How and Why to Cite

Rules of thumb for citing sources:

  • Include as much information as necessary to uniquely identify the source. For example, the citation to a weekly periodical must include the day of the month as well as month and year.
  • When in doubt about whether to include clarifying information in a citation, include it. For example, if no date is available in or on the source, use n.d. to indicate that. Be sure to check the Cornell Library Catalog or WorldCat to see whether catalogers have derived a publication date from other sources.
  • Cite the full title of a journal, magazine or newspaper unless the style you use explicitly requires abbreviated journal titles (American Chemical Society and Council of Science Editors styles, for example). Bibliographies and indexes often cite abbreviated periodical titles. To locate the full title use the reference sources for abbreviations listed under the Periodical Title Abbreviations tab in this guide, or search the Cornell Library Catalog.

Why to cite:

  • Give credit where credit is due. Cite your sources using one of the styles listed in this guide or another style approved by the instructor. Knowingly representing the work of others as your own is plagiarism. (For details, see Recognizing and Avoiding Plagiarism).

Permissions Information

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