Properly citing where you find the information you use for research papers and projects is extremely important - it gives credit to those who created this information and allows for others to retrieve the same information. In addition, it helps to avoid the major issue of plagiarism: intentionally or inadvertently taking credit for someone else's work.
Since your instructors often require a bibliography or a list of works cited to be submitted along with your papers and projects, the library would like to point you towards a few resources that can help you quickly and easily create accurate citations.
The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) offers an excellent guide to citing resources in MLA, APA, and AMA styles. OWL will show you how to properly cite everything from journal articles and books to websites, films, and social media. (How to use OWL)
The free version of Citation Machine allows you create citations in a variety of citation styles. They also offer paid subscriptions with added features, however for creating citations these are unnecessary.
Mendeley is a free open source citation management tool. Mendeley allows you to store all your citations in one location for later reference, and will also create a Works Cited/Bibliography in your preferred citation style. You can create a free Mendeley account at https://mendeley.com
While Mendeley, like Zotero, provides a web-only product, it is best used in conjunction with the downloadable client. This requires you to use Mendeley on your personal PC or laptop. Mendeley also provides a browser plug-in which allows you to import citations directly into your account, however it has been found to break some of our resources and so is not recommended at this time.
Added features of the standalone client:
Zotero is a free open source citation management tool. Zotero allows you to store all your citations in one location for later reference, and will also create a Works Cited/Bibliography in your preferred citation style. You can create a free Zotero account at https://www.zotero.org/ . Click the "Register" button on the far right of the page.
Once you've created your account and have logged in, select the "My Library" tab to view your citations.
Zotero allows you to place your sources into folders for better organization. You can also enter new citations using the "create item" button.
To create a new citation, click the "Create Item" button, then choose the item type that applies to your resource.
Next fill out the form with the data about the resource that are available to you, then click save.
Once your citations have been created you can generate a Works Cited/Bibliography. To do so, select the items you would like to include from your citation list, then click the "Citation" button. Next you will be asked to select your citation style. Zotero will then create a works cited/bibliography which you can then copy and paste to your paper.
While Zotero provides a plug-in for your browser to import citations into your collection, it is not recommended you use this plug-in at this time due to its inconsistent and often incorrect behavior. Instead it is recommended you enter your citations manually using the steps outlined above.
If you are doing research from your own laptop or PC, Zotero also offers a standalone client with a much more robust set of features. If you're interested in learning more about this, please visit our guide to Zotero.
Added features of the stand alone client: