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The Citation

Overview

You will learn:

  • The importance of creating citations
  • Ways to identify different types of citations
  • Important things to look for in a citation to help you
  • Finding sources from citations

Identifying Citations

If you find a really great article or essay, looking at the bibliography (sometimes called “References” or “Works Cited”) will lead you to all the sources the author used to build the content of the paper.

When reviewing bibliographies, it can be challenging to figure out if you are looking at a citation for a book, journal article, film, blog, or other source types.

Parts of the Citation

No matter which citation style you choose to use, citations often require the same type of data, they are just arranged in a different way.  Here is some information that can be included in a citation:

Author

Year of Publication

Title of Work

Publisher or Sponsor

Database Information

Journal or Newspaper Title

We are going to look more closely at citations for books, journals, newspapers, and databases.

Citation Styles

These three citations all refer to the same book, even though they look slightly different:

MLA 7
Hornby, Nick. About a Boy. New York: Riverhead, 1998. Print.

APA
Hornby, N. (1998). About a boy. New York: Riverhead Books.

Chicago/Turabian
Hornby, Nick. About a Boy. New York: Riverhead Books, 1998.


Book Citations

Book Citations: Title

The title of the book typically looks different than the rest of the citation – it is usually in italics.

Hornby, Nick. About a Boy. New York: Riverhead, 1998. Print.

For example, the title in the citation above is About a Boy. To locate a book from a citation, try searching the library’s OPAC or catalog for either the title and/or author.

Book Citations: Publication Date

The date is usually toward the end, except in APA formatting (it comes after the author).
Hornby, Nick. About a Boy. New York: Riverhead, 1998. Print.
For example, the publication date in the citation above is 1998.

Book Citations: Common Denominators

In MLA 7, APA and Chicago styles, book citations share the following:

  • Author’s last name is at the beginning
  • Book title is italicized
  • The publisher and city is formatted as follows: Publishing City: Publisher

Journal Article Citations

Journal article citations provide a lot of information, and all of it is useful when you are trying to locate it yourself.

Here is an example of a journal article citation in MLA 7:

Deary, Ian. “Why Do Intelligent People Live Longer?” Nature 456.7219 (2008): 175-76. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 July 2014.

To locate a journal article, search the journal name in your library catalog. You can locate it on the shelf with the volume and issue number, or you can search by the article title if you can access the journal through a database.

 Journal Article Citations: Article Title

Deary, Ian. “Why Do Intelligent People Live Longer?”Nature 456.7219 (2008): 175-76. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 July 2014.

In MLA, APA and Chicago styles, the words that follow the author’s name in the citation are the article’s title.

 Journal Article Citations: Journal Title

Deary, Ian. “Why Do Intelligent People Live Longer?” Nature 456.7219 (2008): 175-76. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 July 2014.

You can identify the journal title by looking for words in italics. The volume and issue numbers follow.

Journal Article Citations: Page Numbers

Deary, Ian. “Why Do Intelligent People Live Longer?” Nature 456.7219 (2008): 175-76. Academic Search Complete. Web. 30 July 2014.

The numbers highlighted in green are the page numbers for the article.

Journal Citations: Common Denominators

In MLA 7, APA and Chicago styles, journal article citations share the following:

  • Author’s name is at the beginning
  • Journal title is italicized
  • Journal title, volume and issue number(s) are arranged in that order

Newspaper Article Citations

Newspaper Article Citations: Article Title

Thomas, Jr., Landon.”Next Time, Greece May Need New Tactics.”The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.

For a newspaper article, see if you can access the article online by searching for the title on the newspaper’s website.

Newspaper Article Citations: Article Title & Author

The author and article title are usually the first two or three pieces of information found in the citation.

Thomas, Jr., Landon. “Next Time, Greece May Need New Tactics.”The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.

In MLA style, the author and title are at the beginning.

Newspaper Article Citations: Newspaper Title

Similar to a journal article, newspaper titles look different than the rest of the citation–they are often italicized.

Thomas, Jr., Landon. “Next Time, Greece May Need New Tactics.” The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.

In this citation, the newspaper title is italicized.

Newspaper Article Citations: Publication Date

Thomas, Jr., Landon. “Next Time, Greece May Need New Tactics.” New York Times. The New York Times Company, 9 Mar. 2012. Web. 15 Mar. 2012.

The first date listed is the date the article was published. If there is a second date, it is usually the date the article was accessed.

Newspaper Article Citations: Common Denominators

In MLA 7, APA and Chicago styles, citations for newspaper articles share the following:

  • Author’s name is at the beginning
  • Newspaper title is italicized
  • Article publication date is the first date listed
  • If listed, the second date listed is when the article was accessed

Databases Article Citations

When determining which database was used to access an article, unfortunately there is not a lot of consistency.

  • For MLA style, the database is identified in the citation byitalics.
  • For Chicago style, the database is listed at the end of the citation in plain text.
  • Or, for APA style, the database name is not required. Instead, include the Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Camilli, R. (2010). Tracking hydrocarbon plume transport and biodegradation at Deepwater Horizon. Science, 330(6001), 201-204. doi: 10.1126/science.1195223

Citations for Articles Found in Databases

The first date in the citation is the publication date (this citation is in APA format):

Camilli, R. (2010). Tracking hydrocarbon plume transport and biodegradation at Deepwater Horizon. Science, 330(6001), 201-204. doi: 10.1126/science.1195223

Articles Found in Databases: Common Denominators

In MLA 7, APA and Chicago styles, citations for articles found in databases share the following:

  • Author’s name is at the beginning
  • Article publication date is the first date listed
  • Second date listed is when the article was accessed

Identifying the Author(s)

Remember, when looking at a citation, the author can be:

  • A person
  • Multiple people
  • An organization or institution

Sometimes, there may not be an author at all.