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Waidner-Spahr Library

From Babble to Babel - Duperron FYS: Citations

MLA and APA Citations

In this seminar, you will be using either APA or MLA format for your citations.  The library has a guide for citing sources in all formats - please see for a comprehensive list of resources and examples for MLA citations.  See for APA citation information.


Zotero is a free, open source Bibliographic Management Tool recommended by Dickinson librarians. Please visit the Zotero Guide for more information about what Zotero is and how to use it.

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and other materials that also includes a short statement about the work's value. Click on a link above to learn how to write an annotated bibliography according to the appropriate style for your class.

Also check out the Writing Center's YouTube video How to Write an Annotated Bibliography.


What is the Purpose of Writing a Bibliography?

Taking other people's ideas and presenting them as your own is a violation of college policy. When you are writing a research paper, you must tell your readers which ideas were not your own. A bibliography will help you do this.

Positively, compiling a bibliography will help you learn about your topic, discover the experts and important writings in your field, and will direct your readers who want to learn more about your topic to other resources. The act of forming a bibliography will also help to familiarize you with keywords you can use to conduct more extensive searches, and will help you to form your own original opinions about the subject.

What is a Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of citations made up of all the sources you consulted in preparation for writing a research paper. Even if you do not directly quote an item in your research paper, you should still cite it in your bibliography if you used it to gain knowledge you did not previously have. Each citation in the bibliography is a description of the essential elements of each work consulted. This includes, but is not limited to, the title, author, publisher, and date of publication of each work.

Citations are constructed using strict rules regarding punctuation, text format, and paragraph indentation. Each citation style (Chicago , APA , ASA , GSA and MLA) has different rules.

The bibliography in a typical research paper is presented in alphabetical order by the the first item listed (usually the author).

Dickinson College's Policy

Dickinson College's Official Policy on Citing Sources and Plagiarism

It is necessary for you to give proper credit to all of the resources you use in your research papers. Plagiarism is a violation of Dickinson's Student Code of Conduct, and is a specific form of cheating defined in the code as follows:

  1. To plagiarize is to use without proper citation or acknowledgment the words, ideas, or work of another. Whenever one relies on someone else for phraseology, even for only two or three words, one must acknowledge indebtedness by using quotation marks and giving the source, either in the text or in a footnote.
  2. When one borrows facts which are not matters of general knowledge, including all statistics and translations, one must indicate one's indebtedness in the text or footnote. When one borrows an idea or the logic of an argument, one must acknowledge indebtedness either in a footnote or in the text. When in doubt, footnote. (Academic Standards Committee, November, 1965)

For more information from the Writing Center about how NOT to plagiarize, see Professor Lape's short presentation, How Not to Plagiarize.

Additionally, read our guide on Academic Integrity and How to Avoid Plagiarism.