RLCL 1004: Using Citations

FYE information for Religion/Culture, Foreign Languages, and Philosophy majors

Citation Styles galore

There are thousands of different citation styles.  You may have used a few in the past.  For assignments in your major, you'll generally be using the MLA citation style.  You can use the VT Libraries' MLA Style Manual for help and examples.  Some of the databases you use, including Addison, will have a "format this citation" button that can help you, but you should always check the citation against the MLA style guide, because the computer makes mistakes.  As mentioned in the plagiarism tab, the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) guide to MLA is the most comprehensive guide currently available, so it's a favorite resource.

You may need to use other styles besides MLA for different classes.  Virginia Tech Libraries has a LibGuide (like a subject guide but for other topics) dedicated to helping you figure out how to cite in different styles: Citation and Style Manuals.  Here, you'll find information about APA, Chicago, and other frequently used citation styles.  If you have questions after viewing these guides, don't hesitate to contact your librarian!

Citation examples

Although the following citations are APA citation style and may not look like the format you will use for your discipline or assignment, the information will be the same.

Book citation

book citation

Book citations will have author, title, date of publication and place of publication and the publisher.

Article citation

article citation

An article citation will contain the article title, author and date of publication. It will also contain the journal title and the date, volume, issue and pages.

Book chapter citation

book chapter citation

There is an easy way to tell the difference between an essay or book chapter and a journal article. A book chapter or essay will have the publisher and the place of publication listed. A journal article will not have a place of publication but will have the volume, issue and page numbers listed. An essay or chapter in a book will list the title along with the chapter author and page numbers, plus the book title and the authors or editors of the book.

Article with DOI

article with DOI citation

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique code assigned to articles to identify them (think of a fingerprint) and provide a permanent link to their location on the internet. Publishers assign the DOI codes when articles are published. In APA format, when a DOI code is available, you must include it as part of the citation. The DOI code is generally listed on the first page of the article. If you have a DOI code and want to find the article it is assigned to, there are a few ways to get to that article. Often DOIs are hyperlinked, so you can simply click them to get to the article. Otherwise, use the search tool linked on the library's home page under the Search menu. (Note: if you are off-campus, you will want to make sure you have logged into the Off-Campus Sign In.

Why cite, beyond avoiding plagiarism?

By now you have heard that citations are a great way to avoid plagiarism in your research papers.  Research and scholarly articles are often referred to as a scholarly conversation and citations are extremely important to the scholarly conversation.  They are your ticket to these conversations. They give your credibility while acknowledging the work of others.  


Using a citation to find a resource

When you have a citation for an item that you're trying to find, there are a couple of different ways you can try to track it down.

1.  Use Summon.  Summon can link you directly to articles.  Simply type in the full title of the article (such as, W. G. Sebald:  The Pleasure and Pain of Beauty").  If we have access to the article, Summon will link you to it.

2.  Check the journal subscription.  If using Summon to find the article doesn't work, then you'll want to check and see if we subscribe to the journal in which the article is published.  In the example above, the journal title is German Life and Letters.  In order to see if we have access to that journal, I will use the journal search on the library website, which is in the Collections dropdown list.

When you select "Journals," you'll land on a page that allows you to search Browzine - a graphics-oriented search engine that includes many (but not all) of the journals we have - or the Journal Title Database, which should be a complete list of all of our holdings.