Citation, Documentation of Sources

Q. How should I cite a classic film on YouTube? For example, Mist (Angae), directed by Kim Soo-yong, aired July 21, 2014, by Korean Classic Film on YouTube,

A. Your description would form the basis of a good citation, as in this note:

1. Kim Soo-yong, dir., Mist (Angae), posted July 21, 2014, Korean Classic Film, YouTube, 1 hr., 19 min.,

But whenever you cite something posted on YouTube, it’s important to consider the source itself in addition to whatever the text on YouTube says about it below the video.

In this case, the film is labeled on YouTube with the title “Mist (Angae),” but the film’s title sequence includes “The Foggy Town,” in English (and not as a subtitle added later on), beneath the Korean title (안개). (“Angae” is a direct transliteration of 안개, which can mean “mist” or “fog.”) That detail about the original English title will help readers who follow the link confirm that they’ve landed in the right place:

Screenshot from the title sequence of the Korean-language film Mist (Angae) (1967) on YouTube.

Other details include the original release date (1967) and the fact that the film is based on a novel by Kim Seung-ok, who also adapted the screenplay. This information can be worked into the text or added to a note if relevant.

The original title and release date could be included in a note as follows:

1. Kim Soo-yong, dir., The Foggy Town (안개), 1967, posted July 21, 2014, under the title Mist (Angae), Korean Classic Film, YouTube, 1 hr., 19 min.,

And notice that we’ve used the “share” version of the link in our examples; links shortened through third parties shouldn’t be used in source citations because they hide the original URL (see CMOS 14.10), but YouTube’s own shortened URLs are okay to use.

In sum, you have some flexibility when citing classic content posted to YouTube. But remember to pay attention to the source as the thing you’re primarily citing and describing; YouTube is only the messenger.