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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. The tabs above identify various citation styles; within each tab you will find examples to use as a quick reference. 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 (see all the different ways to contact us, in the column to the left) or visit your local BCC campus Writing Center.
Why are there different citation styles?
Depending on the subject discipline, each places a greater value on different components of published works. According to the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University:
The humanities (especially literature), place emphasis on authorship, so most MLA citation requires recording the author’s name within the physical text. The author’s name is also the first to appear in the “Works Cited” page at the end of an essay. The social sciences place emphasis on the date a work was created; thus, APA citation provides a method for source documentation such that the date is placed immediately after the author’s name in the “References” page at the end of an essay. 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 professor; if none is recommended, choose a 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: