Skip to Main Content

Geography: Citing

Research Resources for Geography

Check Your Knowledge: What Are Citations?



A citation is a reference to a source (author, book, article, etc.) from which a direct quote or information was taken that includes enough information to locate the original source. A book citation would include: author, title, place of publication, publisher, and date of publication. An article citation would include author, title, name of periodical, date, and page reference. Citations may be found in a research paper, a periodical index or in a catalog.  A compilation of citations is usually called references, works cited, bibliographies or endnotes depending on the style guide (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.).

Sample Citations

The MLA citation style is used by most Humanities disciplines.

MLA style format for citing an article in journal that uses both volume and issue numbers:
Cooney, Brian C. “Considering Robinson Crusoe’s ‘Liberty of Conscience’
        in an Age of Terror.” College English, vol. 69, no. 3, Jan. 2007,
        pp. 197-215.

MLA style format for citing an article in journal that numbers all the issues in sequence:
Kafka, Ben. "The Demon of Writing: Paperwork, Public Safety, and the Reign of Terror." Representations, no. 98, 2007, pp. 1-24.

MLA style format for citing a book:
Anderson, Curtis. The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More. Hyperion, 2006.

We have a copy of the book in the Reading Room.  See information below:

The Chicago citation style is used by History and some Social Science disciplines.

At the library:  The Chicago Manual of Style

Online:  The Chicago Manual of Style

Chicago style format for citing an article in journal:

Chicago style format for citing a book:

Want to see more?

Though scientific publications document sources in similar ways, the details of presenting source information vary from journal to journal. Most biologists, zoologists, earth scientists, geneticists, and other scientists use one of three systems of documentation specified in Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers.

CSE Style for a print book:

After the author(s) and title, give the place of publication, the name of the publisher, and the date of publication:

Melchias G. Biodiversity and conservation. Enfield (NH): Science; 2001.

CSE Style for an online article from a database:

Begin with the name of the author and the title of the article. Include the name of the journal, followed by the word “Internet” in brackets. Give the date of publication or the copyright date. Include in brackets the date the article was updated or modified, if any, and the date you accessed it, followed by a semicolon. Then provide the volume, issue, and page numbers. If the article is unpaginated, include in brackets the number or an estimated number of pages, screens, paragraphs, lines, or bytes. Write “Available from:” and the URL.

Isaacs FJ, Blake WJ, Collins JJ. Signal processing in single cells. Science [Internet]. 2005 Mar 25 [cited 2009 Jun 17];307(5717): 1886-1888. Available from:

APA citation style is used by many Physical and Social Science disciplines. Here are two examples of the style.

APA format for citing an article in journal:

APA format for citing a book:

APA Book Citation example

The library owns several copies of the manual.  Click on the link below to find out where an available copy is located.


  • You still have to cite a source even if you are paraphrasing. Failure to cite sources properly when paraphrasing is considered plagiarism. 
  • If you are using a direct quote, you must include the page number where the source is located in your citation. Direct quotes should be easy to find in the original work based on your citation. Ex. (Pattillo 1999: 16) (author's last name, year of publication, page number).
  • Website links are not permanent so it is good practice to take a screenshot of the links that you are citing and store them on your computer or in Google Drive. You can use bibliographic software including Zotero to capture web pages for future reference. 
  • If you are citing someone who cited another author, you must include the original citation that your source referenced as well as a citation from your source. Ex. (Frazier 1939: as cited in Pattillo 1999: 16).
  • If you cite class lectures or a conference presentation, you must include the speaker's name, the speech title, the name of the conference or class, the date, and the location of the speech. For more information, click Citing Speeches, Lectures, or Other Presentations
  • For citing electronic sources, including web pages, online databases, etc., click: MLA Works Cited: Electronic Sources (Web Publications)
  • Proper Use of Sources: includes information on the different forms of plagiarism, proper scholarly procedure, and links to helpful websites. Your best resource is your professor so don’t hesitate to consult them to figure out what is and is not appropriate. 


Zotero is a tool for collecting, managing, and citing sources. You can install it on your computer and also access your personal database of sources online.

MHC Accessibility Barriers Form