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Citing Your Sources

This guide is intended to help you cite sources, avoid plagiarism, learn about citation styles and available citation tools, and more.

What is a Citation Management Tool?


A Citation Management Tool is software that allows you to store and organize citation information (e.g. title, author, publication date, etc.). Most also allow users to create a reference list, bibliography, or work cited page from the citations stored in the management tool and some even assist with in-text citations, creating annotated bibliographies, organizing research, and more. Most tools offer assistance with citing sources in a variety of styles like APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.

Please note that when working with citation management tools it's extremely important that the citation information stored in these tools is correct. For example, if a citation is exported to a citation management tool in all UPPER CASE LETTERS when that citation is output as a source on a reference list it will be listed in all UPPER CASE LETTERS. Typically, that type of detail is NOT corrected by the citation management tool, so users should always double check the citation information that they are entering into or exported to the citation management tool.

As with any tool, there are benefits and drawbacks to using citation management tools that you should consider:

Benefits:
  • Allows users to store and organize citation information, bibliographies, etc.
  • Allows for quick processing of bibliographies, in-text citations, etc.
Drawbacks:
  • May contain errors--users still need to proofread and correct citation information, bibliographies, etc.
  • May not include every citation style or up-to-date information