A citation is a reference to the source of an idea, information or image.
Any words, ideas or images that you do not create yourself must be cited if you use them in your work.
Citing information sources lets the audience know the origins of your information (in case they would like to locate the original) and gives credit to the creator (preventing plagiarism).
Use the citation style specified by your professor. MLA style is most commonly associated with humanities research. APA style is most commonly associated with social sciences and sciences research. CSE style is most commonly associated with the sciences and ACS style with chemistry. Chicago style has two options for citing and is used for many subjects across disciplines. Citation styles for legal documents vary.
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Style guides are sets of rules for formatting and writing papers, including how citations should look. Citations consist of 2 parts:
1. Full citations: Complete information on a source, listed on the works cited or references page.
2. In-Text citations: short notes written into the body of your paper/project to refer readers to the full citation.
The Citation Basics page provides information on the style guides most frequently used at CCBC.
Citation generators are online tools that automatically format citations. They may appear as a "cite" button on article pages, usually found near the print/save/email functions. Some citation generators (such as EasyBib or Citation Machine) are available freely on the internet.
Citations are only as good as the information provided to the generator. Some builders may miss or confuse certain parts of the citation, not italicizing words properly or mistaking the title of an article for the title of a journal. Remember that you are responsible for the accuracy of your citations.