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Tools for Research in Library & Information Studies : Citing Sources

An introduction to resources and research techniques for Library & Information Studies.

General rules for citation

Know your citation style before you start

Different citation styles can change the structure of a paper. By knowing what is expected from the style guide ahead of time, you'll save time by avoiding revision due to technical style requirements. Citation style will usually be dictated by the discipline and audience for you writing.

Cite anytime an idea is taken from a different source

When in doubt, cite your sources. It is imperative to give author's credit for their work. Additionally, citations will usually only strengthen your writing by allowing your readers to understand where you are drawing your ideas from. 

Paraphrase ideas frequently

When referring to texts, it's good practice to paraphrase ideas. This serves several purposes including: fluidly fitting the work of other author's into your own style, condensing arguments and focusing on the parts that are important for your writing, and being  able to clarify how you are interpreting the writing you draw from.

Online sources and popular citation styles

Citation managers

Individuals may choose to use a citation manager to help automatically gather citation information for references, collect and organize research, create bibliographies and more.  The UW-Madison Citation Manager working group has put together information to help individuals select a citation manager. 

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