Consider that I looked up some data, more specifically credit ratings for a sovereign, in the Bloomberg and the Thomson Reuters terminal for my thesis:

The sovereign is rated Aaa by Moody's, AAA by Standard and Poor's, and AAA by Fitch (Bloomberg).

What is the best practice to cite a computer terminal as the source after using data from that terminal? I mean there is no specific author or authoring date other than "Bloomberg" and the date that I've accessed it. And just stating "Bloomberg" as above looks odd.

This question is not directly related to any citation style, however I'm using BibTeX with the APA style for my thesis.

  • Maybe you want to rephrase it: you don't cite terminals, you should cite databases. I assume e.g Bloomberg's database have some official name.
    – Greg
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 1:08

1 Answer 1


Unless there is a unique, persistent link to the statement from the rating agency - e.g. a link to their archive of ratings, etc, you cannot use that information as a citation. You should imagine the reader far in the future, reading and trying to verify your work - what would they consult, if anything in order to validate your statements, or reproduce your work.

If the agencies do not maintain a public archive, you may be able to take a screenshot of the terminal, and publish it to a place which will keep a persistent public archive of it, e.g. figshare.

  • There is no link, it's a computer terminal and no online resource. You can only state the screen where to find the information. Publishing the data online (to persistently reference it) is probably against the terms of usage. I agree with the concern about revalidation. But taking the example of credit ratings, when the ratings change e.g. on 14 January 2018, then this will show up in the credit ratings history of the sovereign. So the reader as of 14 January 2018 can look up the credit ratings in Bloomberg and will see that the credit rating changed and what it was at the time of the thesis.
    – dnl
    Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 18:13
  • While the best citations are verifiable, the primary purpose of a citation is to describe where information came from. Allowing the reader to follow the same chain is secondary. See, for example, apastyle.apa.org/style-grammar-guidelines/citations/… . Nevertheless, this seems like a situation where the author could do much better than "I saw it on the screen, trust me".
    – Sneftel
    Commented Mar 11, 2021 at 9:06

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