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Citing Sources Guide


Coming soon! A separate subject guide devoted to explaining how to read citations.

Basic Structure of a Citation

Please note that ALL elements vary from style to style. Be sure you know which style you need to use for your research, and click on the corresponding tab to the left.


Main elements of a citation - typically - include:

  • Author or Editor 
  • Title of publication -- If you're citing a section from a book, you need to include the book title and sometimes the chapter title. Additionally, If you are citing a section from an article, you would need to include the journal title and article title. 
  • Date of Publication 
  • Date of Access 
  • Location of Publication 
  • Method of access -- Some citation styles require a DOI, Permalink, or URL
  • Punctuation -- This varies wildly, from when to use italics to where to place periods and commas. 

Understanding DOIs

What is a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and why is it important?

  • A DOI is unique alphanumeric sequence given to an article. Think of DOIs as a sort of barcode or ISBN that identifies the specific article it is assigned to.
  • All DOIs start with "10."  You may see it written as

    • ....
    • ...
    • doi:10. ...
  • It is a series of 10-12 numbers
  • DOIs are also more stable, permanent ways of linking to an article. 
    • DOIs are more stable than URLs. 
    • Finding and linking to articles is easier by using a DOI resolver
  • Many citation styles now prefer DOIs to indicate access.