Citations, aka, references give credit to others for their work and ideas and allow readers to track down the original work if they choose. The purpose of this guide is to help you identify the basic elements of a citation for some common types of materials. You will find much more detailed instructions to formatting your references in the official guide for the style you are using. Click the "Major Styles" tab and/or the "Using Style Guides" tab to learn more about finding and using style guides.
Whenever you use someone else's words or ideas in your paper or presentation, you must indicate that this information is borrowed by citing your source. This applies to written sources you've used, such as books, articles and web pages, as well as other formats, such as images, sounds, TV/film clips, and DVDs. Failure to cite such sources may be considered plagiarism. Avoid distress and embarrassment by learning exactly what to cite – the who, what, where and when of your source!
Who wrote or created it? Examples:
In all these cases the author or creator must be credited. The sole exception is if the author is genuinely unknown - your style guide will explain how to format a citation with an unknown author. Check your style guide's index to find instructions for "author, unknown" or similar phrases.
Depending on the material type:
Does the work that you are citing appear within a larger work? Examples include journal articles, encyclopedia or dictionary entries and anthologies.
What type of material did your source come from? Note, different material types have different citation elements so "what" to record can differ from source to source.
Just a few examples:
Depending on the style guide you are using you may need to include this information.