Citing Tools & Tips

Citations consist of identifying information about the sources you are using in your research. To cite properly, you need to be able to distinguish among different types of information sources. There are distinctions between print and electronic/online, and between things like books and journal articles, films, music and so forth.

Although the online style guides are very helpful, there are situations and types of sources for which they don’t provide explicit instructions.

  • If the type of source you have is not included in the style guide, follow the citation guidelines for the most similar type of source.
  • If you can’t find a certain piece of information (for example, many web sites don’t list an author) leave it out.

Here are some suggestions to save you time and frustration:

Before you start your research:

  • Ask your instructor which citation style to use.
  • Find out which citation style is commonly used in your field.

As you research:

  • For every information source, decide what kind of information source it is and take down all the information you will need to cite it.
  • Write down or save citation information for all possible information sources, so you can easily find them again when the time comes.

Locate Citation Resources

a brief course in information literacy