearance of the string. Let’s dig into this case deeper.

How to Cite a YouTube Video in MLA Format

Follow the order of the elements and note that you need to separate them with periods.

1. The title of the YouTube source channel. Put the period after it.

e.g.: Nobel Prize.

2. The title of the definite source video clip, and make sure to frame them with the quote marks. Again, use period.

e.g.: “Nobel Lecture: Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize in Literature 2017.”

3. The format definition: “online video clip”, but don’t put the quotation marks.

e.g.: Online video clip.

4. The platform and the publishing date. We deal with YouTube here, thus, specify this resource. Format this name in italics, put a comma and add the date when that video was posted. First, define the calendar date, then the month and then the year.

e.g.: YouTube, 7 December 2017

5. Source type: “Web”.

e.g.: Web.

6. The date of watching that video clip. Other citation formats will not require this additional specification, but in MLA format it is useful to protect your work. YouTube videos can be unstable, their creators can change the access settings, rename the clips or even delete them completely. YouTube itself can also delete the video on complaining, remove the sound because of the intellectual property abuse issues and so on. If you specify when exactly you referred to the video and included the information from it to your work, this will level such changes.

e.g.: 16 August 2019.

The full citation string:

Nobel Prize. “Nobel Lecture: Kazuo Ishiguro, Nobel Prize in Literature 2017.” Online video clip. YouTube, 16 August 2019. Web. 16 August 2019.

How to Cite YouTube Videos in APA Format

For the APA format of references, you will need to paste the URL of the source video in addition to the above details. The elements order will differ, periods work to separate them. Note that in this format you also use parentheses and brackets.

1. Identify the title of the YouTube channel and put a period.

2. Define the publishing date. First, specify the year, then the month and, at last, the calendar date. The date must be in parenthesis.

  • E.g.: (2018, September 20).

3. Enter the video clip title without the quote marks. Grammar rules regarding capital letters usage are perfectly suitable here.

  • E.g.: The Oxford Union | Join the Conversation

4. Define the content type and frame it with brackets. There is the standard term:

[Video file].

5. Paste the source YouTube video URL. For the long videos where the necessary information is announced at a certain time, use the option to copy the video URL at the current time. Precede the URL by the standard marker “retrieved from” or “retrieved by”.

  • E.g.: Retrieved by

The full reference string:

OxfordUnion. (2018, September 20). The Oxford Union | Join the Conversation [Video file]. Retrieved by

How to Cite a YouTube Video in Chicago Style

Chicago style differs by using commas to separate fragments of the citation string. The order of elements is different too.

1. The full name of the source video clip. Use quotes for it and put a comma after it, but it may not exceed the closing quote mark.

E.g.: “The Harvard College Mission of Discovery”

2. Specify the source video hosting platform and the type of content:

E.g.: YouTube video,

3. Characterize the length of the video, the format must be “hours:minutes: seconds”.

E.g.: 8:51,

4. Define the channel name and spell it as shown on YouTube, even with weird symbols.

E.g.: “Harvard University,”

5. Enter the publishing date: start from the month, then the calendar date, and then the year.

E.g.: July 10, 2019,

6. Enter the source YouTube video URL.

Here the reference is completed, so, put a period.

The full citation string:

  • “The Harvard College Mission of Discovery” YouTube video, 8:51, “Harvard University,” July 10, 2019,

I hope that this article helped to understand how to cite a YouTube video in your work correctly.

As many experts share their experience with the help of YouTube videos on different topics, this huge video platform is a great library with fresh and unique data. You might not find the information in other sources, but such video recordings are reliable, and they are not inferior to the traditional printed articles and books.

Use their knowledge to support your work, but don’t forget to give them proper credits for their efforts and generosity.

Get more info from our insights!

At Paytowritepaper, our main objective is to provide a high-quality assistance for academic assignment of any complexity. Except of writing help, we also share guides to different tasks and other information about student's lifestyles. Check the recommendations and reach our writers if you need any kind of writing assistance!

Get started

You may also like