"When and Where Should I Cite?"

Citing your sources is an essential part of research.  Your professors will expect you to acknowledge the sources you used, and the ideas you are using within presentations, papers, and any projects you do while at SUNY Poly.

It's important that you provide citations within the paragraphs of your paper, sometimes called "in-text citations" to indicate that ideas you're using are someone else's.

In addition to "in-text citations," you'll also need to provide the full citation, including publication information at the end of your paper or as a footnote, depending on the citation style you're using. 

At the SUNY Poly Library, there are Reference Librarians and Writing Tutors to help you with citation questions.  If you're unsure of how to cite, come to the Library and ask us for help. You can also get citation help from a live person online, using our Ask A Librarian service.  

APA Style Page - American Psychological Association's site offering examples of citations, papers, and formatting for APA papers.

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) - Comprehensive site that covers all major citation styles (APA 6th and 7th edition, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, and more) with examples of citations, examples of papers in citation styles, and other research help.

CMS Style Page - Chicago Manual of Style’s site offering examples of citations and formatting for papers.

Citation Builders are great tools to use, but you should also check the citations for accuracy. The Purdue OWL has an excellent breakdown of how citation builders and generators work and why they make mistakes. 

ZoteroBib -- Free online citation generator offering thousands of styles without ads. 

NC State Libraries Citation Builder--Select from options to build citations in APA or MLA format.

EasyBib--Generate MLA citations for free (APA and other formats require subscription).   Citation Managers help you to organize, format, and search your citations. These tools are great when working on extensive projects, and in-text citations and bibliographies can be created from these citation managers.

Reference managers offer more comprehensive ways to organize your research materials and generate bibliographies with plugins installed in your word processor of choice. You should always check these citations for accuracy, as plugins can have difficulty with some types of citation. Feel free to contact the library for more detailed tutorials on reference managers. 

EndNote--Browser based reference manager that organizes and stores research sources, connects with Microsoft Word for building citations, and managing citations.

Mendeley--Reference manager that also serves as an academic social network and recommends additional resources based on your current citation library. Allows for annotation of pdfs.

Zotero-- Desktop and browser based reference manager that allows for collaboration, organization, and creating citations for your research. Supports syncing among multiple devices and workstations. 

MLA Overview

With the 8th edition of its Handbook, MLA shifted to a method of citation that is general and can be applied to all types of sources and media.  MLA still provides examples of sources and explains how to cite specific types of sources, but the overall approach is now more flexible and focuses on 9 core principles that, if available, should be included:

  1. Author
  2. Title of source
  3. Title of container
  4. Other contributors
  5. Version
  6. Number
  7. Publisher
  8. Publication date
  9. Location

See the following for further information:

MLA 9th Edition guides forthcoming!

APA Overview

APA Documentation Style is a method for listing the sources you use so that your readers can identify and find those sources. It is commonly used in the social sciences, for example, business, history, psychology and sociology. 

Library resources for the new APA 7th edition are coming in Summer 2020; please refer to the Purdue OWl's APA 7 guides or to the official APA website for information and guidelines, or make an appointment with a librarian. 

See the following for more information on APA 6th edition:

SUNY Poly's An Introduction to APA 7th


ASA Overview

The American Sociological Association publishes a Style Guide (most recently in 2014) that outlines how to prepare a manuscript for publication. The style -- often called ASA -- is used primarily in SUNY Poly classes in Sociology and Community and Behavioral Health. Akin to Chicago Style (CMS), ASA style uses in-text citations and an alphabetic list of References after the main body of the the text. Footnotes and endnotes are permissible as necessary.

See the following for more information:

ASA Style Guide (.docx)

Sample ASA Title Page (.docx)

How to format an ASA References page (with hanging indents) (.docx)


Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) Overview:

CMS covers topics ranging from preparation and publication of papers, documentation, grammar, and usage. There are two primary styles within CMS. The Notes-Bibliography System, which is used in arts, history, and literature. And, the Author-Date System preferred by social sciences, which is similar in its content, but slightly different in form. 

The Notes-Bibliography System (NB) is most commonly used in the humanities and gives writers a means of referencing sources through footnote or endnote citations, and bibliography pages. When using the NB system you should include a footnote or endnote each time you use a source, be it summary, paraphrase, or direct quote. Footnotes appear at the bottom of the page on which the source appears, and endnotes appear at the end of the entire document. Both footnotes and endnote appear as a superscript number next to the quoted source that corresponds with the bibliographic information. In NB the note itself begins with a normal script number followed by a period then a space. Do not use a superscript number on the footnote/endnote itself. Footnote/endnote

Formula: Corresponding note number. First-name Last-name, Title of Book (Place of  publication: Publisher, Year of publication), page number.
Example: 1. Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (New York: Pocket, 2002), 23. Bibliography Formula: Last-name, First-name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. Example: King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Pocket, 2002.

General Formatting Guides

  • Margins should be a minimum of 1” and no larger than 1.5”.
  • A single, readable typeface such as Times New Roman, Palatino, or Courier New should be used.
  • A font size of 12 pt. is recommended. Nothing smaller than 10 pt. should be used.
  • Text should be consistently double-spaced except in the following instances:
    • Block quotes, tables, and captions should be single-spaced.
    • Block quotes are not wrapped in quotation marks.
    • Five or more lines of prose must be blocked.
    • Block quotes should receive and extra line of space before and after.
    • An extra .5” indent should be applied to all block quotes.
  • Notes and bibliographies should be single-spaced.
  • Pages should be numbered in the header starting with the number 1 on the first text page.
  • Utilize subheading in a consistent manner on larger papers.
  • Give subheadings and extra line of space before and after.

Citing a source more than once

The first note for each source should contain a full citation on the source: author’s full name, title, and all other publication information. When citing the source again, the note only needs to contain the author’s surname, shortened title, and page numbers.

Example: 1. Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (New York: Pocket, 2002), 14.
2. King, On Writing, 22.

When citing the source and page numbers from the same source more than once consecutively, following notes should use the word “Ibid.” This is an abbreviation of the latin word ibidem, meaning “in the same location.” To cite the same source with different page numbers use “Ibid.” followed by a comma and the new page numbers.

Example: 1. Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft (New York: Pocket, 2002), 14.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid., 15.
4. Ibid., 20, 22, 34. 

Bibliography Information

The bibliography page appears at the end of the work and includes all sources cited in the work by the writer. It sometimes contains other related sources not cited that may provide further insight into the subject. In the Chicago NB system bibliography page entries are in alphabetical order by author last name.

Book citation examples

Note formula (N): 1. First-name Last-name, Title of Book (Place of  publication: Publisher, Year of publication), page number.
Note example: JRR Tolkien, The Hobbit (New York: Del Rey, 2013), 187.
Bibliography formula (B): Last-name, First-name. Title of Book. Place of publication: Publisher, Year of publication. Bibliography example: Tolkien, JRR. The Hobbit. New York: Del Rey, 2013. 

Journal and periodical example

N: 1. James Gurney, “Atmospheric Effects: Part 1,”International Artist February, (2011): 38. B: Gurney, James. “Atmospheric Effects: Part 1.”International Artist February, (2011): 38-47. [/well] [well]

Electronic Journals

N: 1. Devin Williamson, “Geometric Inception,” Art and Science 14, no. 3 (2014): 55, accessed June 4, 2014, B: Williamson, Devin. “Geometric Inception,” Art and Science 14, no. 3 (2014): 55-60. Accessed June 4, 2014. 

Online Magazine

N: 1. Kayla Mackey, Painting The Fantastic, Concept Artist Magazine, August 14, 2015, B: Mackey, Kayla. Painting The Fantastic. Concept Artist Magazine, August 14, 2015. 


N: 1. Nicholas Mello, “Caring for Your Fishbowl,” Daily Sun (Mawah, NJ), Jan. 15, 2013. B: Mello, Nicholas. “Caring for Your Fishbowl.” Daily Sun (Mawah, NJ), Jan. 15, 2013. 

Online Multimedia

N format: 1. First-name Last-name of Performer, Writer or Creator, Title of Text, indication of format/medium, running time, publication date, URL. N: Chris Hardwick, Rachel Heine, Adventure People, Video, 4:09, September 21, 2015,

B format: Last-name, First-name of Performer, Writer or Creator. Title of Text. Indication of Medium, Running Time. Publication Date. URL. B: Hardwick, Chris. Heine, Rachel. Adventure People. Video, 4:09. September 21, 2015.

Film and other recorded mediums.

N formula: 1. First-name Last-name, Title of Work, Format, directed/performed by First-name Last-name (Original release year; City: Studio/Distributor, Video release year.), Medium.

B formula: Last-name, First-name. Title of Work. Format. Directed/Performed by First-name Last-name. Original Release Year. City: Studio/Distributor, Video release year. Medium. 

Lectures and Presentations

N: 1. Sven Anderson, “The Tailored Resumé,” (presentation, Professional Practices Workshop, Oneonta, NY, April 18, 2013). B: Anderson, Sven. “The Tailored Resumé,” Presentation at Professional Practices Workshop, Oneonta, NY, April 18, 2013.

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography includes not only the citation information typically found in a bibliography, but also a few sentences describing the resource.

Helpful websites

Purdue OWL examples of annotated bibliographies in APA and MLA
Purdue OWL - Annotated Bibliographies
Cornell Library - The Annotated Bibliography
EasyBib - Annotated Bibliography


Style Guides at the Library

Image book cover APA 7th

Official APA manuals (7th ed.) are available on Reserve and in Ref BF76.7.P83

Image book cover MLA 9th

An official MLA manual is available on Reserve and in Ref LB2369.G53


ASA Style Guide 5th Edition

An official ASA manual is available in Reference HM569.A54 2014




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