Citations are the standard method for responsibly acknowledging your sources. Failure to cite your sources properly is dishonest and a form of plagiarism. (See our practical advice regarding plagiarism.)

A style manual is a guide that gives rules and examples of usage, punctuation, and typography for scholarly writing. How to cite bibliographic or electronic sources in a paper is one element of a style manual; other kinds of information in a style manual often include the basics of research, proper grammar and syntax, and so on.

UArts students who are taking or have taken First-Year Writing should have a copy of A Writer's Reference by Diana Hacker. This book contains sections on how to cite sources in your bibliography as well as a good section on how to do research. Another book by this author is available in print and electronically:

  • Hacker, Diana. Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006.
    Greenfield Reference 025.04 H115r 2006
    Music Reference LB2369 .H23R4 2006

    A great little book. Part I "offers guidelines on posing an appropriate research question and mapping out a search strategy. Part II gives general guidelines on finding and evaluating sources. Part III describes research practices across the curriculum and lists specialized library and Web resources in many disciplines. Part IV includes four documentation styles--MLA, Chicago, APA, and CBE--and ends with a list of style manuals. ... Part V is a glossary of library and Web terms."--from the introduction, p. 1. See also the online version of Diana Hacker's Research and Documentation Online

The University Libraries have many different style guides. A few are listed below, including those for MLA style and APA style.

The most important part of choosing a style is to choose one style and be consistent. Consistency allows your reader to understand your citations.

In general you will want to record the following information for your sources:


For books you should record

  • author (complete name: last, first, middle initial if used)
  • title
  • place published
  • publisher
  • date

You then arrange these elements into the proper format. The example below is MLA style for a list of works cited:

Author last name, first name. Title: Subtitle in Italics. City of publisher: Publisher, year published. Medium of publication.

Peppiatt, Michael. Alberto Giacometti in Postwar Paris. New Haven: Yale University Press, c2001. Print.

TIP: If the book you're citing is held by the UArts University Libraries, check the UArts library catalog record. It will have all the information you need for a basic citation.


For articles you should record

  • author of article
  • title of article
  • title of journal/magazine
  • volume and/or number
  • date (include month, season, whatever is used)
  • page numbers

You then arrange these elements into the proper format. The example below is MLA style:

Author last name, first name. "Title of Article in Quotations." Title of Periodical in Italics. Volume.number (year): page numbers. Medium of publication.

Hochfield, Sylvia, and Simon Hewitt. "Giacometti's Competing Guardians." Art News. 102.10 (2002): 122. Print.


For Web sites you should record

  • Author's last name, first name
  • Title of the short work, in quotation marks, as opposed to full website when appropriate
  • Title of the site, italicized
  • Date of publication or last update
  • Sponsor of the site (if not named as the author)
  • Date you accessed the source
  • The URL is optional, but check with your professor to see if they want it!

You then arrange these elements into the proper format:

MacDonald, Sara J. "Research Tools and Resources: Style Manuals/Citing Electronic Sources." 29 Oct. 2003. The University of the Arts Libraries. 1 Nov. 2003.

Please note that these are just a few examples and are provided in MLA style. Consult your style manual, an online style manual, or a style manual in the library for more information and examples.

American Psychological Association (APA) Style

The citation style used by the American Psychological Association is the preferred style for the social sciences, which include education. If you are a student in any of the education programs (art education, museum education, dance education, music education) at the University of the Arts, you should probably follow APA style in your papers. Ask your instructor if you're not sure of which style to use.

The APA links below are for electronic citations only. For traditional print citations see the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Greenfield Reference 808.02 P96 2010 and Music Reference LB2369 .P82 2009.

Modern Language Association (MLA) Style

The Modern Language Association is a professional organization serving teachers of English and foreign languages. MLA style is commonly followed in the liberal arts disciplines and is usually what most people have used before. Your instructor should tell you which style to use.

Undergraduate students should use MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers by Joseph Gibaldi. 6th edition.
Music Reference LB2369 .M52 2009
Greenfield Reference 808.02 M699 2009.

Graduate students should use MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing. 3rd edition.
Greenfield Reference 808.02 M699 2008

Other Style Guides

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