Giving Credit (citations)

You need to be able to work with citations for two reasons:
  1. to give credit for the sources you use
  2. to be able to recognize citation patterns in order to determine source type.

This reading will discuss the general patterns that citations follow.  Learning these patterns will help you figure out what kind of source you’re dealing with when you find a reference and will make it easier to do citations for sources you use in your research.

NOTE:  Formatting specific types of sources will be covered in the readings for that type of source.

You must give credit, or cite, all sources that you use in your paper or research project.  To do this, you use notes and citations (also called references.)   Notes & citations perform two functions:
  • They give credit to authors and other creators
  • They give information about a source so that anyone can find it
    • Since you are usually the person who needs to find the source again, it’s in your best interests to be complete.
When you use a note or citation to give credit to a source, you are citing or documenting or referencing that source.

Different groups have developed specific styles, or formats, for creating notes & citations.

 Style guides and manuals provide information about and examples of, specific styles.

The three most frequently used styles are:

  • Chicago/Turabian (University of Chicago Press)
  • MLA (Modern Language Association)  
  • APA (American Psychological Association)

Style guides & manuals provide examples of how to format notes and citations for different types of sources.  They also include the rationale behind the formatting.  Knowing the rationale can help you decide how to do a citation when there isn’t an exact example to follow.

  • Some fields, especially the sciences, refer users to important academic journals  in the field for examples.

Be aware that each style capitalizes titles differently, treats authors’ names differently, puts the year of publication in different places,  and uses different punctuation.

NOTE:   You are responsible for making sure that things are spelled correctly, capitalized correctly, etc.  Word and other citation  programs, such as eTurabian & Zotero, will NOT do that for you.

In addition to examples of citations, style guides also give information on how to do a title page, format captions for images, and  how to do notes, bibliographies and works cited lists, etc.

The  OWL at Purdue University  is a really good online guide to the most common styles.   OWL stands for Online Writing Lab.

In this class you will be required to use Chicago 16th/Turabian 8th edition,   MLA 8th edition or APA 6th edition.   It’s very easy for me to tell when you don’t use the right version, so make sure you use the correct one.  The examples at the OWL@Purdue show the correct versions.  Word does not have the correct version of Chicago/Turabian and may not have the correct MLA & APA, depending on the version of Word you have.   This will be explained in detail in future assignments.

 A WORD ABOUT CHICAGO/TURABIAN:  Turabian style and Chicago style are almost the same thing.  Turabian  is Chicago style that has been adapted for use by students who are writing research papers, theses, and dissertations.  Chicago  style is more for use by people writing books.  For this class, you may use them interchangeably.
Chicago/Turabian gives you the option of using an author/date system or a footnotes/bibliography system.  Because the History Department mostly uses the footnotes/bibliography style, this course will cover just that version.  It may also be called Chicago/Turabian  (or just Chicago or just Turabian) humanities style.  NOTE:  if you’re given a choice, use the author/date system – it’s much, much easier.  A few professors may require you to use an older style where all citation information appears in a footnote.
Notes give credit for a specific quotation,  interpretation, or other piece of information used in the body of a paper, presentation, etc.  Notes are also called footnotes, endnotes,  and parenthetical references.
Each type of note is, of course,  formatted differently.  There are specialized styles where the citation and the note are combined into a footnote or endnote.   Chicago/Turabian used to require this combo note/bibliography style, but no longer does so.  It’s still used by some historians and in some scientific fields.

Word, just to make things difficult, calls notes citations.



Citations give credit to a source as a whole – a whole book, a whole article, a whole web page, etc.  Citations are also called bibliographic citations or references.   Every note should have a matching citation in the bibliography (or reference list or works cited list.)    Also list sources you consulted, even if you didn’t need to use a note. (Exception:  you can leave out sources that you used only for general background, such as encyclopedias.)  

Not sure whether to include a citation?  Better safe than sorry:  include it.

Word, continuing to be difficult,  calls  citations sources in a bibliography or sources in a works cited list.
Remember that Word usage is:
  • Citation =  what most people call a note (includes endnotes and footnotes)
  • Source in a bibliography, reference list or works cited list =  what most people call a citation, bibliographic citation or reference.
A bibliography is a list of sources consulted when writing a paper, preparing a presentation, research project etc.   A Bibliography is also called a reference list or a works cited list.
It often seems like citations are incomprehensible masses of information with an insane use of punctuation. This is only partially true.  All citation styles use the same basic pattern, they just mix it up a bit.
Why do you need to learn citation patterns?    Once you know citation patterns, you will:
  • Be able to understand citations even in styles you don’t know.
  • Be able to put the right information into the right box when using Word’s reference feature or a program like Zotero, eTurabian, or EasyBib.
  • Be able to determine if the citation is for a book or a journal article or a web page.

ANOTHER WORD about Chicago/Turabian:  Chicago/Turabian consists of two styles.  The first is the notes/bibliography/style, often referred to as Chicago/Turabian Humanities.  This style uses footnotes or endnotes plus a bibliography at the end.

 The second style is the author/date style, sometimes referred to as the parenthetical reference style.  Notes take the form of short references in parentheses in the body of the paper,  plus a reference list.
In this class, we will use the notes/bibliography style  as it’s the one used by most history faculty.
FOR THIS CLASS, you will need to understand how citations are formatted for a bibliography or reference list.  You will not be asked to do footnotes, endnotes or parenthetical references.

 Italics, capitalization, punctuation, etc. in the examples below are identical to what you would expect to find in an actual citation.
APA citations are easily spotted because the date follows the author’s name.  If there is no author, APA citations start with the title followed by the date.
 NOTE:  Chicago/Turabian parenthetical style also has the date after the author’s name.

Chicago/Turabian author/date is very similar to APA.  Remember, for this class, you will only need to learn Chicago/Turabian Humanities.  Chicago/Turabian Humanities is similar to MLA.

 NOTE:  MLA no longer requires a medium of publication (for example:  print or web).


Chicago 16th/Turabian 8th (Humanities)  

Author. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication.
MLA 8th
Author. Title of Book. Publisher location: Publisher name, year of publication.
APA 6th
Author. (Date of publication). Title of book.Publisher location: Publisher name.


Chicago 16th/Turabian 8th (Humanities)  
Author.  “Title of Article.” Title of Journal.  volume number, issue number  (year):  page numbers  accessed Month day, year, URL  (if DOI* is available, use the DOI in place of the URL)  
MLA 8th
Author. “Title of Article.”Title of Journal volume, issue, (date): page numbers. Database publisher or URL if no database. Day Mon. year.

APA 6th

Author. (Year). Title of article. Title of Journal, volume number(issue number), page numbers. doi:0000/00000 (or URL for journal’s home page if no DOI*.)

WHAT’S A DOI?  DOI stands for digital object identifier.  It’s like a social security number for articles and other similar pieces of information.  You can use the DOI to search for an article, but the system is still developing.  Right now, it’s still better to search for an author and title.

(Cite a single web page.  Don’t cite the whole website unless you’re using it as an example.)

Chicago 16th/Turabian 8th (Humanities)  

Author. “Title of Web Page.”Title of Website. Publication date if known.  Accessed Month day, year, URL

MLA 8th

Author. “Title of Article.”Title of the Website.Publisher Name, Day Mon. Year.  Day Mon. Year retrieved.

 APA 6th

Author. (Year, Month day). Title of article. Title of the Website. Retrieved from URL of specific article


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