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Library Basics: Citations

Citation Guide links

Citing sources correctly is important to any research project, whether it be a paper, presentation, or speech. Citation styles govern more than just the 'Works Cited' page. They provide guidance on citations, in-text citations, formatting the paper, title pages, and more. Each style has slightly different formatting, but most require the same information. The following guides and tools will help you format your projects correctly.

Citation Tools & Managers

APA - In text citations

What goes in an in-text citation?

You MUST give credit when you quote or paraphrase (use words or ideas) from another source, published or unpublished. In text citations can include up to three parts:

  1. The author's last name
  2. The year the source was published
  3. The page or paragraph number  *only include for a direct quotation

For sources with multiple authors, include up to two authors in the in text citation. Example: (Smith & Jones, 2010). For sources with three or more authors, list only one name, followed by et al. Example (Myers et al., 2002)

When there is no named author,  Use a shortened title. Example: (“Monkeys Write,” 2001)

When there is no date available for a reference put n.d. in place of the year. Example: (Myers, n.d., p. 10).

Anatomy of a citation - APA


MLA - In text citations

What goes in an in-text citation?

The goal of an in-text citation is to direct your reader to the full citation of your source with minimal disruption to the flow of your text.  In text citations are typically made up of two parts:  

  1. the element that comes first in the full citation in your works cited page (usually the author's name)
  2. the page number

These short references help the reader identify which of your sources the citation comes from as well as the precise location of the quotation within the source.  

If the source does not use page numbers or any other kind of numbering system, you may omit the number from the in-text citation.  Some sources will use paragraph numbers rather than page numbers.  If this is the case, use the paragraph number, preceded by the label par. or pars.  ex:  (Chan, par. 41).

Anatomy of a citation - MLA

Core Elements of MLA Style

Every entry in your works cited list will contain the core elements in the order in which they are listed below.  

Each element within the citation should also be followed by the punctuation mark shown.  

Elements not relevant to the resource being cited may be omitted.  

  • The pages for each source type in this guide will explain how the elements may differ from one medium to another.