- Establish your credibility. As an information consumer, you may be skeptical, especially if information is new or doesn't agree with what you previously knew. Let your own audience know how you got your information and why they should believe you.
- Help your readers. Citations enable readers to learn more about what you're talking about, and to verify the information you're providing. Citations provide context for your reader. In other words, citations show how your work fits into the larger conversation that experts are having about this topic.
- Avoid plagiarism. When you cite, you're giving credit where credit is due! Plagiarism (to pass off someone else's work or idea as your own) is dishonest and can have serious consequences (AR 7030-02).
- Other people's ideas. If someone has a unique idea, you should give them credit, even if you don't use their exact words. In fact, avoid using too many quotes in your paper! You want it to be your own--not a patchwork of other people's writing. Try paraphrasing unless someone expresses something in a special way you want to capture.
- Other people's words. For short quotations, put quotation marks around the words. MLA and APA have different formats for citing long (block) quotations. These can be in many formats: books, tweets, podcasts, articles, and websites, etc.
- Your own experiences and thoughts. The introduction and conclusion of a paper often include more of your own background, commentary, and opinions, so citations may be denser in the middle of your paper.
- Common knowledge: for example, that the symbol for potassium is K, that World War I ended in 1919, or that the U.S. federal government has three branches. If you're not sure whether or not something is common knowledge, go ahead and cite it anyway.
- Ask your instructor what citation style you should use, if they don't indicate this on their syllabus. MLA and APA are the two most common styles at LBCC. You can find more resources about each style in the links on the sidebar. If your instructor asks you to use another style, contact a librarian for help.
- Try using a citation generator like Zotero Bib (quick video introduction) to create a draft of your works cited or reference list.
- Works Cited: A Quick Guide from the MLA Style Center. Practice identifying and placing the elements of a works cited entry.
- MLA 8 Citation Examples. A printable PDF with works cited entries for common formats.
- This MLA 8 Tutorial from the Excelsior Online Writing Lab walks you through MLA style step-by-step.
- MLA Style Introduction from the OWL@Purdue provides an overview and lots of examples of in-text citations and works cited entries.
- Sample Papers in MLA from the MLA Style Center.
- APA Style, 7th Edition, Quick Reference Guide. A PDF from APA Style explaining how to cite the most common sources (books, articles) in APA.
- APA Style, 7th Edition, Reference Examples. Examples of the most common works that writers cite.
- APA Style, 7th Edition, Sample Papers. In most cases, students should use the Student Sample Paper.
- This APA 7 Tutorial from the Excelsior Online Writing Lab walks you through APA style step-by-step.
- APA Style Introduction from the OWL@Purdue provides an overview and lots of examples of in-text citations and works cited entries.
- APA Style Blog. Use the search box at the top of the page to find authoritative information not addressed by the APA Publication Manual.
NB uses superscript numbers in the text to direct the reader to a shortened citation as a Footnote at the bottom of the page or in an Endnotes section. This corresponds to a fuller citation on a Bibliography page at the end of the document.
AD uses parenthetical in-text citations which include the source's author's last name, the year of publication, and page numbers. Each parenthetical citation corresponds to full citation on a References page that concludes the document.
- Introduction and Overview to citations using CMOS Notes-Bibliographies (NB) Style (from Purdue OWL)
- Citing Books
- Citing Periodicals/Magazines/Newspapers
- Citing Web Sources/Blogs/Podcasts
- Citing other types of Sources (Select from menu on linked page)
- Citation Quick Guide - Notes and Bibliographies Style: Sample Citations (from the Chicago Manual of Style Online)
- Citation Quick Guide - Author-Date Style: Sample Citations (from the Chicago Manual of Style Online)
- Chicago Style FAQs (from CMOS Shop Talk)
- CMOS NB Sample Paper (from Purdue OWL)
- CMOS AD Sample Paper (from Purdue OWL)
Below, we have included information about three popular citation generators: Zbib/Zotero, Google Docs, and Citation Machine.
Software download necessary? ✘ (Zbib) ✔ (Zotero)
Formats offered: MLA (8th ed.), APA (7th ed.), Chicago (17th ed.), and thousands of other styles available through the Zotero Style Repository.
Should you use Zbib or Zotero?
> In a nutshell, both Zotero and Zbib are free, open-source tools capable of generating citations. Zbib is better for creating quick bibliographies for short-term projects, while Zotero--which requires the user to download software and set up an account-- is better for storing larger numbers of citations for longer-term projects.
> If you are planning on continuing your studies at OSU in the future, you may want to consider downloading Zotero! OSU offers its students larger amounts of storage if they use their student accounts to sign up; it also has librarians on staff that have special expertise in using the software.
Tips and Resources
> Check out the right-hand panel of the page to see a quick Zbib tutorial!
Software download necessary? ✘
Formats offered: MLA (8th ed.), APA (7th ed.), Chicago Author-Date (17th ed.)
Tips & Resources
> Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this brief Google Docs citation tutorial from Kirkwood Community College Library. Please note that both of these videos teach viewers how to use the Google Docs citation tool in MLA format.
> Google offers this page by way of user instructions, but it’s not very comprehensive. Stay tuned for more tutorials on how to use this new citation tool!
Software download necessary? ✘
Formats offered: MLA (8th ed.), APA (7th ed.), Chicago (17th ed.), and 7,000+ other formats
Tips and Resources
> The popular Citation Machine generator tool on Purdue OWL allows the user to automatically generate a citation by inputting the URL of the source, but the full Citation Machine website offers more comprehensive tools for creating a bibliography.