Citation Styles

Also referred to as documentation styles, citation styles are agreed upon standards, shared within various disciplines, for citing resources. The following citation style manuals, and others, are available at the library's reference desk:

  • The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
  • IEEE Standards Style Manual

You may also wish to try RefWorks, an online bibliographic utility available from the library's website. RefWorks can help you create reference lists, bibliographies, and citations.

Use the citation manual recommended by your professor. For specific rules regarding the documentation of special material types, multiple authors, editors, or translators, as well as dictates on whether and how to use parenthetical references, footnotes, or endnotes, it is necessary to consult the prescribed citation guide. If you simply wish to see a few examples of sources cited in a bibliography in each citation style, refer to these citation style guides for examples.

Citing paper resources vs. Web-based resources:
Works published online must be cited differently from works published in paper format. This is because works posted online tend to be ephemeral. They may be revised frequently or they may disappear altogether, and unless they are published in Acrobat PDF format, they often lack pagination. The purpose of citing your sources is dual fold: to give credit and to help your readers trace your footsteps. The second goal is tougher to satisfy in the online environment, and requires new rules.

 

Compare, for example, a citation you might list in your bibliography, using MLA style, for an article that is available both in electronic and paper formats. Depending on which version you had in hand, you would need to cite it accordingly.

Paper version (found inside journal or as PDF image of original): 
Moore, Gerald. "Senghor: Poet of Night." Research in African Literatures 33.4 (2002):51-58.

Online database version (excluding PDF image of original):
Moore, Gerald. "Senghor: Poet of Night." Research in African Literatures 33.4 (2002):51-58. InfoTrac. Fairfield U., DiMenna-Nyselius Lib., Fairfield, CT. 16 Oct. 2004 http://infotrac.galegroup.com.

Website posting of article (free floating, not within a database):
Moore, Gerald. "Senghor: Poet of Night." Research in African Literatures 33.4 (2002). Lit Portal. 16 Oct. 2004 <http://www.lportal.org>.

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