Citing and Documenting Sources

Librarian's Corner

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Interactive Tutorials about Plagiarism

You Quote it, You Note It!
by Vaughn Memorial Library, Acadia University
You Quote it, You Note It! by Vaughn Memorial Library

  • About
  • Books vs. Articles | Print vs. Online
  • Citation Websites
  • Style (Print & Web)

Citations - About

Why do you need to write citations?
"Academic writing differs from everyday writing in the fact that it carefully documents its sources through the use of citations, which enables the reader to see what has inspired the writer and to check the validity of their work."

Once you have found sources for your research, you will need to document them giving writers credit for their work and their writings.

Any source of intellectual property that contributes to, informs, or inspires your own work needs to be acknowledged. For example, when you paraphrase or summarize someone's ideas, or use someone's exact words by quoting them, you must acknowledge, by documentation, those works and the author. Taking or using another person's ideas, language, words, etc., as your own is plagiarism.

A "citation" is a short note that documents your source(s) of information. It provides the reader with identifying information so that they are able to access the original source.

Citation styles (MLA, APA, SBL, etc.) vary according to the discipline. For example, an English paper requires MLA style while a psychology paper requires APA style. The content and order of information varies with each style.

Ninety-nine Gnats, Nits and NibblersAPA (6th ed.)
Berenbaum, M. (1989). Ninety-nine gnats, nits, and nibblers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Chicago (Author-Date, 15th ed.)
Berenbaum, M. Ninety-nine gnats, nits, and nibblers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
MLA (17th ed.)
Berenbaum, M. Ninety-nine Gnats, Nits, and Nibblers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989. Print.
Turabian (6th ed.)
Berenbaum, M. Ninety-Nine Gnats, Nits, and Nibblers. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1989.
(Note: Check formatting guides for indentation rules. No indentation is used in the above citations examples.)

Where do you put a citation?
A proper citation has two components for documentation of sources:

WITHIN THE PAPER — This may be a footnote, endnote or parenthetical reference and is placed next to each quote or paraphrase in order to document its source. When you refer to another's work, cite your source.

AT THE END — This is a comprehensive list of all the works used in the research project. It often referred to as works cited (MLA), reference list (APA) or bibliography (Turabian), depending upon the style format that is used.

Important Notes

arrow Format, content, and/or word order for documenting sources within the text differs from that at the end of a paper.

arrow Always follow the guidelines in the appropriate style manual and your professor's instructions.

arrow Refer to the reference print resources for complete citation formats and descriptions. The most current editions of style manuals are on Reserve at the Circulation Desk, 4th floor LRC.

Citations - Books vs. Articles / Online vs. Print

Depending upon the subject you are writing for, identify your sources according to the proper citation style as instructed by your professor. Citations will vary according to style, source type and format.

Citation Style -- What is the required style for the course or discipline? (ACS, APA, MLA, Turabian, SBL) Always consult the print library resources or the association's official web page(s) for exact guidelines.

Type of Source -- What are you citing? (book, journal article, website, interview) For example, citations for books differ from article citations. (Refer to the examples given below.)

    generally include:
  • Author(s)
  • Title
  • Editor, translator, compiler (if applicable)
  • Edition (if it is not the first)
  • Publisher's name
  • Publication place and date
    ARTICLE CITATIONS generally include:
  • Author(s) of article
  • Article Title
  • Periodical Title
  • Issue Date
  • Issue/volume Number
  • Page Numbers

Format -- How was it delivered? (print, Web, audio/visual)
Book and article citations for an online resource, such as library ebook or article databases, may require more documentation than for the hard copy (print) resources. You may need to include the following:

  • Database name
  • Service Provider (for example, EBSCO or ebrary)
  • Protocol (for example, "http") and full URL
  • Date of access

Citations - Free Citation Management Software

Most ORU databases include features that create citations for your selected journal articles, books, ebooks, etc., to save or copy and paste into a bibliography. For ebrary, EBSCO databases, Sage databases, WorldCat, Wall Street Journal, and Credo Reference see Key Points: Citation Tools (opens in a new window).

The sites below let you fill in forms to create formatted citations, effectively manage research documents, and more.  -
Use auto-fill mode to enter a book title or journal article and it auto-completes and formats the citation. Manual entry modes also available. Offers save option with login. MLA, APA, Chicago, or Turabian.
EasyBib -
Automatic bibliography and citation maker. Free MLA version with option to purchase upgraded version for APA and Chicago/Turabian formatting. Cite a book, website, newspaper, journals, database, and more. Website has advertisements. EasyBib
KnightCite -
MLA, APA and Chicago formats. Easy form to fill out. Provided by The Hekman Library, Calvin Calvin College.
Citation Machine -
Uses the 7th ed. of MLA, 6th ed. of APA, and 16th ed. of Chicago (8th ed. Turabian). Includes advertisements
Mendeley -
"Free reference manager and academic social network that can help you organize your research, collaborate with others online, and discover the latest research." Create a free account.
NoodleTools -
Step-by-step questionnaire process to create a citation in MLA, APA or Chicago.
SBL Citation BuilderPitts Theology Library: SBL Citation Builder
"SBL style is designed for students and scholars writing in the disciplines of ancient Near Eastern studies, Biblical studies, and studies of early Christianity."
Qiqqa -
Create citations, footnotes and biliographies; manage your documents.
Zotero -
Works with Firefox browser. A "free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources."
Always refer to the reference print resources for complete citation formats and descriptions.

Citation - Resources (Print and Web)

Common citation styles used at ORU are listed below along with publication information and selected Web resources. The most current edition of a print style manual is on Reserve at the Circulation Desk, 4th floor LRC. If you need further assistance, inquire at the Reference Desk. Always refer to the reference print resources for complete citation formats and descriptions.

ACS Style GuideACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information (An American Chemical Society Publication)
Call number QD8.5.A25 2006 LRC-R
ACS Books: Reference Style Guidelines
Provides sample citations.
Writing Tools - Chemistry Library (UW Madison Libraries)
American Psychological Association (APA) 6th

7.02 Books, Reference Books, and Book Chapters PDF
Provides examples of citations for DSM)

6.31 Electronic sources and Locator Information PDF
(APA 6th, pp. 187-189; includes information about DOI's; scroll the page, content begins halfway down the PDF page)

What is a digital object identifier, or DOI? nn
Frequently Asked questions About APA Style®

APA Tutorials:
The Basics of APA Style®
What's New in the Sixth Edition

Related Resources
The DOI System - Provides a link to the DOI web site.

Publication Manual - APAPublication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA), 5th ed. Call number BF76.7.P83
APA Electronic References
APA Frequently Asked Questions
Using American Psychological Association (APA) Format
(Purdue University Online Writing Lab)
Using Principles of APA Style to Cite and Document Sources
(Bedford/St. Martin's ONLINE!)
Modern Language Association (MLA)
MLA Style ManualMLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th ed.
Call number LB2369.G53
MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing, 2nd ed.
Call number PN147.G1444 LRC-R
Frequently Asked Questions About MLA Style
A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on Modern Language Association (MLA) Documentation
(Capital Community College) -
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
MLA HandbookUsing MLA Style to Cite and Document Sources
(Bedford/St. Martin's ONLINE! by Andrew Harnak and Eugene Kleppinger)
MLA Citation Style Examples
(University of New Brunswick Libraries)
Using Modern Language Association (MLA) Format
(The OWL at Purdue - Online Writing Labs)
A Manual for Writers... TurabianA Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed. Call number LB2369.T8
Citing Sources in Academic Writing compiled by Brian P. Irwin
Covenant Theological Seminary: Covenant Style Guide
Turabian Style - Sample Footnote and Bibliographic Entries (6th edition)
(Bridgewater State College)
Turabian Style Guide
(University of Southern Mississippi Libraries)
Society of Biblical Literature (SBL)
SBL Handbook of StyleThe SBL Handbook of Style: For Ancient Near Eastern, Biblical, and Early Christian Studies,Call number PN147.S26
Pitts Theology Library: SBL Citation Builder
Student Supplement to the SBL Handbook of Style
SBL Style
(Lycoming College, Snowden Library)
Other Resources
CAA Publications: Art Bulletin Style Guide
Provided by College Art Association
Librarians' Index to the Internet (Style Guides)
Research and Documentation Online by Diana Hacker star
Related guides:
Babylonian Talmud: Write the Citation