Using and interpreting citations

What is a citation?

  • Reference to a source of information like a book, article, government document or Web page

The ability to interpret and use the information in a citation helps you to:

  1. Determine what type of source the item comes from
  2. Locate the item
  3. Request the item

About citation styles

There are many different citation styles such as APA, Chicago, and MLA. This tutorial is not about the particular styles. It is meant to help you begin to recognize the typical components within a citation regardless of the style.

Example of an ARTICLE citation:

Citation example

Example of a BOOK citation:

Book citation 

Next: How to cite sources in different citation styles (MLA, APA, etc.)