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MAN Citing Sources for Academic Success: Citation elements

Covers the four citation types used at UW-Manitowoc: Turabian/Chicago, MLA, APA, and ACS

The elements of citation

A citation describes a source used in your paper.  It's a stripped down version that can lead a reader to the source itself.  A citation will provide some or all of the information listed below, depending upon what being described:  a book, journal article, web page, or something entirely different.  

  • Author or editor
  • Title of article or chapter
  • Date published
  • Source (title of journal or book)
  • Page numbers
  • Volume and issue number
  • Edition number
  • Place of publication and publisher (books only)


Citing uses conventions for describing these elements. These conventions describe the order of citation elements, use of abbreviations, italics, punctuation, capital letters, and other details.  Conventions are described in style guides, which differ by academic discipline. The three most commonly used include The Chicago Manual of Style (history), the Modern Language Association Handbook (English), and the American Psychological Association style (psychology and education).  Another one used at UW-Manitowoc is the American Chemical Society Style Guide. Use style guides to answer questions about how to correctly form a citation.   Your instructor will tell you which to use.

A style manual will include examples of citations for different forms of materials.  But not every form will be discussed.  In this case, you need to try to fit your source into the available information.   Ask a librarian or your professor for help with this.  


Identifying Types of Citations

Mason Library Information Literacy Instruction Program.  Identifying Types of Citations. Keene State College, 2 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2014. Creative Commons License