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Citing Your Sources

A quick reference guide to the most commonly used citation styles.

Citation Style Guides

Find the book in the library:

Find the book in the library:

Find the book in the library:

Find the book in the library:

There are plenty of websites that will generate a reference if you plug in a web address or pdf. However, the references that you can get from OneSearch, databases, or Google Scholar are usually just as good as those from an online citation generator.

The 2 tools below, Mendeley and Zotero, are much more powerful tools that not only generate references, but they also enable you to store and organize your research. They can also generate in-text citations and full bibliographies.

Mendeley & Zotero: Basics

What they do

  • Store & organize research
    • Journal articles
    • Books
    • Websites
    • Videos
    • More
  • Automatically generate in-text citations and references
  • Tag and add notes to sources

How they work

  • Download desktop apps (you can also use a web app)
  • Create an account to sync your data
  • Install a browser extension to store sources from websites and databases
  • Import or edit data about your sources (ex: author, publisher, title, etc.)
  • Create libraries/collections to organize your sources
  • Link the program to your word processor to add citations




  • Meets accessibility requirements
  • Works well with Microsoft Word and Libre Office
  • Option to customize keyboard shortcuts
  • Allows you to annotate pdfs directly


  • Doesn't work with Google Docs
  • Doesn't save a snapshot of webpages
  • Doesn't always import all the necessary data to cite YouTube videos
  • Only allows you to add Open Access pdfs (not paywalled)





  • Works with Microsoft Word, Libre Office, and Google Docs
  • Good at grabbing metadata from different online sources (ex: websites, videos)
  • Saves most pdfs you download
  • Allows you to search full-texts of pdfs


  • Not fully accessible for screen readers
  • Only 300 MB of cloud storage (most students won't need any more)

Why Cite Your Sources?


Why Cite?

Give Credit

Giving credit to the original source's author(s) acknowledges their ideas.

Establish Credibility

Citing shows that you've done your research.

Help Your Readers

Citations guide readers to other sources on the same topic.

Participate in the Conversation

Show how your work fits into your field of study.

Avoid Plagiarism

Taking someone else's words or ideas as your own can lead to serious consequences.

Thank you to Middlebury Libraries for some of these ideas.

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