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How to Cite a YouTube Video: A Comprehensive Guide

Published August 10, 2023

Navigating the digital world demands accurate citation of sources, an act that promotes credibility and respect for intellectual property. As YouTube grows in popularity as a vital source of informative, educational, and entertaining videos, crediting this atypical source often poses a challenge. That said, incorrect or missing citations can, unfortunately, mar reputations.

For this reason, we decided to demystify the process and provide a detailed explanation of how to cite a YouTube video. Whether you are a student, researcher, or content creator, this guide will help maintain your intellectual integrity when using YouTube as a reference.

Detailed Guide to Citing a YouTube Video

Referencing a video posted on YouTube doesn’t need to be difficult. Simply follow the outlined steps on how to do it in APA, MLA, or Chicago style.

Citing a YouTube Video in MLA Style

To reference a YouTube video in MLA format, you’ll need the following details: the name of the video, the name of the uploader (real name, name of the company, or username), the date it was posted, and the URL.

Here’s the basic format:

Uploader’s Name. “Title of the Video.” YouTube, uploaded by “the uploader’s name,” date of upload, URL.

For example:

Buzzoid. “How to Grow your Instagram: A Comprehensive Tutorial.” YouTube, uploaded by Buzzoid, 15 Feb 2023, www.youtube.com/examplelink.

In the MLA style, an in-text citation would typically contain the uploader’s name and the time of the cited material in the video:

(Buzzoid 00:10:25 – 00:15:17)

Citing a YouTube Video in APA Format

APA style requires the video title, the upload date, the uploader’s name (as it appears on YouTube), and the site name (YouTube), followed by the video’s URL.

Here’s the structure:

Uploader [User name]. (Year, Month, Day). Title of the video [Video]. YouTube. URL

For instance, a Buzzoid tutorial citation would look like this:

Buzzoid [Buzzoid]. (2023, February 15). How to Grow your Instagram: A Comprehensive Tutorial [Video]. YouTube. www.youtube.com/examplelink

In APA format, the uploader’s name and the year are used for in-text citation:

(Buzzoid, 2023)

Citing a YouTube Video in Chicago Style

For Chicago style, you’ll need the uploader’s name, the title of the video in quotation marks, the social media site (YouTube), the publication date, and the URL.

Here’s the format:

Uploader’s name. “Title of the Video.” YouTube video, Duration. Date of publication. URL.

A Buzzoid tutorial would thus be cited as:

Buzzoid. “How to Grow your Instagram: A Comprehensive Tutorial.” YouTube video, 20:35. February 15, 2023. www.youtube.com/examplelink

Footnotes or endnotes are typically used instead of parenthetical citations in Chicago style. However, if a parenthetical citation is used, it should include the uploader’s name and the timestamp:

(Buzzoid, 10:25)

Note: Please keep in mind that these samples refer to a hypothetical video in which the cited material appears around 10 minutes and 25 seconds into the video. Always modify the timestamp to correspond to the point in the video from which you’re drawing information.

Special Cases in Citing YouTube Videos

Navigating the citation world might present unique challenges. Let’s look at how to cite a YouTube video when it’s not as straightforward as you’d hope.

1. Citing a YouTube Video from a Channel with Multiple Authors

When a channel has multiple authors, we recommend crediting the channel name rather than a specific individual, as it’s often unclear who the primary author is. In all three citation styles, this would replace the uploader’s name.

Example in MLA style:

Buzzoid Team. “Maximize Your Instagram Engagement.” YouTube, uploaded by Buzzoid Team, 20 April 2023, www.youtube.com/examplelink.

2. Citing a YouTube Video Without a Specific Author

If the video does not have a specific author, use the channel name in place of the author’s name, similar to the multiple authors’ situation.

Example in MLA style:

YouTube Help. “Navigating Your Dashboard.” YouTube, uploaded by YouTube Help, 2 March 2023, www.youtube.com/examplelink.

3. Citing a Comment from a YouTube Video

Sometimes, comments on YouTube videos can be insightful. To cite them, list the username of the comment’s author, the date of the comment, and the URL of the video.

Example in MLA style:

User12345. Comment on “Maximize Your Instagram Engagement.” YouTube, 25 April 2023, www.youtube.com/examplelink.

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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