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Cite It Right!: What is a Citation?

Citation information to be used with the Cite It Right - Got Research? workshops

Citation Workshops with Oakton Librarians - Spring 2022

Cite It Right!

Citation Workshops start in April.  Choose a workshop that fits your needs and your schedule.  Each Citation Workshop is 30 minutes.  You can register for in-person sessions at either campus or an online workshop.  Click here and register now!

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What is a Citation?

A citation is reliable way to lead your reader back to the materials you used in your research.

A citation gives credit to an author for their research, writings and ideas.

Most citations include information such as

  • author's name,
  • title of the book, article or website, 
  • name of the magazine or journal, 
  • date published or updated
  • if the information was found in print or online

When you use citations you are

  • giving credit to the authors of material you used,
  • avoiding plagiarism,
  • showing that you know how to use information well,
  • creating credibility for your paper by providing good quality sources and good quality citations for them.

A URL is NOT a Citation!

A URL or web address is not enough information for a citation in any paper or project.
Often a URL will lead to a dead link so more details about your source are needed.

But a website is different from a book. 

What do I include in a citation for an internet source?

MLA requires as much of the following information as possible:
      Author's name
      Title of the work
      Title of the website
      Name of the website sponsor
      Date of the most recent update
      Web (to show this is not a print source)
      Date of access (or the date you looked at the website)

APA requires as much of the following information as possible:
      Author's name
      Date of publication or update
      Title of the source
      URL  ("Retrieved from" followed by the url)  or
      DOI - Digital Object Identifier  - for online newspaper, magazine or journal articles.

CMS or Chicago Manual of Style requires as much of the following information as possible:
      Author's name
      Title of the work
      Title of the source
      Date of publication or update

      URL

What Needs to be Cited?

Length: 1:05

deLaplante, K. (2010, Mar 16). Avoiding Plagiarism: What Do I Need to Cite? [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atTRlg6iaGo  (APA style YouTube citation)