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Library Orientation: Citing and Citations

An easy access point to the LRD library resources.

What is a Citation?

A citation gives the reader enough information to find the work you are citing. In general, when you create a citation, you are recording the following information:

  • Author or authors
  • Title of work
  • When it was published
  • Where it was published
  • Where to find it (url, volume, chapter, etc)


Plagiarism Defined

The UDC Student Handbook defines plagiarism as:

"The use by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without giving full and clear acknowledgement. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials."


Zotero is a free standalone program that works with the Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browsers to provide a simple way to save the information for citations, organize that information, and format the information based on a particular citation style.

For more information, consult our guide to Zotero and visit the Zotero website.


Giving credit where credit is due is an important and highly regarded concept in academic work. It is the way we acknowledge the many foundations on which our own endeavors are built. Citing is not something created just to annoy you. It is a fundamental aspect of being someone who learns.

A citation should be created when:

  • Paraphrasing
  • Quoting
  • Summarizing

Common sense rules:

  • If your professor does not have a preference, use the style with which you are most familiar.
  • Never copy the formatting of a citation from another publication. Publishers generally have their own particular style formats that differ from those discussed below.
  • Always ask for help.

The rules stipulated by these styles may not make sense. If you can't figure out how to do your citations correctly, always ask your professor or a librarian for help. There is no need to lose points on an assignment because your citations are incorrect.


The MLA (Modern Language Association) style is based upon the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed (2016) and is the most common style used for undergraduate research papers.  It is also used for research papers written in the humanities (English, history, art, etc.).

The MLA style uses the in-text form of citations and includes a Works Cited page.

Online Guides

Note that these online guides are not comprehensive. Always consult the published guide for complete information.


The APA style, based upon the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, (2009) is commonly used within the social sciences (i.e., psychology, sociology, anthropology, economics, etc) and sciences.

The APA style generally uses in-text citations and has a reference list.

Online Guides

Note that these online guides are not comprehensive. Always consult the published guide for complete information.

Chicago / Turabian

The Chicago style is based upon the Chicago Manual of Style, 16th edition (2010), published by the University of Chicago Press. It is a style that is used in the humanities and the social sciences and it differs from APA and MLA in that this style generally uses footnotes for the in-text citations and a references page.

Turabian, closely based on the Chicago style, was intended to for use by undergraduates; however, it is not used widely. The related publication is A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed (Call no. LB2369. T8 2007 (7th ed.) - kept in the Ready Reference collection)

Online Guides

Note that these online guides are not comprehensive. Always consult the published guide for complete information.

ASA Style Guide

APSA Style Manual

Subject Guide

Practicing In-text Citations


APA In-text citation Examples

MLA In-text citation examples


Sample Source: An excerpt from Jonathan Safron Foer's 2009 Eating Animals

Write a sentence or two using the excerpt above (see Using In-Text Citation Examples if needed), and submit via this form