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Library Orientation 2020

Citing your sources means giving credit to the authors whose information you used when writing a paper.  Generally, there will be two parts to this process:  (1) a short notation in the text of your paper called an in-text citation and (2) a list at the end of your paper that includes complete information about each source you used.  This list is called your "References" in APA format or "Works Cited" in MLA format.  You must cite the source of any idea you borrow, whether you put the idea in your own words ("paraphrase" it), summarize it, or quote it word for word.

Cover of APA 7 manualThere are a variety of formats or citation styles, which outline different, very specific, ways to list the title, cover of MLA handbookauthor, date, and other information of each source you use in writing your paper.  Two formats often used in classes at Martin are MLA format and APA format.  Your instructor will probably tell you which format you are required to use in his or her class.  Failure to give credit to your sources is called plagiarism and can result in lowered grades or more severe consequences.


 Don't panic!  You have plenty of resources to help you with your citations:

  • Watch one of the excellent video tutorials on this page.
  • Use the print APA and MLA manuals (in the library's Reference section).
  • Purdue University has created a website called Purdue OWL which contains instructions and examples in MLA, APA and Chicago style formats.  The website is located at:  Within Purdue OWL, click on the MLA Guide or the APA Guide and then "Formatting and Style Guide" to see examples of citations and a sample paper.
  • Articles in most databases have a citation tool that will create the citation for you for your References or Works Cited list.  (Check each citation you get from the citation tool with another source to make sure there are no errors.)  Don't forget to create the corresponding in-text citation to go within the text of your paper.
  • If you need help with a tricky citation, finding the print citation manuals, or navigating Purdue OWL, ask the library staff!
  • NCSU Citation Builder