A citation is made up of these elements:
1. The author
2. The title of the resource (book, magazine, encyclopedia, website)
3. The place/city of publication (used for all print resources)
4. The name of the publisher (the organization responsible for publication)
5. The copyright date / date of last update for website
6. Date of access (websites only)
7. Place of access (if you are using commercial databases such as the Gale Databases)
Here is a simple formula to help you remember the elements you will need to look for when gathering information for the citation of your resource:
Who + What + Where/Who + When + When/Where (for citing websites) + Format = Citation
The “Who” is the author of the resource. The author can be either one person or a group of people. The author can also be the name of an organization if no one person’s name is given as an author.
The “What” is the title of a book, the title of a magazine article, the title of the encyclopedia or website article that you use.
The “Where/Who” is the place or city of publication (Where) and the name of the company or organization responsible for publishing the resource (Who).
The “When” is the copyright date. For websites it is either the date the website was created or the most recent update.
The “Where/When” is used for internet resources. If you use a commercial database, such as Biography in Context, they are usually provided to you through a school, university or public library. The “Where” is the name of the institution that owns the subscription. The “When” is the exact date you accessed the information. The second “Where” is the basic URL, Uniform Resource Locator or web address up to the first backslash. The second "When" is the date you accessed the information on the internet.
The Format indicates how you accessed the information. The two most common type of formats are Print, for all print materials, and Web for information retrieved from the internet.
The way a citation is constructed is important because each piece of information has its own place. Each citation has to also be punctuated properly. If you think of writing a citation like you are writing a paragraph it might make a little more sense.
Here is an example of a “blueprint” for the citation of a book.
Author. Title of the book. City/Place of Publication:Name of the Publisher, copyright date.
Here is an example of a "blueprint: for the citation of an article from a website
Author. Title of the article. Who is responsible for publishing the article. The date of
publication. The date you access the article. Web address up to the first backslash
There are periods after the name of the author and the title of the book. There is a colon between the city/place of publication and the name of the publisher. There is a comma after the name of the publisher, then the copyright date with a period at the end. Also note that the title of the book is written in italics.
Each citation is written with a hanging indentation. This means that the first line of the citation is next to the margin with the second line and all other lines indented underneath the first line .
Example Citations - Print
Hoyt, Erich. Creatures of the Deep: In Search of the Sea's Monsters and the World they live
in. Buffalo, NY:Firefly Books, c2001. Print.
Zindel, Paul. Reef of Death. New York:HarperCollins Publishers, c1998. Print.
Collins, Suzanne. Mockingjay. Scholastic Press, Inc. 2012. Kindle File
Example Citation - Web
Allen, Leslie. Drifting in Static: A Rising Tide of Man Made Noise is Disrupting the Lives of
Marine Animals. National Geographic. c2012. 1 Nov 2012
Citation & Bibliography
How to Cite an Article from a Magazine
How to Cite an Article from a Newspaper
How to Cite Images from the Internet
How to Cite a Digital File
How to Cite a DVD
How to Cite a Presentation or Lecture
How to Cite a Personal Interview
Links for Creating Citiations
Examples in the MLA Format
Examples in the APA Format
How to Create a Bibliography or Works Cited List
Citation Activity Page