I am writing a non-fiction book. I am doing lot of research online for the same. Most of the material I have included is from youtube videos, blogs, some other websites but none of it is from scientifically published research papers.

I am wondering if I have to reference these sources in the references section as most of the material is in free domain like religious teachings, philosophy, and science.

For e.g. I have a section called religious studies, under which I have written teachings from Buddhism, Taoism, etc. Now I have learned these things on youtube but is it apt to reference a youtube video if the available knowledge on Buddhism is in the free domain.

Same with available information on science. If I am learning the things on Wikipedia and then writing or summarising or forming my own opinions should I reference Wikipedia even if the final result is not a copy-paste job?

Also, let me know how can I keep track of all the online references while I am doing the research?

  • 2
    It doesn't matter if it's in the public domain or not. If you use something and don't reference it, then it's plagiarism. Jun 20, 2020 at 16:56
  • You might look at using Zotero for keeping track of your research sources zotero.org. Jul 15, 2020 at 3:20

1 Answer 1


You have to reference everything you refer to or paraphrase. Pick a referencing style, such as Chicago, look up how to do it. Usually you need the website url and the date accessed (pages change). Keep track of these in a table in a word processing document or a spreadsheet. Copy and paste the url and add the date.

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