This Citing Sources page will introduce you to the basics of citing, citation managers, citation style guides, and ethical citation practices including citational justice. After reading these resources, you will be better able to understand the basics of citations and how to utilize Indiana University's citation resources.
When doing research, it is necessary to consult and gather information from a variety of places and authors. Citing authors is important because it will:
Citation managers are tools that store, organize, and cite references in the style of your choice. They can be added as an extension to web browsers (such as Chrome, Safari, and Firefox) and integrate with word processors (such as Microsoft Word and Google Drive). Citation managers save sources, insert correctly formatted citations directly into documents while you're writing, and generate a formatted bibliography.
Always check the accuracy of citations generated through citation managers. They save a lot of time but they may make mistakes. Sources saved to citation managers can be edited after they are made and will automatically update linked in-text citations and bibliographies.
Video: What is a Citation Manager? (with transcript). Jules Arensdorf, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2022).
As an IU student, you have access to:
There are a number of different citation styles and standards and it is important to choose the right style for your paper. You should use the style guide required by your instructor or the journal/publication you are submitting to. When in doubt, always check to see which style is appropriate for your project.
No matter where your information comes from and which style you are using, one of the main goals of citation is to help others find and consult the sources you have included. The most frequently used citation styles have been compiled by reference librarians on a webpage and handout (APA, MLA and Chicago). These can be found by visiting our Help with Citing Sources page.
Some of the most well-known and commonly used style guides, from our collections, are also compiled below:
In addition to correctly citing your sources, it is important to consider who you are and are not citing—and why. This section of the Citing Sources guide provides resources that will help you engage in ethical citation practices and challenge citational bias in your own research.
We invite you to
Graph: Citation Inequities: Women and People of Color systematically receive fewer citations across a host of topics, an analysis of US authors of more than 5 million articles suggests. This chart shows topics in the health sciences. "The rise of citational justice: how scholars are making references fairer." Diana Kwon, Nature (2022).
“Consider what you might want to change about your academic citation practices. Who do you choose to link and re-circulate in your work? Who gets erased? Who should you stop citing?”
—Eve Tuck, K. Wayne Yang, Rubén Gaztambide-Fernández, Critical Ethnic Studies Citation Practices
Citation is more than a process of attribution; it is also a way of positioning your work in context as well as in conversation with other scholars. Naming our sources, influences, and inspirations is a way of illuminating our lineages and showing who we are in dialogue with, who we've engaged with, and what we value. Citations also shape canons, fields of thought, and academic disciplines by affording value and visibility to certain scholars while also excluding others, particularly those from marginalized communities. In this way, citation is both political and fundamentally relational.
In choosing to cite a work or author, we have an opportunity to intentionally address the long-standing erasure of other, often non-dominant, knowledges, and the scholarship of historically excluded and marginalized writers, thinkers, and scholars. Ethical citation practices encourage us to reflect on who we are (or are not) citing (and why), critically engage with our fields of study, research, and scholarship, and thoughtfully include, think with, and cite creators and bodies of knowledge.
Citational justice is a framework for inclusive citation that attempts to uplift marginalized voices and knowledges through the process of attribution. It is meant to acknowledge that citation is political, that citation practices often reflect inequities and imbalances of power, and that we can use citation as a way to address the many ways in which marginalized communities and perspectives have been and still are excluded from scholarship and discourse.
Because in many fields marginalized scholars are cited less frequently than dominant groups, we've compiled a series of resources to help you find new thinkers and artists to engage with, and cite, in your research:
In 2015, Dr. Kishonna Gray wrote a blog post titled "#CiteHerWork: Marginalizing Women in Academic and Journalistic Writing," which was also a call to action to make the work of women and marginalized people more visible in academia. As she said, "we must end the practice of only privileging certain voices while marginalizing others." She inaugurated the Twitter hashtag #CiteHerWork so that "people would acknowledge—hey women of color we're out here! And we're producing knowledge!”
"The Gray Test" was developed by Dr. Wendy Belcher, a professor of African literature at Princeton University. This rubric can be used to assess scholarship by the number and usage of citations by women and non-white individuals. As she described it on Twitter, in order to pass the test “a journal article must not only cite the scholarship of at least two women and two non-white people, but must discuss it in the body of the text.”
You can use the Gray Test to assess the inclusivity of scholarship by others or as a way to reflect on your own work and citational practices. Take a look at the list of citations and consider:
Image: The Gray Test. Laurier Course Guides: Tween Literature and Culture.
To pass the Gray Test, a work must meet all three of these criteria. While there are a number of ways to consider and assess the value and inclusivity of scholarship and citational practices, and there are many marginalized identities that it does not include, this test can be one tool you use to reflect on your and others' commitment to citational justice.
To learn more about the Gray Test, read the following article from Women in Higher Education (WIHE): "Researching Gaming and Showing Why Citations Matter."
To learn more about the politics of citation, ethical citational practices, and citational justice, try some of the resource below:
Adapted from and inspired by:
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.
Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.
Video: What is an Annotated Bibliography? IRSC Libraries (2022).
Your annotated bibliography can also help structure your research paper. Try the following activity:
To learn more about annotated bibliographies, and see some examples, check out the CSUN Library's Citation Guide.
Citing items from our manuscript collections is very easy. Go to the collection finding aid in Archives Online that contains the item you would like to cite. Make sure you click on "entire document" on the left of the page. Then scroll down to "Preferred Citation" in the finding aid. Describe the item and then copy the rest of the preferred citation. For the purpose of your own research, it is always a good idea to write down the item, folder name, box number, and collection number. You will always be able to find your way back to your materials when you adopt this practice.
University Archive Citation: [item], [Name of Collection], [Collection number], Indiana University Archives, Bloomington.
If citing a photo from the IU Archive photo collection, be sure to cite the image number:
Image: Screenshot of an item record from the IU Archives photo collection.
If you have any questions concerning use of a photograph, please contact the Photograph Curator, Brad Cook, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adapted from: University of California, Santa Barbara Library, Citing Sources Guide (2023); University of California, Berkeley Library, Managing Research Data Guide (2023); Reed College Library, Ethical Citation Practices Guide; up//root: A We Here Publication, BIPOC Citation Positions, Understandings, and Interruptions (2021); Indiana University, Zotero Guide; Indiana University, Mendeley Guide; Indiana University, EndNote Guide; Indiana University, Library DIY.