Skip to Main Content

Introduction to Library Research

Getting started with citations

There are many tools to help you figure out citations:  books, websites, citation management software.  Most importantly, the librarians are available to guide you as you learn how to cite.  Learning how to cite properly is hard work.  Feel free to ask a librarian for help.

Purdue OWL

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a great resource for help with creating your citation/reference pages.

Purdue also has a helpful chart that compares the three most popular citation styles: APA, MLA and the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS). Please note the chart does not reflect the most recent edition of APA (7th).

Guide Books - Located in Reference

APA Online Citation Help

APA style requires both in-text citations and a reference list. 

The library has created a guide to using APA style for citations.

MLA Online Citation Help

MLA style uses brief parenthetical citations in the text that point to an alphabetical list of works cited that appears at the end of the paper.

Purdue OWL has a great style guide to help write your MLA Works Cited Pages.

There is also a video to show you some of the basics of the MLA style documentation.

Chicago Manual of Style Online Citation Help

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) uses two basic documentation systems: notes and bibliography and author-date. Each system is favored by different groups of scholars.

CMS has an online citation quick guide to help you get started.

Also, Purdue OWL has one of the best online style guides for the Chicago Manual of Style (16th ed.). Look at the General Format page to get started. 


CAVEAT about relying on software

Many databases have a button that allows you to format your citation and then cut and paste it into your bibliography.  This is a great time-saver. 

HOWEVER, these are not always formatted correctly.  Often there are problems with capitalization, punctuation, and other issues.  It is still YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to format your citations correctly, even when relying on databases or citation management software.

There are great guides in print and online that can help you figure this out.

If you are unsure, ask a Librarian for help.

Guide Books: eBooks