You might have asked yourself why citations are important at some point in your academic career. Here’s a few reasons why correct citations matter and resources to help you with your citations today.
- Citations help give credit to authors for their words and ideas. This allows you to use other author’s ideas or words in your own papers, or projects but still gives those authors credit for their original ideas. This is important for you because it helps you avoid plagiarism. Still not sure what might constitute plagiarism? Check out the library’s tutorial on plagiarism.
- Citing your sources helps to demonstrate the depth of research you did to complete your project. That’s not to say that the person with the most sources wins, but showing which sources you relied on helps give the reader of your paper or project and understanding of the research that you did. Your sources help to give your reader an understanding of the creditability of the sources you relied on to make your argument.
- Citations help readers find and locate the materials that are cited within that work. Why does this matter to you? Well, if you found a great book or article on the topic of your paper or project it is likely that the sources used in that book or article could also be helpful. Take a look at the footnotes and reference list or works cited page to find the information you need to locate these additional resources. Likewise, when you are writing something it is important to put citations to materials you used so that readers of your work can know where to find these other materials.
Found a great source, but not sure how to give it proper credit in your work? Check out the How to Cite Your Sources guide to find out! This guide provides tutorials, examples and quick reference guides on the most popular citation formats including APA, Chicago, MLA and more.
Best Free Online Citation Creators
Did you know most library databases give the option to build a citation? Look for an option to cite. This is typically found when you click on the title to get more information and is found near the other menu items like the print, save or email tools.
- BibMe-APA, MLA, Chicago and Turabian
- Creates list. Can save with account. Easy to change style.
- EasyBib-APA, MLA and Chicago
- MLA, free, other styles must pay (unless you enter in MLA and then change style.) Over 50 formats. Can create list. Annoying ads.
- Citation Builder: NCSU Libraries - APA6, MLA, Chicago (both versions), CSE.
- Presents all styles at once. No list creation.
Best Online Citation Rule Resources
- APA- Purdue OWL Website
- MLA- Purdue OWL Website
- Chicago- Purdue Owl Website
- Turabian- Quick Guide
- CSE- Citing Guide from UNC University Libraries
Need help with managing a large number of citations? Check out the Citation Management guide that shows you how to collect and organize your citation information using Mendely, Zotero and EndNote Web programs.
Need additional help?
The most current style manuals are also available in print at the Research Services Desk for you to use in the library. Proper citation is an important part of your research process so utilize these resources when in doubt. As always, the reference librarians are here if you need more help.
Written by: Brittany Geissinger, Questions? Brittany.Geissinger@mail.sdsu.edu