Citing Sources

Learn about frequently-used citation styles and citation tools.

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APA Style Resources

Tips:
  • How to cite lots of different things in APA style, including web sites, government reports, and tweets (but NOT government websites or patents):
    APA Style Central --> LEARN (at the top of the page) --> Samples (far right) --> "Go To Sample References"

Journal articles: here is the list of types of journal articles, and how to cite a journal article that has a DOI ("direct object identifier," like an ISBN number for articles):
 

How to cite patents:  Smith, I. (1988.) U.S. Patent No. 123,445. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

How to cite various kinds of web pages:

  1. The list above shows how to cite several types of web pages, but not government web sites (for example, CDC, NIH, FDA)
  2. This 3-minute video, Website Reference has information about citing many kinds of websites
  3. The Quick Answers - References page of the APA site shows how to cite web pages with missing pieces of information
  4. Remember that all government web sites DO have an author -- if there is no person listed, then the author is a "corporate author," meaning that the agency itself is the author. Example (APA manual, 6th ed., 2010):

    --- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (2003). Managing asthma: A guide for schools (NIH Publication No. 02-2650). Retrieved from http:www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/prof/lung/asthma/asth_sch.pdf    

    For something that isn't a report, like an entry in HSDB, Toxnet recommends this as the citation style:
     

    --- Hazardous Substances Data Bank [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [Last Revision Date (this can be found in the "Administrative Information section of the HSDB record you're looking at; cited 2011 Mar]. Potassium Nitrate; Hazardous Substances Databank Number: (this can be found in the "Administrative Information section of the HSDB record you're looking at); [about # screens]. Available from: https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2/f?./temp/~j0IovL:1

No citation tool is perfect! Always check your reference list to make sure that every citation has every piece that it needs so that it's complete and correct.

Purdue University's OWL (Online Writing Lab) site has a lot of information about writing about specific subjects or for specific purposes, and about the various kinds of writing styles.

Under Research and Citation are guides to:

The APA and MLA pages both have links to "Formatting and Style Guide," which is where you will find specific examples of citing articles, books, government documents, and other kinds of publications.

Note: Citations for sources that you read off of a screen are different from those that you read off of a printed page! Please look carefully at the links on the left, and use the "Electronic Sources" information, too.

  • Please ask your librarian for citation help whenever you need it. It's very important that your citations are all correct and complete.
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