Rules for citing sources and citation formats can get complicated. A number
style guides have been developed that provide consistency in how information
is cited. Some of the most common styles are APA, Chicago, and MLA. Citation
styles are often associated with certain professional groups and
disciplines. For instance, APA, American Psychological Association, is often used in the
sciences while MLA, Modern Language Association, is popular in the literature and
humanities area. Some professors don’t care which citation style you use as
long as you are consistent.
The following lists the major style guides and an Internet site which
outlines the style. Note
that while the Internet sites are convenient they usually only have the most
basic information. For all the rules and exceptions, look at the official
manual published by the style’s sponsor. Rules for citation styles change
over time, particularly recently with the Internet, so it is important to
use the latest edition. Any library will have some, if not all, of these
Publication Manual of
the American Psychological Association, 6th ed. (2009).
Washington, DC : American Psychological Association.
The basic format for citing Web sources in APA style is:
Author’s name (last name, first and
any middle initials). (Date of Internet posting or revision). Title of page.
Title of complete work [if applicable]. Retrieval statement.
- American Psychological Association. (2011).
"Basics of APA Style". APAStyle.org. Retrieved Aug. 29, 2011,
- For more examples, see citations in the What is Plagiarism?
section of this site.
University of Chicago Press,
The Chicago Manual of
Style, 16th ed. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2010.
The basic format for citing Web sources in Chicago style is:
Author’s name (in normal order),
name of page, date of Internet posting or revision, <URL> or other retrieval
information (date of access), text division (if applicable).
"Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide" The Chicago Manual of Style Online, accessed August 29, 2011,<http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html>.
For more examples, see citations in the How to Credit Sources
section of this site.
Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th ed. New York,
Modern Language Association of America, 1999.
The basic format for citing Web sources in MLA style is:
Author or editor’s name (last name first).
Name of site. Name of institution/organization affiliated with the site (sponsor or publisher), date of resource creation (if available, use n.d. of no publishing date given). Medium of publication. Date of access.
For more examples, see citations in the How to Avoid It section
of this site.
More information on citing online sources (including Web pages, full-text
articles in journal databases, e-mail, live chat, etc.) for these styles and
others can be found in:
California State University San Marcos, Citation Style Guides, 2011, <http://library.csusm.edu/finding/more/style_guides/>