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GEOG 220: Cartography

Why cite your sources?

Why cite?

  • Give credit to the ideas, words and works of others
  • Give your readers the information necessary to find your sources
  • Avoid plagiarism

The purpose of citing your sources is to provide your reader with the information they need in order to find and read the sources themselves. Regardless of the citation style or type of resource, the elements in a citation always include author name, title of the work, and date of publication. Book citations include publisher name and location. Journal, magazine, and newspaper articles include the journal, magazine, or newspaper title, volume and page number, and date; and online sources often include the URL where the document is located and the date the item was retrieved and/or a DOI (digital object indentifier).

What Does Style Have To Do With It?

There are several different styles, or formats, that you can use to cite your sources. These styles are created and developed by scholarly organizations and publishers, and aim to provide clarity and consistency. The preferred citation style usually depends on the academic discipline involved.

Check with your professor to make sure you use the required style for a given assignment. In some cases, you will be told that there's no preference, as long as you're consistent. In those cases you can choose the format that works best for you, as long as you use the same style for all types of sources throughout your paper. Chicago/Turabian is a good choice for a general, all-purpose citation guide.

Citation Styles

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • APA (American Psychological Association) used in the sciences & social sciences · in print · online

  • Chicago 

       (author-date style)  · in print · online

       (notes-bibliography style)  · in print · online

  • MLA (Modern Language Association) used in literature & other humanities · in print · online
  • Turabian (simplified Chicago style) used in humanities, social & natural sciences · in print · online


  • ACE (Council of Science Editors) used in the sciences · in print · online

  • ACS (American Chemical Society) · in print · online
  • APA (American Psychological Association) used in the sciences & social sciences · in print · online

Additional Resources

  • Citing Government Publications · in print · online
  • Citing Music Sources  · online
  • A Pocket Style Manual - in print
  • Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles - in print
  • Research and Documentation Online (5th ed) online

Citation Managers

Citation  managers are software applications that wil help you:

  • Gather references automatically from article databases and our online catalog while you do research
  • Organize your research 
  • Format citations in a variety of bibliographic styles
  • Share your research with other colleagues (if you set up a joint account) 

The library provides access to Refworks for all Vassar students, faculty and staff.  Another option is Zotero, a free open source extension that works best with Firefox but has plug-ins for Chrome