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A citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source (not always the original source). A bibliographic citation is a reference to a book, article, web page, or other published item. Citations should supply sufficient detail to identify the item uniquely.[1] Different citation systems and styles are used in scientific citation, legal citation, prior art, and the arts and the humanities.

A citation number, used in some citation systems, is a number or symbol added inline and usually in superscript, to refer readers to a footnote or endnote that cites the source. In other citation systems, an inline parenthetical reference is used rather than a citation number, with limited information such as the author's last name, year of publication, and page number referenced; a full identification of the source will then appear in an appended bibliography.


[edit] Citation content

Citation content can vary depending on the type of source and may include:

  • Book: author(s), book title, publisher, date of publication, and page number(s) if appropriate.[2][3]
  • Journal: article title, journal title, date of publication, and page number(s).
  • Newspaper: author(s), article title, name of newspaper, section title and page number(s) if desired, date of publication.
  • Web site: author(s), article and publication title where appropriate, as well as a URL, and a date when the site was accessed.
  • Play: inline citations offer part, scene, and line numbers, the latter separated by periods: 4.452 refers to scene 4, line 452. For example, "In Eugene Onegin, Onegin rejects Tanya when she is free to be his, and only decides he wants her when she is already married" (Pushkin 4.452-53).[4]
  • Poem: spaced slashes are normally used to indicate separate lines of a poem, and parenthetical citations usually include the line number(s). For example: "For I must love because I live / And life in me is what you give." (Brennan, lines 15–16).[4]

[edit] Unique identifiers

Along with information such as author(s), date of publication, title and page numbers, citations may also include unique identifiers depending on the type of work being referred to.

[edit] Citation systems

Broadly speaking, there are two citation systems:[5][6][7]

[edit] Note systems

Note systems involve the use of sequential numbers in the text which refer to either footnotes (notes at the end of the page) or endnotes (a note on a separate page at the end of the paper) which gives the source detail. The notes system may or may not require a full bibliography, depending on whether the writer has used a full note form or a shortened note form.

For example, an excerpt from the text of a paper using a notes system without a full bibliography could look like this:

"The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance."1

The note, located either at the foot of the page (footnote) or at the end of the paper (endnote) would look like this:

1. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying (New York: Macmillan, 1969) 45–60.

In a paper which contains a full bibliography, the shortened note could look like this:

1. Kübler-Ross, On Death and Dying 45–60.

and the bibliography entry, which would be required with a shortened note, would look like this:

Kübler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. New York: Macmillan, 1969.

[edit] Citation styles

Style guides

Citation styles can be broadly divided into styles common to the Humanities and the Sciences, though there is considerable overlap. Some style guides, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, are quite flexible and cover both parenthetical and note citation systems.[7] Others, such as MLA and APA styles, specify formats within the context of a single citation system.[6] These may be referred to as citation formats as well as citation styles.[8][9][10] The various guides thus specify order of appearance, for example, of publication date, title, and page numbers following the author name, in addition to conventions of punctuation, use of italics, emphasis, parenthesis, quotation marks, etc, particular to their style.

A number of organizations have created styles to fit their needs, consequently a number of different guides exist. Individual publishers often have their own in-house variations as well, and some works are so long established as to have their own citation methods too: Stephanus pagination for Plato; Bekker numbers for Aristotle; citing the Bible by book, chapter and verse; or Shakespeare notation by play, act and scene.

Some examples of style guides include:

[edit] Humanities

[edit] Legal

  • The Bluebook is a citation system traditionally used in American academic legal writing, and the Bluebook (or similar systems derived from it) are used by many courts.[13] At present, academic legal articles are always footnoted, but motions submitted to courts and court opinions traditionally use inline citations which are either separate sentences or separate clauses.
  • The legal citation style used almost universally in Canada is based on the Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (aka McGill Guide), published by McGill Law Journal.[14]

[edit] Sciences, mathematics, electrical engineering, physiology and medicine

  • The American Chemical Society style, or ACS style, is often used in chemistry and other physical sciences. In ACS style references are numbered in the text and in the reference list, and numbers are repeated throughout the text as needed.
  • In the style of the American Institute of Physics (AIP style), references are also numbered in the text and in the reference list, with numbers repeated throughout the text as needed.
  • Styles developed for the American Mathematical Society (AMS), or AMS styles, such as AMS-LaTeX, are typically implemented using the BibTeX tool in the LaTeX typesetting environment. Brackets with author’s initials and year are inserted in the text and at the beginning of the reference. Typical citations are listed in-line with alphabetic-label format, e.g. [AB90]. This type of style is also called a "Authorship trigraph."
  • The Vancouver system, recommended by the Council of Science Editors (CSE), is used in medical and scientific papers and research.
    • In one major variant, that used by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (AME), citation numbers are included in the text in square brackets rather than as superscripts. All bibliographical information is exclusively included in the list of references at the end of the document, next to the respective citation number.
    • The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) is reportedly the original kernel of this biomedical style which evolved from the Vancouver 1978 editors' meeting.[15] The MEDLINE/PubMed database uses this citation style and the National Library of Medicine provides "ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals -- Sample References".[16]
  • The style of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), or IEEE style, encloses citation numbers within square brackets and arranges the reference list by the order of citation, not by alphabetical order.
  • Pechenik Citation Style is a style described in A Short Guide to Writing about Biology, 6th ed. (2007), by Jan A. Pechenik.[17]

[edit] Social sciences

[edit] Citation problems

Faulty citations include omissions of relevant papers, incorrect references, and quotation errors that misreport findings. This greatly impedes the growth of scientific knowledge because authors who fail to correctly report relevant studies are passing on false information to their readers. Furthermore, these papers are considered to be legitimate academic sources and thus more likely to be cited themselves by other papers in the future. Hence, this creates a snowball effect often leading to the proliferation of false information.[19]

Research has shown that authors often overlook relevant research. This often occurs because they search for evidence only within their own discipline. In a study on escalation bias, papers that supported commonly-held beliefs were cited nine times more frequently than those that conflicted with common beliefs.[20]

Research done on this subject by marketing professor J. Scott Armstrong suggests that to prevent faulty citations, authors should use the verification of citations procedure - meaning they should attempt to contact original authors to ensure that they properly cite any studies they rely on to support their main findings. Furthermore, journal editors should require authors to confirm that they have read the papers that they have cited and that they have made reasonable attempts to verify citations. This will help to reduce errors in the reference list, reduce the number of spurious references, and reduce the likelihood of overlooking relevant studies. Once a paper has been published, journals should make it easy for researchers to post relevant studies that have been overlooked. These procedures should help to ensure that new studies build properly on prior research.[21] There are now services which help check references such as WriteCheck which aim to identify unoriginal content in student work using powerful plagiarism detection databases.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ "Library glossary". Benedictine University. August 22, 2008. Retrieved on 2009-02-27. 
  2. ^ Long Island University.
  3. ^ Duke University Libraries 2007.
  4. ^ a b Brigham Young University 2008.
  5. ^ University of Maryland 2006.
  6. ^ a b Yale University 2008.
  7. ^ a b Colorado State University 2008.
  8. ^ California State University 2007.
  9. ^ Lesley University 2007.
  10. ^ Rochester Institute of Technology 2003.
  11. ^ The field of Communication (or Communications) overlaps with some of the disciplines also covered by the MLA and has its own disciplinary style recommendations for documentation format; the style guide recommended for use in student papers in such departments in American colleges and universities is often The Publication Manual of the APA (American Psychological Association); designated for short as "APA style".
  12. ^ The 2nd edition (updated April 2008) of the MHRA Style Guide is downloadable for free from the Modern Humanities Research Association official Website.
  13. ^ Martin 2007.
  14. ^ Canadian Guide to Uniform Legal Citation (Cite Guide). McGill Law Journal. Updated October 2008. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  15. ^ Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals.
  16. ^ International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. "ICMJE Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals -- Sample References".
  17. ^ Pechenik Citation Style QuickGuide (PDF). University of Alberta, Augustana Campus, Canada. Web. November 2007.
  18. ^ Stephen Yoder, ed. (2008). The APSA Guide to Writing and Publishing and Style Manual for Political Science. Rev. ed. August 2006. Publications. Retrieved on 2009-02-05.
  19. ^ Wright & Armstrong 2008.
  20. ^ Armstrong 1996.
  21. ^ Wright & Armstrong 2008.

[edit] References

[edit] Further reading

  • Illustrated examples, generated using BibTeX, of several major styles, including more than those listed above.
  • PDF file bibstyles.pdf illustrates how several bibliographic styles appear with citations and reference entries, generated using BibTeX.
Style guides
Other online resources
Personal tools