Cite Sources

Bibliography and Reasons for Citing Sources
Citation Formats


A bibliography (aka "Works Cited," "References," or other) is your list of sources of information. You should include sources from which you quoted, reproduced a figure or other graphic material, AND sources whose information you paraphrased or restated. Each citatiion in your bibliography should clearly and precisely identify the source you used.

A citation typically includes:

  • Author(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Title of work (article, book chapter, paper)
  • Source (journal, book title, conference proceedings, patent number)
  • Format information if relevant--Web address, e-mail, personal communication, etc.--and date accessed by you
  • Page numbers used

Why Cite Your Sources?

1.  Citing sources is the hallmark of professional and scholarly communication. As a scientist or engineer, you communicate how you built your work and reached your conclusions.

2.  You give others the credit they deserve for their work--just as you want future authors to give you credit.

3.  Your readers can use your citations to put your work in context and explore further--your work isn't a dead end.

4.  Citing sources encourages you to think. By documenting how others' ideas connect to yours, you get the concepts more firmly in your head. Anything else is cheating yourself on your education.

and finally,

5.  Plagiarism is bad. Whether you content-scrape, buy another's paper, or just don't keep track of what you're doing, it's a breach of professional ethics if intentional, and also a sign of incompetence if unintentional. Either way, be aware of what constitutes plagiarism, and don't do it.

Citation Formats (aka " Citation Style")

The citation format includes the order in which the information appears, punctuation and abbreviations. Different academic disciplines often prefer specific styles. Ask your professor or editor if they have a preferred style guide.

Biology Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers  T11 .S386 2006
Chemistry American Chemical Society--ACS Style Guide QD8.5 .A25 2006
Computer Science IEEE Computer Society recommends Chicago Manual of Style (see Multidisciplinary)
Economics Chicago Manual of Style (see Multidisciplinary)

American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) recommends Chicago Manual of Style (see Multidisciplinary)

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)--IEEE Editorial Style Manual 
Sample conference paper in IEEE style

A Guide to Writing as an Engineer T11 .B396 2009


Suggestions to Authors of the Reports of the United States Geological Survey  I 19.2:Su 3/5/978

Government Information

Guide: Citing U.S. Government Publications -- from Indiana University

Citing Government Publications-- General Guidelines

The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources, 3rd Ed. -- Z7164.G7 G37 2002, Available on 1st floor, GovPubs Reference

U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) Style Manual

Liberal Arts

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers  LB2369 .G53 2009
"Aimed at high school and undergraduate students"
Guidelines for Internet Sources-MLA

Chicago Manual of Style Z253 .U69 2010 REF
Guide to all aspects of manuscript formation and citation

 APA style help

Metallurgy and Materials Science Recommend style for Chemistry or Engineering
Mining Recommend style for Engineering

Chicago Manual of Style  Z253 .U69 2010 REF


American Association of Petroleum Geologist (AAPG)-- Manuscript Preparation (see Reference Style section)

Society of Petroleum Engineers Style Guide, Section 8.8
Physics American Institute of Physics--AIP Style Manual


These citation management tools help collect, store, and format your citations. Compare citation manager features using this chartPDF versionText only version.

A few cautionary notes:

  • Your citations will be only as good as the data fed to the tool. If a database misspelled an author's last name, the citation will have the misspelling, unless you correct it.
  • Some citation management tools specialize in downloading files from databases.  Our licensing agreements with database vendors prohibit excessive downloadingPDF versionText only version.  Please be aware of any automated file import features that may be activated in your citation management programs!

Free Tools

(NB: many free tools offer a premium version for a fee)

EndNote Basic

  • You have free access to expanded functions of EndNote Basic (via the Library's Web of Science subscription).
  • Users must first sign up for an account. EndNote Demo
  • Need assistance with importing citations? See Use EndNote for help.
  • Note: This is the only citation management application for which the Library provides support.

JabRef (Java based. Shares characteristics with BibTeX.)

Zotero (Firefox add-on.)

Mendeley (PDF-based tool with social networking opportunities)

ReadCube (Enhanced PDF viewing, personalized recommendations, and more)


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Last Updated: 10/22/2016 18:15:17