Skip to Main Content Albertsons Library Reservations


This guide explains what plagiarism is, why it's important, and how to avoid it

Why Citing is Important

Reason 1: Giving Credit

Citation is about giving credit where credit is due... citation is a way to pay a small token to the creators and whose work yours is built in part upon. This not only encourages your readers to check out their work, possibly giving some additional attention to them, but also shows an appreciation and acknowledgement for their efforts.

Reason 2: Strengthen Your Position

A very large percentage of writing is persuasive in nature. Even when you’re writing something that’s purely non-fictional, you’re presenting one set of facts that may collide with other evidence. Correctly citing information and including quotes is a way of backing up any arguments or points made... it bolsters your argument by providing supporting evidence and making it so that anyone who wishes to take a counter position is arguing with more people.

Reason 3: Showing Due Diligence

Finally, citing your sources can easily save your hide. [If you mess up] citations are the equivalent of showing your work and illustrating where exactly the fault lies. This encourages readers to not place the blame for the misinformation on you (unless you used a clearly untrustworthy source)... good citations show your research and show your process. While there is no such thing as a good mistake, one made in good faith is far better than one made negligently. However, without citation, all errors are errors of negligence.

Bailey, J. (2017, May 16). Why Cite? Three Reasons to Cite Your Sources. Retrieved May 15, 2019, from

Citation Styles

You can search below or check out our LibGuide on Citations:

Citation Styles:

  • ACS (American Chemical Society) - Chemistry - The ACS Style Guide - Official online source from the American Chemical Society or in print in the reference collection (QD8.5 .A25 2006).
  • AIP (American Institute of Physics) Physics - AIP Style Manual - Official rules from the AIP Style Manual
  • ALWD (Association of Legal Writing Directors) - Legal Studies - ALWD Citation Manual: A Professional System of Citation in print in the reference collection (KF245 .A45 2010). See also Introduction to Basic Legal Citation by Peter W. Martin for a well organized guide that refers to both the ALWD Citation Manual and The Bluebook.
  • AMA (American Medical Association) Medical Sciences - AMA Manual of Style: A Guide for Authors and Editors in the Mini-reference collection 1st floor  or the online AMA Style Guide from University of Evansville Libraries.
  • AMS (American Mathematical Society) - Mathematics - AMS Author Handbook - Official source from American Mathematical Society.
  • APSA (American Political Science Association) Political Science, International Studies -  Style Manual for Political Science - Official source from APSA  or in print in the reference collection (JA86 .A52 2001).
  • ASA (American Sociological Association) - Sociology - Purdue OWL ASA Style or in print in the Mini-reference collection.
  • AP (Associated Press) Journalism, Public Relations -  earlier editions in print in the reference collection (ref PN4783. A83).
  • APA (American Psychological Association) - Social Sciences-  Online APA Style Guide to Electronic Resources. view earlier editions in print (BF76.7 .P832 2007) or OWL Purdue APA Style Guide.
  • Bluebook - Legal Studies - The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation in print in the reference collection (ref KF245 .B58). See also Introduction to Basic Legal Citation by Peter W. Martin for a well organized guide that refers to both The Bluebook and the ALWD Citation Manual.
  • Chicago Manual of Style - Humanities, Social StudiesThe Chicago Manual of Style ebook or view the physical copy at the Mini-reference collection
  • CSE (Council of Science Editors) - Biology -  Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers in print in the reference collection (ref T11 .S386 2014) or see CSE Name-Year Citation Style Guide from McGill Library.
  • Harvard Business School - Business - Harvard Business School Citation Guide - Official citation guide from the Harvard Business School, or for common hard to cite items go here.
  • LSA (Linguistic Society of America) Linguistics - Unified Style Sheet for Linguistics​ - Official online guide from the Linguistic Society of America. 
  • Maroonbook - Legal Studies - University of Chicago Manual of Legal Citation - official online source for the Maroonbook, from the University of Chicago.
  • MLA - Humanities - Purdue OWL MLA Guide
  • NLM (National Library of Medicine) - Medicine - Citing Medicine - Official online guide from the National Library of Medicine.

Elements of a Citation

While the exact parts of a citation vary from one source type to the next, the most common elements address the questions who, what, when, and where.


This is the name of the person (author, composer, artist) who is responsible for the work being cited. More rarely, it may be an institution rather than an individual, as in many government documents.


The title of the work


The date of the item being cited. Usually, only the year is required, but if you have more specific information, you can include that as well.


Where can someone who is interested in this source find it? This information may include one or more of the following:

  • Publication title (with volume, number, and page numbers)
  • URL - for example,
  • DOI (digital object identifier) - for example, 10.1016/j.nut.2015.05.021


"Elements of a Citation" Created by: Ithaca Library Reference
Reference Services

Ithaca College Library
Ithaca, NY, USA