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Ethical Documentation - Academic Integrity in Research & Writing: What is a Citation?

Parts of a Citation

A citation is a brief summary that provides all the necessary data about a book, journal, or website so that someone else can easily find this source on their own.

There are standard formats for citing different types of source materials, like journals, books, and websites.  Generally a citation may include all or part of the following pieces of information:

  • Author
  • Title of the work: article, book chapter, book, technical report
  • Publisher of the work
  • Volume, issue, or edition of the work
  • Date
  • URL or DOI (“A digital object identifier (DOI) is a unique alphanumeric string assigned by a registration agency (the International DOI Foundation) to identify content and provide a persistent link to its location on the Internet. The publisher assigns a DOI when your article is published and made available electronically.”

When conducting a literature review, you may gather a variety of citations to journals, books, datasets, technical reports, and professional guidelines. Keeping track of all these resources doesn't have to be overwhelming. Learn how to use citation management software.

What is a Citation?

What is citation? And why do we do it?

NCSU Libraries. (2014, July 23). Citation: A very short introduction. [Video]. YouTube.