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Tag: citations

How to Read Citations

Posted in Reference, and Research Therapy

Have you ever stared at a citation and had no idea if it was a book, chapter in a book, article or website? This infographic in our Research Therapy series breaks down citations for you, highlighting the various elements that make up a citation.

How to read a citation

Book Citations 

Elements of a book citation: author, title of book, publisher information, year. and format.

Elements of a chapter in a book citation: author of chapter, title of chapter, title of book, editor of book, publisher information, and page range of chapters.

Book Clues:

  • If the citation has publisher name and location, it’s a book!
  • In MLA citation style the format means the medium of publication.
  • E-books may have a URL, database name, or date of access at the end of the citation.

Article Citations

Elements of magazine and journal article citations: author, title of article, title of publication, volume number, issue number, year of publication, and page numbers.

Elements of a newspaper article: author, title of article, title of publication, date of publication, page number or section.

For articles found in an online library database the only difference in the citation is the addition at the end of the citation of the following; name of the database, format, access date, and sometimes the URL or DOI.

Article Clue:

  • All published articles will have two titles; the title of the article and the title of the journal/magazine/newspaper.
  • In MLA the format for an article in a library database will say “web”, but it’s not a website.
  • Magazines may just have a month of publication instead of a volume and issue number.
  • Depending on the citations style, you may see a URL or DOI for an article in an online database.

Website Citations

The elements of a website citation usually include: author/editor, title of work or page, name of the website, publisher or sponsor of website, title URL, date of publication, format, and access date.

Website Clues:

  • Websites may not provide publication dates.
  • Websites don’t always have authors, they may just list the organization that created the website.
  • Depending on the citation style, you may see the term “retrieved from” followed by a URL.

Things to Remember

  • Every citation style is different, but the elements of what makes up a citation are the same.
  • If you’re unsure of what type of article it is, just Google the name of the publication
  • You can always ask a librarian for help!

– Laurie Borchard