Citation is the practice of providing information about the sources you have used in your writing. This allows readers to trace your ideas back to their original sources.

Citation acknowledges any source that has directly influenced your language, ideas, or arguments. You should cite not only what you quote, but also what you paraphrase.

If you don't cite, you may be guilty of plagiarism.

Citation Styles

The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information is the style manual of the American Chemical Society. It is currently in its third edition (2006). The guide offers two methods of in-text citation: a numbered system and an author/date system similar to that used by APA. In addition to the online version, we keep a print copy at the Research Help Desk.

AMA manual of style : a guide for authors and editors (print version at Research Help Desk R119 .A533 2007) is the style guide for the American Medical Association. The AMA style is used in the field of medicine and other related fields such as public health. The in-text citations are numbered superscripts that correlate with the numbered references in the bibliography that appear in the order that they are cited. At present, the manual is in its 10th edition (2007). Below are some useful links for learning more about the citation style:

The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association is the style manual of choice for many disciplines in the social sciences. The current edition is the sixth (2010).

The ASA Style Guide is the style manual of the American Sociological Association. It is very similar to the APA Style Manual, with some exceptons.

Chicago is the style manual of choice for history and some other disciplines.

Turabian, a simplified guide to the Chicago Manual of Style, is a popular choice at many undergraduate institutions regardless of discipline. Turabian and Chicago offer two documentation systems: 1) footnote/bibliography and 2) parenthetical reference/reference list. The systems are quite different, one more closely resembling MLA, and the other similar to APA. Be careful not to mix the two.

Scientific Style and Format (Research Help Desk T 11 .S386 2014) is the style manual of the Council of Science Editors. CSE is the style of choice for many disciplines in medicine, biology, and the natural sciences. The manual is now in its eighth edition (2014). CSE offers three different methods for citing materials in-text as well as a standard format for end references.

Irvine's Writing about Music is used in the School of Music's history classes.

Irvine's is available in the Music Reference section at the IC Library (MUSREF ML 3797.I79 1999).

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. The newest version is described in the 8th edition of the MLA Handbook (2016).


Managing citations and generating bibliographies can be tedious and time-consuming tasks. Learning to use a reference manager can make the process easier. See our guides to popular reference management apps: