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Arkansas State University

Citation Style Guide : Telling Citations Apart

Basic introduction into AMA, APA, Chicago, MLA and Turabian citation styles.

Telling Citations Apart

OK, let's say you have a citation and you need to find its source. Can you tell just by looking at the citation is it's a book, journal, or something else? Of course you can!

There are different citation rules for around 59 different types of resources. There are different rules for books, journals, websites, music, oral interviews, and even comics. However, most citations you will deal with will fall into one of three categories: books, journals, or websites. 
 


Books

Book citations always include a publisher and, in most cases, a publisher location. For example:

Example Book Citations

 
Why This Is Important?

Why is it important to know if you have a citation for a book? The citation tells you where to look. If you know you are looking for a book, you will know to start your search with the Library Catalog since that's the best place to find books in the Library. 
 


Journals

Journal citations usually include article title, journal title, date, pages, volume, and issue number (Note: not all journals have volume and issue numbers). Journals never include publisher information or publisher location. Behold:

Example Journal Citations

 
Why This Is Important?

Why is it important to know if you have a citation for a journal? The citation tells you where to look. If you know you are looking for a journal, you will know to start your search with the Journal Search since that's the best place to find journals and newspapers in the Library. 


 
Websites

Websites are usually the easiest citations to tell because in many cases the citation includes the URL of the website. As more and more books and journals move to online formats, you do need to be careful and make sure that the URL is not from a library database. You can usually tell if it's from your library because it will have your library's name somewhere (https://ezproxy.library.astate.edu). Here's some examples of websites:

Example Website Citations

  
Why This Is Important?

Why is it important to know if you have a citation for a website? The citation tells you where to look. If you know you are looking for a website, you will know that you won't need to use the Library resources, you can just go straight to the website from your browser.