Documentary Note or Humanities StyleAuthor-Date System
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Citing Your Sources   Tags: acs, apa, chicago, citation, cite sources, cse, mla, plagiarism, writing center  

Find out how, when and why you should cite your information sources!
Last Updated: Jul 23, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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BCC librarians are available to help you with your research. We provide guidance in locating information and using resources available through the library and on the internet.

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    Useful Links

    • Online Writing Lab at Purdue University
      One of the most comprehensive resources available on the web. Provides detailed information and examples of APA and MLA styles; assists all levels of learners in the mechanics of research, writing and grammar.
    • CitationFox  
      Sample citations for a wide variety of source types, created by the University Librarians at SUNY/Albany. The url defaults to APA style format; for MLA format, click the link at the bottom of the page, "CitationFox for MLA."


    This guide shows you how, when and why you should cite your information sources and includes examples of citation styles most commonly used by students at Bristol Community College. You will also find links to handy online citation tools such as citation generators and reference management programs. For additional information or assistance, ask a librarian or visit your local BCC campus Writing Center.


      Citation Styles

      Why are there different citation styles?

      Quality scholarship relies on credible authors; however various disciplines emphasize the value of additional elements by where and how each is featured in a citation. 

      The social sciences are often concerned with currency of information; hence, researchers place emphasis on the date a work was created.  APA style observes this by featuring the date immediately after the author’s name in the “References” page. Dates are also required for in-text citations. The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers confirms this important distinction between  APA and MLA styles: "In the sciences, where timeliness of research is crucial, the date of publication is usually given prominence" (Gibaldi, 143).

      This is in contrast to MLA style, which places the date towards the end of the citation. MLA serves scholars in the humanities (especially literature), many of whom work with texts from all time periods. Emphasis is on authorship, therefore, MLA citations require the author’s name within the physical text (i.e. in-text citation).

      Scholars focused on history are very concerned with origins of sources, hence the Chicago style format is preferred; in place of in-text citations, it calls for more detailed footnotes and endnotes to identify the source from which a particular piece of information was derived.

      How do I know which style to use?

      Use the style recommended by your instructor; if none is recommended, choose one style and stick with it for consistency's sake. Both the Library and the Writing Center have access to style manuals for the major citation styles. Below is a useful video explaining four citation styles:

      Reference and Instruction Librarian, Attleboro Campus

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      Lisa Richter
      Contact Info
      Bristol Community College, Attleboro Campus
      Library, Rm 107
      11 Field Road
      Attleboro, MA 02703
      (508) 678-2811 ext. 3745
      Send Email

      Created/Revised by

      M. Johnson. Rev. 8/12, L.Richter.


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