How to cite a YouTube video?

Create a spot-on reference in APA, MLA, Chicago, Harvard, and other styles

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Is a YouTube video a valid source?

Traditionally, scholarly articles, theses/dissertations, and other types of academic research works feature references to print peer-reviewed sources: journal articles, books or book chapters, monographs, dissertations, and so on. However, the development of the Internet has contributed to the more and more prominent role of online publications as a source of valuable data.

Even though particular journals or publishers may impose their specific requirements, in general, one can cite the videos from YouTube and other similar online platforms in their paper. Such videos do not belong to academic sources but often contain valuable and unique information.

However, just as with any other source type, consider the video’s credibility and accurateness when deciding whether to cite it.

In which scientific sectors are YouTube videos cited most often?

YouTube videos can be cited in any scientific sector. Here are just several examples:

  • In philology, online videos may allow analysing the particularities of speech and word usage in different countries and regions.
  • In technical sciences, YouTube videos may provide a visualisation of various technological processes.
  • In history, historiography, archaeology, etc., the video materials from online services may be a source of unique archival recordings, research data, interviews, and so on.
  • Regardless of the sector, YouTube videos may contain statistical data, sociological polls, expert appraisals, and factual data.

By referencing such sources, you can enrich your own research.

How to cite a YouTube video?

What elements to give in a bibliographic reference?

Every single citation style has its own specific requirements to the information about an online video to be included in a bibliographic reference (see the examples below). However, the main components that allow identifying a YouTube video or an online video from another similar website as a unique source are the following:

  • author’s name / channel title;
  • video title;
  • publication date;
  • video service title (in addition to YouTube, videos from Vimeo and Dailymotion are often cited);
  • video URL and date accessed.

The more specific elements to be included in a reference in particular citation styles include video duration and video details (information on the performance recorded on the video, etc.).

How to locate the appropriate elements on a video’s page on YouTube?

Let’s take a look at a particular video dedicated to street design:

In order to avoid the problems associated with data retrieval, use our service: we have the direct access to the metadata of all the videos and fill in all the details for you automatically. Just paste the video’s URL on the form for citing online videos on Grafiati, and that’s all:

Citing a YouTube video with GrafiatiAnd here is a brief instruction if you would like to do it on your own. You already know the video’s URL and the name of the service (YouTube). Here is how you can find the other components:

How to find the metadata of a YouTube videoThe title of the video can usually be found right under the video; the title of the channel that published the video is located below, next to the channel’s logo (red arrows on the screenshot).

Finding the publication date might be more complex. On your screen, it can be hidden under the ellipsis sign (blue arrow on the screenshot). Tip: To see the publication date in place of the ellipsis, apply zoom-out in your browser, for example, to a scale of 50%.

Some other elements are located in other parts of the page. For instance, to get the duration of the video, hover over the video window with your mouse cursor.


  • YouTube’s design may be subject to change; as a result, the location of the aforementioned elements may change too.
  • Some video hosting services fail to provide video the publication date at all, giving only an approximate estimation like ‘published 2 weeks ago’.

How to compile a bibliographic reference to a YouTube video?

You can study the referencing rules of each particular citation style. In this case, you will have to analyse multiple aspects: from how to give the titles of channels and the names of authors to the specifics of giving all the other elements. Want to know the rules for citing online videos in the most popular citation styles? You can find them in our Referencing guides section.

However, you can avoid all this work. Just use our website to fill in the video details in one click as depicted on the screenshot above and click on the ‘Add reference’ button: we will generate the bibliographic reference to the YouTube video in the chosen citation style together with an in-text citation or a footnote in line with the requirements of the manual.

Examples of bibliographic references to YouTube videos

The examples below show how to cite a YouTube video correctly in a bibliography in various citation styles:

Citation style Bibliographic reference
APA (7th ed.) City Beautiful. (2020, May 7). How to design a great street [Video]. YouTube.
MLA (9th ed.) "How to Design a Great Street." YouTube, uploaded by City Beautiful, 7 May 2020,
Chicago (17th ed.) (notes and bibliography) City Beautiful. "How to Design a Great Street." YouTube, 7 May 2020. Video, 9:37.
Harvard City Beautiful, (2020). How to design a great street [online]. YouTube. [Viewed 30 January 2022]. Available from:
Vancouver City Beautiful. YouTube [Internet]. [Video], How to design a great street; 2020 May 7 [cited 2022 Jan 30]; [9 min., 37 sec.]. Available from:
MHRA (3rd ed.) (notes and bibliography) City Beautiful, How to Design a Great Street, online video recording, YouTube, 7 May 2020 <> [accessed 30 January 2022]
ABNT NBR 6023:2018 (author-date) HOW TO design a great street. 7 May 2020. 1 video (9 min. 37 sec.). Published by the channel City Beautiful. Available from: Accessed: 30 Jan. 2022.
ISO 690:2010 CITY BEAUTIFUL. How to design a great street [video]. YouTube. 7 May 2020 [viewed 30 January 2022]. Available from:

Why should you cite YouTube videos with Grafiati?

To master the rules of at least one citation style, you will need lots of time. In addition, you will have to retrieve the data pertaining to the video and write down all the appropriate elements. And what if you need to cite multiple videos? …

The online service Grafiati allows doing the whole thing in less than a second and without any effort on your part:

  • We will fill in all the metadata of the video on our own: you only need to paste the URL and click on the button. This is very easy and allows avoiding errors, as we are interacting directly with YouTube and get the correct and relevant information on every video recording.
  • Our website will generate a bibliographic reference and an in-text citation in any of the most popular citation styles: you can simply copy and paste them into your paper.
  • All the references in the table above were generated with the help of Grafiati and are fully compliant with the requirements of each respective citation style: no other reference generator provides this level of accuracy.
  • In addition to YouTube, our website allows citing automatically the videos from Vimeo and Dailymotion.

To cite a YouTube video or any other online video, go to Grafiati's homepage, select the source type ‘Video (online)’ and paste the URL of the video that you would like to cite: we will do all the rest.

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