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Referencing Toolkit

Citing Secondary Sources

APA and Secondary Sources

APA discourages the use of secondary sources unless the original work is unavailable, out of print, or available only as a translation of a language you don't understand.

How do I cite secondary sources?

If you read an article or book which references some information that you also want to reference, always refer to the source where you found the information, not the original source.

For example: Sue reads an article by Alex Byrne in the Australian Library Journal in which he cites or refers to statements made by Tim O'Reilly on his website. Sue wants to refer to O'Reilly's statement in her assignment. Sue would acknowledge O'Reilly in her text but her reference is to the source where she saw the information. Sue can write her in-text reference either as:

(O'Reilly as cited in Byrne, 2008)


O'Reilly (as cited in Byrne, 2008) states ...

In her reference list, Sue would write a reference for Byrne's article because that's where she sourced the information.

The entry in her References would be:

Byrne, A. (2008). Web 2.0 strategies in libraries and information services. The Australian Library Journal, 57(4), 365-376.