If all the files I've downloaded come from the same website, do I have to cite every file separately, or can I cite the website that contains the files and get it over with?

The files are shapefiles.

  • Possible duplicate of this. Apr 30, 2018 at 16:08
  • Thank you but this isn't helping. I'll clarify in my main post.
    – Anna
    Apr 30, 2018 at 16:12
  • Thanks for edit. Can I suggest also removing the multiple date part (may lead to confusion about purpose of question), and also specifiying what these files are (eg. data sequences, authored articles, etc). This can help people answer specifically. Apr 30, 2018 at 16:20
  • You just write you downloaded data from [give url], and then proceed to describe the data files, list their names (if unique and relevant) and so on. In short: the reader should be able to download the exact same data that you used, given your description.
    – user68958
    Apr 30, 2018 at 16:22
  • Can I do this: In-text citation under the map: the data for the country boundaries comes from nameofsite. Then in the bibliography: cite the website as I normally would, but first add the names of the files. Is this acceptable? (I'm a little confused)
    – Anna
    Apr 30, 2018 at 16:33

1 Answer 1


How to proceed probably depends on the number of files.

  • If it's just a handful, you could create individual listings for each file.
  • If there are a bunch of files with a similar naming structure, you could create a single bibliography entry for the main page, and then in a note in the citation identify the files used.
  • If there are hundreds of files or files with various naming conventions, it would probably be easiest to put this information in an appendix or supporting information document, and then provide a single citation to the web site.

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