Academia (and honor) demands that every student and researcher who uses the work of another tell us about it, and include enough information so anyone who is interested can find it. Citations vary a little with format (book, article, personal interview, online database) but cover the basics: Who created it, What is it called? Where it was published? Who published it? When was it published?
"Demonstrating that you have read what the experts have to say gives weight to your work. It also allows your instructor to look at the sources you used to further their understanding of the topic, as well as to evaluate your understanding of it." This is from the University of Georgia's web pages on academic research: http://www.usg.edu/galileo/skills/unit08/index.phtml
Whether you are writing a very basic paper or plugging along on your thesis, preparing an article or book for publication, the skill of citing properly can be mastered:
- Learn on your own (see Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers or the Chicago Manual of Style)
- The SBL Handbook of Style may help you through a tricky citation if you are working in Biblical or Early Christian studies.
- Databases now have citation information in the abstract area of your article. Look for "How to Cite this item" or similar text.
- Facebook has a widget that you can add to your profile. http://apps.facebook.com/citemeapp/ It was created by OCLC (the library giant that brings you WorldCat). I put it on my Facebook page and like the 5 style options it gives me: APA, Chicago (author-date), Harvard, MLA, and Turabian.
- Go directly to WorldCat and build your citations for your bibliography there.
- Learn how to use EndNote. Luther Seminary has a campus-wide site license for this great software. It is worth learning how to use if you are writing a thesis or some long papers with lots of footnotes.
Ask the library staff for help if you have a particularly tricky citation. Let us know if a workshop would be helpful.
—Jennie Bartholomew, Electronic Services Librarian