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Citation Style Guides: Basic Styles

This guide lists links to instruction about different citation style formats. And some other helpful citation tools.

Citing is important

What is a citation?       A citation....

  • describes a book, journal article, website, or other published item
  • gives credit to the originator of an idea, thus preventing plagiarism
  • enables the reader to retrieve the item you refer to
  • includes the author, title, source (publisher and place of publication or URL), and date

A citation manager is a tool which helps you to store, organize and output your citations in the format you prefer.

Citation Wisdom

There are currently many guides for learning citation styles for both print and electronic resources. Students should use the style guides generally accepted by their departments. You'll need to ask your professor which one he or she prefers. On this page, you will find guides to citing both print and electronic resources from a variety of venues. Kinlaw Library has many books and other resources that explain the citation process.  You should also seek help from the Center for Academic Excellence.

It is important that you are consistent throughout your paper in how the citations are presented and what information they include. Remember, the whole concept of citations is to help your reader identify and retrieve the same material you used and also to give proper credit to those who have come before you!

What are we talking about?

A citation reflects all of the information a person would need to locate a particular source. For example, basic citation information for a book consists of name(s) of author(s) or editor(s), title of book, name of publisher, place of publication, and most recent copyright date.

A citation style dictates the information necessary for a citation and how the information is ordered, as well as punctuation and other formatting.

A bibliography lists citations for all of the relevant resources a person consulted during his or her research.

In an annotated bibliography, each citation is followed by a brief note—or annotation—that describes and/or evaluates the source and the information found in it.

A works cited list presents citations for those sources referenced in a particular paper, presentation, or other composition.

An in-text citation consists of just enough information to correspond to a source's full citation in a Works Cited list. In-text citations often require a page number (or numbers) showing exactly where relevant information was found in the original source.

Anatomy of a Citation

What is a Citation?

 A citation is the basic information required to identify or locate a specific publication (book, article, video, etc.). It is a pointer (or reference) to more information.  Citations are provided in print and electronic indexes and catalogs to identify resources. They are also included in research papers, articles, and books to reference text that has been quoted or a source that has been used as an authority.     

                Generally there are two basic kinds of citations:   article or book

 What are the five basic parts of a citation?

  Book Parts   —

  1. Author(s) or Editor(s)
  2. Book Title
  3. Publisher
  4. Place of Publication
  5. Publication Date (or copyright)

  Article Parts   —

  1. Author(s)
  2. Article Title
  3. Periodical Title
  4. Page Numbers
  5. Publication Date

    [Volume & Issue] (sometimes this is missing or not required)

 NOTE:   Citations may be found in many different places such as a bibliography, a database, a web page or other sources.

EXAMPLES:    (These are not of any type of format!)

         Those little white lies, P.P. Conner  il  Parents 62:204-07 Ap ‘87

 Campus confidential: The complete guide to the college experience by students for students.  Miller, Robert H.; San Francisco, CA, US: Jossey-Bass, 2006.

Townley, C. & Parsell, M.(2004). Technology and academic virtue: Student plagiarism through the looking glass. Ethics and Information Technology, 6(4), 271-277.

Dinwiddie, Gniesha Y. "Education, USA." International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Ed. William A.Darity. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008. Print.


 **What distinguishes one type of citation from the other?   How do you tell which is a book and which is an article?**

Anatomy of an Article Citation

Anatomy of an Book Citation

Style Guides

Citations can be formatted in different ways depending on what style guide is being used as a reference. The two most common are MLA Style and APA Style.

   MLA Style for BOOK

            Graham, James J. The Enemies of the Poor.  New York: Random, 1970. Print.

   APA Style for BOOK

            Bernstein, T. M.  (1965). The careful writer:  A modern guide to English usage.  New York:  Antheneum.

   MLA Style for an ARTICLE

            Delbruck, Max.  "Mind From Matter?"  The American Scholar 47.3 (1978): 339-53. Print.

   APA Style for an ARTICLE

            Paivio, A.  (1975). Perceptual comparisons through the mind's eye. Memory & Cognition, 3, 635-647.

Now can YOU create your own citations?  

Check to see if you can read citations - a Slideshare presentation.

Steps to Citing a Source

Step 1: Determine the source type.

   Is it a book, journal article, newspaper or encyclopedia entry?

Step 2:  Decide if the source is print or digital.

   Is the source from an online database, web site or a Library’s print collection?

Step 3: Find an example citation for the source type in a citation guide.

Step 4: Use the example as a template to create your citation.

Common styles used:

Business English/Writing History/Pre-Law
Education Literature Religion

Psychology, Social Work



Use our Guides to Styles

These guides all have very useful examples and instructions to help you create citations for lots of sources in a variety of formats.  Check with your professor for any special instructions.

Additional resources for MLA & APA

Style Manuals (ebook)

Style Manuals at the Library

These are style manuals at the Library.   These contain the most complete information about that particular style, with plenty of examples and explanation.