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The IU Bloomington Libraries' Philosophy collection supports research and teaching in all branches of philosophy.

Introduction & Citation Managers

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.

Why Cite?

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:

  1. Credit the author(s) and avoid plagiarism: Giving credit to the author or work helps you to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is presenting another's words or ideas as your own. Indiana University has a strict policy on cheating and plagiarism.
  2. Give credibility to your facts and statements: Readers are often skeptical of sources they do not know or cannot find. By letting the reader know where you got your facts (and allowing them to check theses sources if they wish), readers will be more willing to accept your conclusions. Citations also demonstrate the depth and scope of your research.
  3. Help readers extend their own research: Readers often use citations to extend their own research.

Citation Managers

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:

For help in deciding what citation manager is best for you, use IU's Comparison Chart. The IU Library regularly hosts citation manager workshops and you can submit questions to 

Citation Style Manuals/Guides

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:

Ethical Citation Practices & Citational Justice

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

  • Learn more about the politics, and inequities, of citation and citation practices.
  • Consider what citation means for you, and how you want to practice it.
  • Reflect critically on how and why you've chosen your sources, and who is included (or excluded).
  • Identify communities, disciplines, or perspectives you want to more intentionally center and cite in your research and writing.
  • Look outside the places and sources you typically rely on, when and where possible, to expand who you can cite.
  • Keep learning, and keep trying. As with most commitments, ethical citation and citational justice are processes, not one-time actions.

Graph titled "Citation Inequities," which demonstrates the representational inequities in health science articles.

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.

Dive deeper:

  • Making Feminist Points, Sara Ahmed: "I would describe citation as a rather successful reproductive technology, a way of reproducing the world around certain bodies. These citational structures can form what we call disciplines. [...] The reproduction of a discipline can be the reproduction of these techniques of selection, ways of making certain bodies and thematics core to the discipline, and others not even part." 
  • Decolonizing Attribution: Traditions of Exclusion, Jane Anderson and Kimberly Christen: “Attribution functions as a key mechanism within a copyright/author/archive matrix which maintains hierarchies of knowledge production by reducing Indigenous and non-European subjectivity and legitimating the ongoing appropriation of Indigenous cultural material by non-Indigenous authors.” 

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:

Black Excellence in LIS Spreadsheet 

  • Crowdsourced resource sheet with links to works on Black representation in LIS (Library and Information Science). As this sheet is co-constructed by the community, please double-check authors’ identities upon citation.

Black Latinas Know Collective  

  • A collective of Black Latina scholars producing innovative knowledge about race within Latinidad and Blackness. The website lists members of the Collective and shares scholarship on their blog and social media.

Cite Black Women  

  • "...Cite Black Women is a campaign to push people to engage in a radical praxis of citation that acknowledges and honors Black women’s transnational intellectual production.”

Cite Indigenous Authors Spreadsheet  

  • "This project was completed as part of the "Indigenous Library and Information Studies in a Canadian context" course at the University of Alberta. It was inspired by the Cite Black Women Collective movement. #CiteIndigenousAuthors is an ongoing community-built resource designed to increase visibility of Indigenous-authored scholarly work.”

Disabled Writers  

  • This resource is specifically designed to help editors connect with disabled people working in journalism or trying to break into the field. It also includes disabled experts who are available to serve as sources, such as attorneys, physicians, social workers, artists, and others with professional experience or education that makes them expert sources in their fields.

Diverse Sources  

  • A searchable database of underrepresented experts in the areas of science, health and the environment. Includes anyone who considers themselves underrepresented (including but not limited to ethnicity, gender, gender expression, gender identity, language, mental health experience, nationality, physical abilities, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, veteran status, etc.)

Editors of Color Diverse Databases  

  • Directory of databases for finding a diverse array of talent and creators from a variety of communities

NPR Diverse Sources Database  

  • NPR’s resource for journalists who believe in the value of diversity and share our goal to make public radio look and sound like America. Find experts from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in the media

People of Color Also Know Stuff   

  • People of Color Also Know Stuff provides a directory of experts of color in political science. Their mission is to promote scholars of color in Political Science and serve as an amplifier for efforts to advance racial diversity and inclusion in the discipline. They aim to advance equity that is inclusive of all class backgrounds, gender identities, sexual identities, and institutional contexts.


  • Sourcelist is a database of qualified experts in technology policy from diverse backgrounds. It is built on the principle that technology policy stands to benefit from the inclusion of the ideas, perspectives, and recommendations of a broader array of people. Its purpose is to aid journalists, conference organizers, and others in identifying and connecting with expert sources beyond those in their existing Rolodexes.

Women Also Know Stuff  

  • Searchable database helps academics and journalists identify and connect with women academics conducting research on a multitude of issues related to the study of politics.

Women Also Know History  

  • Searchable website makes it easier to identify and connect with women historians working in a wide range of fields and professional settings.

You can also consider practices such as the creation of a citation diversity statement or utilizing a citation audit. For another assessment tool, please see the "Gray Test" in the next tab.

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:

  • Does the article cite the scholarship of at least two women?
  • Does the article cite the work of two scholars of color?
  • Does the article actually engage with and discuss the work of these scholars, whether in the text or within foot/end notes (and not only as a parenthetical citation)?

Infographic depicting the three considerations of the Gray Test.

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:

Creating an Annotated Bibliography

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

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.

  • Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
  • Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  • Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Video: What is an Annotated Bibliography? IRSC Libraries (2022).

Annotated Bibliography Exercise

Your annotated bibliography can also help structure your research paper. Try the following activity:

  1. Print out your annotated bibliography, being sure to only print on one side of the paper.
  2. Cut up your paper so that each source and its annotation is separate from the other sources.
  3. Evaluate where each source should show up in throughout your paper. Ask yourself the following questions:
    • How does this source reinforce your argument or thesis statement?
    • Does this source pair well with any of the other sources? Do they build on each other? If so, maybe make that a point in your research.
    • Do these sources provide enough information and support for everything I'm trying to portray in my research project?
    • What information is missing from the sources I currently have? 
  4. Imagine the main structure of your paper and place the sources into different orders - move the pieces of paper around and imagine how one source can strengthen another. 
  5. Reflect on this activity. How did this evaluation of your sources help your overall thoughts on your research project? Note where you might want to move forward from here to create a paper or project that flows well and includes relevant sources.

To learn more about annotated bibliographies, and see some examples, check out the CSUN Library's Citation Guide.

Citation Assistance

Citational Help at Indiana University Bloomington:

Citing Primary Sources from the Indiana University Archive

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:

Screenshot of an item record from the IU Archives photo collection

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, 

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 Guideup//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.