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College of the Atlantic - Thorndike Library

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All About Citations

Citing Sources

What is a citation?

A citation is a reference to a specific published or unpublished source.  The most commonly cited academic sources are books, chapters or essays in a book, journal articles and web sources.

Why citations matter

Citing your sources is a matter of information ethics and intellectual integrity.  It is also important for those interested in pursuing your topic.

  • It ensures that you give credit for ideas that are not your own.
  • It allows others to find the exact sources you used in order to:
    • independently decide if they agree with the way you have interpreted the information.
    • independently determine the validity of your source.
    • continue to pursue the idea presented.