It's the beginning of April already and there are a mere 6 weeks left in the spring semester. And no, that's not an April Fools joke!
This not only means that the glory of all that is summer is steadily approaching, but it also means that you are most likely smack dab in the middle of papers, projects, and tests. Hale Library has been a buzz of activity from morning to night to prove it!
And, of course, we want to help! We know that not everyone needs the personalized help that you get using our Ask-a-Librarian IM chat or by meeting with us at Library Help on 2nd floor. But I bet everyone could benefit from some citing, writing, and researching tips, tricks, and shortcuts (hey, that's the name of this article series!). So the next couple weeks will focus on these valuable resources for your research.
There's no better place to start than . . . the end? Sure, why not. And that means citations. Citations are something that most people (me included) leave until the very end of the research and paper-writing process. If you've raced to crank out that reference list and those in-text citations 15 minutes before class or tried to remember from what article and database you got that one awesome quotation, then you're not alone. I know the feeling. But we can beat this habit together with some tools to help you quickly and efficiently cite as you write (I rhymed!).
First, there are many citation styles --- APA, MLA, Chicago, Turabian --- the possibilities are endless. Luckily, citation styles are generally associated with particular subjects so you won't have to learn them all. Literature majors use MLA, sociology majors use APA, and so on. Check with your professor to make sure you know what citation style is required.
Once you begin your research (before the week the paper is due, right?!), be aware that many of our databases have automatic citation generators. The databases may call them different names --- Cite this in ProQuest Research Library, CiteNow! in CQ Researcher, and Cite in Education Full-Text --- but they'll all do the same thing. Click on this when you've found a resource you want to use in your paper and it will create a citation for you. Choose your citation style, copy and paste the citation into your paper, and you're done! . . . Well, not exactly. You'll have to double check the citation for errors because everyone makes mistakes, even especially software programs!
Found a book in the catalog or using a database that doesn’t create citations? No problem. There are lots of handy citation tools that universities and libraries have made to help. The following is a list with a few of the many available tools for the most popular citation styles.
- EasyBib (MLA): You’re a lucky duck if you are using MLA style. www.easybib.com generates citations for books, newspapers, journal articles, and more in MLA style for FREE. Use the Citation Guide for a visual guide to locating citation information for various resources.
- OWL Purdue Online Writing Lab (MLA & APA): This may not generate citations for you, but these guides for MLA and APA are second to none! With detailed information and examples, use this to write your own citations or double check those generated from the databases.
- NCSU Libraries (MLA & APA)
- KnightCite (MLA, APA, & Chicago)
- UNC Libraries (MLA & CBE/CSE)
There are also citation guides available in print as a reference so don’t hesitate to use the Library Catalog to search for one.
Don’t see the citation tool that’s right for you? Ask us! We’ll do our best to answer any questions you have --- from citation tools to the number of school days left until summer (I counted. It’s 29!).