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Citations provide basic information about an information source that allows you or others to locate the same source again. The information source may be a book, journal article, webpage, radio broadcast, etc. Although the information needed to locate a journal article vs. a webpage (or a book vs. a radio broadcast) may vary, some basic information such as who, what, when, and where should be made available in the citation (see bulleted list of Basic Components of an Article Citation below).
When writing papers, it is essential to cite your sources, meaning that you must say where the information came from . If you do not cite your sources, you may be guilty of plagiarism. When in doubt if you should cite a source, err on the side of precaution and note where the information came from.
- Author (Who)
- Title (What)
- Publication date (When)
- Journal Volume (Where)
- Journal Issue (Where)
- Page number(s) (Where)
When your professor says that your paper should include a bibliography, works cited page, list of references, etc., they are not speaking another language!! Simply, they want you to gather and present citations for all of the information sources you used when writing your paper. Works cited pages tend to present the citations in alphabetical order, or possibly in the order they were cited in your paper. Citation order differs depending on the citation style that was used. Your professor should specify his or her preferred citation style.
Here are guides to the three main citation styles used on campus.
Don't forget your presentations need reference lists as well. Use these guides for citing images and videos.
If the citation guides above do not provide enough information for formatting your citations, the full style guides are available in the Ready Reference section by the FLITE Oval Information Desk.
Yes...but still cross-check the citation format with a citation guide!!
- Citation managers - to help you format your citations and keep track .
- Zotero: A free download designed for use on your personal computer, Zotero hooks up to Word and to Firefox, Chrome, or Safari. Makes it easy to add, manage, and format citations in NLM, APA, MLA, Chicago and many other styles.
- Refbase: No download required. Create an account and save, manage, and format your citations. Good for APA, MLA, Chicago, and some other styles. Check out some Refbase tutorials.
- Citation formatters - to help you format your citations (but not keep track of them for later).
- Citation Machine (Son of Citation Machine): Select the citation style you want to use, the type of resource you were using, and fill in the form to have your citation arranged to the proper citation style.
- EasyBib: Another website that will help you format your citations after you select the information type and where you retrieved the information from. (EasyBib offers free citations only in MLA.)
- KnightCite: A third website to help you format your citations using APA, MLA or Chicago styles. Select your resource from the column on the left, fill in the necessary information, and KnightCite will generate a citation for you. If you complete a free registration, you can build a bibliography to export into Word.
- More information on formats - to help you figure it out yourself.
- Purdue OWL: Excellent website from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. Includes writing resources, instructional materials, citation guides and style sheets.
If you have any questions about citations or other questions regarding using the library for research, you are welcome to come to the Oval Information Desk and ask for help any time. You can also call us 231-591-3602 or chat with us.
Last Update: November 1, 2011