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Citing Sources: An Overview for Academic Librarians


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Overview of the fundamentals of citations (bibliographic referencing) for academic librarians. What citations are fundamentally, why we cite, what we cite and how we cite... followed by a concrete example in APA, MLA and Chicago.

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Citing Sources: An Overview for Academic Librarians

  1. 1. Citing Sources An Overview for Academic Librarians by Tim Gorichanaz Drexel University 2016
  2. 2. Overview About me What are citations? Why we cite What we cite How we cite Three common styles Tim Gorichanaz, 2016
  3. 3. Tim Gorichanaz, 2016 About me • PhD student at CCI • Research in information behavior, document studies • Current project: Comparing citation behavior between Wikipedia and academia
  4. 4. Tim Gorichanaz, 2016 What are citations? Within a work, citations are mentions of other works Two main functions: • Crediting • Connecting
  5. 5. Tim Gorichanaz, 2016 Why do we cite? Academia runs on documentation. If it’s not published, it doesn’t exist. Academia seeks to make progress as a global community. In this world, citations serve: • For honesty (crediting) • To point readers to other discussions—
 both inspiration (crediting) and tangents (connecting) • To situate work within academic discourse (connecting) • To endorse or dispute related work (connecting) • To help readers to evaluate the current argument 
 in light of source material (crediting) • For protection from others’ mistakes (crediting) Finally, we want to be cited, too—and citation counts are still a key measure of scientific performance/impact
  6. 6. Tim Gorichanaz, 2016 What do we cite? • References to other work • Theories, questions • Methods, tools • Things that aren’t common knowledge • Claims, assumptions • Things that may be challenged • Direct quotes Excerpts from: Gorichanaz, T. (2015). Information on the run. Information Research, 20(4).
  7. 7. Tim Gorichanaz, 2016 How do we cite? • Different groups, different systems • Someone else decides! • Consistency is key • In general: Short reference now (in-text), complete reference later (bibliographic) • Two broad categories: • Vancouver: Numbered footnotes or endnotes • Harvard: Parentheses with author/year
  8. 8. Tim Gorichanaz, 2016 Comparing Common Styles APA In the text: …corn consumption (Pollan, 2006). Bibliographic: Pollan, M. (2006). The omnivore’s dilemma: A natural history of four meals. New York: Penguin. MLA In the text: …corn consumption (Pollan 56). Bibliographic: Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin, 2006. Print. Chicago In the text: …corn consumption (Pollan 2006, 56). Bibliographic: Pollan, Michael. 2006. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. New York: Penguin.
  9. 9. Tim Gorichanaz, 2016 Learn more • My lecture on Citation Systems (2015) • My lecture on Referencing Issues in Everyday Life (2015) • Paper by Bornmann and Daniel (2008): “What do citation counts measure: A review of studies on citing behavior” • Book by Latour and Woolgar (1986): Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts • Contact me at