Bibliography & Citation Tools


So you're writing a paper which requires you to incorporate several sources such as journal articles and books. You found some good resources through the library and have almost finished the paper, but realize you must cite your sources and include a bibliography. And you need to do it according to a specific style. Well, not to worry. Here you will learn about free online tools to help make citing sources and building bibliographies a breeze.

Why are citations and bibliographies necessary?

If you are new to college writing, you might be wondering why you have to go to all this trouble.  Citing your sources is important for several reasons...
  • to distinguish your ideas from those of others and to give credit where it is due, also called avoiding plagiarism
  • to show the development of ideas in a paper
  • to contribute to scholarship by helping your readers find the resources you used
  • to help you the writer find the resources you used at some point in the future
Citing one's sources and including bibliographies contributes to good scholarship in the academic world. You are part of that world!

How do I know what style to use?

Usually your instructor will let you know which one she or he expects you to use.  Citation style varies by academic discipline.  For example, disciplines such as English Literature and the Humanities tend to use the style put forth by the Modern Language Association, or MLA.  The social sciences, including Psychology, use the style laid out by the American Psychological Association, also called APA. 

Both MLA and APA published new editions to their style manuals in 2009 (7th edition for MLA and 6th edition for APA are the newest).  This means that there are some differences from the older editions in the way that references are cited and what information goes into the bibliography (especially where electronic sources are concerned).  You will find a wide variety in the way the style rules are interpreted.  When in doubt, check with your instructor about which edition you should use, use NoodleBib, and consult the latest print editions.