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Learning the Library: Citation Styles

Information Literacy and Library Instruction

The Basics of Documentation and Citation

MLA?  APAChicagoor you're not sure?   It doesn't matter at first, because they're all basically the same, no matter how different they seem.

Immediately upon finding a possible source (article, book, webpage, or whatever),  make a record of these four or five bibliographical elements, which are common to all styles and formats. Take notes, get a screenshot, check the book out, email the record to yourself, copy and paste the site URL, put it in a folder...if you can't describe the source, you cannot ethically or honestly use it. Later, when you have time, format the information according to a standard. The box below lists the chief styles.

    AUTHOR's name/s.


     SOURCE (publisher, journal info, producer, website info, etc.)

     DATE (location varies, but it's always required)

     ELECTRONIC LOCATION (DOI, URL, name of database, etc.)

Citation Style Manuals

   These books are the standards for style, format, and citation in their disciplines. Ask for them at the second-floor reference desk.

 ACS (chemistry): QD8.5 .A25 2006 REF.

 APA (social sciences): BF76.7 .P83 2013 REF.

 Bluebook (law): KF245 .U55 2010 REF.   

 Chicago (humanities, history): Z253 .U69 2010 REF.

 CSE (sciences): T11 .S386 2006 REF.

 MLA (humanities): LB2369 .G53 2016 REF.

 Turabian (Chicago for students): LB2369 .T8 2013 REF.

Citation Help from Purdue OWL

Minerva Owl, a symbol for wisdom, working at night, and keen visionPurdue University's Online Writing lab is a nationally-recognized reference for conventions of formatting and citation, as well as many other issues in writing. Click here to use the OWL.