The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Fay School Library

Online Citation Tools

Check out these free online citation tools.

List of 11 items.

  • Why must I cite my sources?

    Citation is a matter of ethics. You must use a citation for someone else’s idea—even if you paraphrase it. It is important to give credit to the sources you used for your research. This is standard practice at every level of education and in every profession.
    • All new ideas have been built on the work of others and you honor those experts whose work you cite.
    • Someone reading your paper should always be able to tell when you are presenting your ideas and conclusions and when you are using someone else's ideas.
    • Someone reading your paper may want to consult the same resources you used for their own research purposes.
    • Using another person's words or ideas without acknowledging that person's work is plagiarism!
  • What do I have to cite?

    • Any important facts, ideas or statistics taken from the work of others, whether you quote directly or paraphrase.
    • Someone else’s exact words that you quote.
    • Any opinions, interpretations or conclusions that are someone else’s work. Even if you put these into your own words, you must still cite them!
    • Any image, photograph, illustration, graph, chart or diagram you did not create yourself. Use the same format for parenthetical references (don’t copy and paste the URL), but instead of at the end of a sentence, place it under the image like a caption.
    If you’re not sure if you should cite something, it is better to cite it. If you omit a necessary citation, it might be considered plagiarism, even though you did not intentionally plagiarize. When in doubt, CITE.
    You Quote It, You Note It! is a very clever online tutorial to help you avoid plagiarism. Fifteen minutes here could save your academic life!
  • What don’t I have to cite?

    • Commonly known, generally accepted facts. For middle school students, this means things that most people in your grade would know.
    • Freely-available clip art.
    • Phrases that are part of everyday speech such as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
    • Your own ideas, opinions or conclusions. Please remember that the personal pronoun “I” should not be used in a research paper.
    - That George Washington was the first president of the United States is a commonly known fact that does not require a citation. The fact that he was an accomplished dancer does require a citation.
    - That H2O is the chemical symbol for water is a commonly known fact that does not require a citation. The fact that the tetrahedral crystalline structure breaks down when ice melts to form liquid water does require a citation.
  • How do I cite my sources?

    You must cite your sources in TWO ways: 
    • A list of all your sources at the end of your paper titled Works Cited or Bibliography.
    • Brief citations within the text of your paper called parenthetical references.

    There are several styles for citing sources. Fay School uses the MLA (Modern Language Association) style. The book, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, will answer any question you may have about MLA style. There is a copy of this book in the library (808.027 MLA).

    Use these online citation generators By providing prompts and asking questions, these tools make it easier to cite your sources.
  • What is a works cited list?

    A Works Cited list includes all the sources you used for your research. It may also be called a bibliography (“biblio” refers to books and “graphy” refers to description). Since students today use online sources as well as books, we use the term Works Cited, but bibliography is also acceptable.

    A works cited list helps anyone who reads your paper find out more about your ideas and where they came from.

    KEY TO SUCCESS: Save time and cite as you go! When you find a source you will use, add it to your NoodleTools works cited list right away.
  • What type of source am I citing?

    Some citation tools have an auto-fill mode, so you just select the type of source and generate the citation using key information. Some citations tools only provide manual-entry mode, so you need to follow the prompts, enter the required information and create the citation.
    These are three of the frequently used sources:
    BOOK: Use the ISBN for the auto-fill mode. Follow prompts, and enter all required information such as the title, author, publisher and publication year for the manual-entry mode.
    WEBSITE: For almost anything you find using a search engine (like Google), select Website as your source type. Use the URL for the auto-fill mode. For manual-entry mode, follow prompts to fill in all the information such as article title, website name, author, publication date/year, URL, etc., you are able to find on that webpage, and then create the citation.
    SUBSCRIPTION DATABASE: The information you find in subscription databases is reliable, so take advantage of Fay’s collection of databases The easiest way to cite the database articles is to find the citation within that particular page because databases usually have citations readily available. You just need to copy and paste it onto your works cited list or bibliography. 
  • Where do I find the information I need for citations?

    BOOK: Everything you need for your citation is on the title page and the back of the title page (called the verso). Never trust the cover! If you photocopy pages from a book, make it a habit to also copy the title page and the verso and staple it all together.
    - If there are several cities of publication, use the first one.
    - The Easy Way: Search for the book in the library catalog using keywords from the author, title or subject. When you click on the title, you’ll see all the information you need for your citation: author, title, and publication information (city, publisher and publication year).
    REFERENCE BOOK ARTICLES: If the author’s name is given, it may appear at the beginning or the end of the article.
    ONLINE SUBSCRIPTIONS & DATABASE ARTICLES: Most of these provide the citation at the end of each article. If there are several citation styles, choose MLA style.
    WEB SITE: You may need to do a little detective work. If the author’s name is given, it may be at the top or bottom of the page. You will also need the name of the specific page or article, the title of the entire web site and the name of the sponsoring organization.
    - Look for an About link on the page for information about the sponsoring organization. If you can’t determine the author or sponsoring organization for a web site, don’t use it! Your sources should all be written by experts.
    - Always copy and paste the URL of a web site into NoodleTools to be sure it’s correct.
    IMAGE: If the image doesn’t have a title, create a description yourself. Examples: “Mitosis;” “Panda;” “Vision Chart.”
  • What are parenthetical references?

    Parenthetical references are brief citations (placed in parentheses) within the text of your paper that show exactly where you found information within a source in your works cited list.
    The MLA style uses parenthetical references for citing sources within the text of your paper. Every source you cite in your paper must also appear in your works cited list.
    Within the text of your paper, when you need to cite a source, simply put in parentheses the first word or several words from the works cited list for that source followed by the page number if it is a print source. This sentence includes a parenthetical reference for the page in MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Paperswhere you will find complete instructions for using parenthetical references (Gibaldi 238).
    KEY TO SUCCESS: Insert parenthetical references as you write, not after! You’ll be glad you did.
    Format tips:
    • Don’t use any punctuation within the parentheses, and if there is no author, just use the first important word or two of the title (not “a”, “an”, “the”).
    • For a print source, don’t use the abbreviations p. or pg. or write the word “page” before the page number. This sentence includes a reference for information from page 26 of a book by Francesca Baines (Baines 26).
    • For a web site, use the author’s last name if given, or the first word(s) of the bibliographic entry (no page number needed). Here’s a web site example for information from a web page authored by Daniel Flueck and titled “Protanopia” that a student used for research on color blindness (Flueck, “Protanopia”). The article title is included here because there are two online articles by the same author in the works cited list.
  • Why do I need parenthetical references?

    Your works cited list shows the sources you used for your research, but you also need to indicate the specific facts or ideas you used and exactly where you found them.
    Citing sources within the text of your paper allows you to use the work of others without plagiarizing.
    Citing sources within the text of your paper strengthens your work by providing support for your ideas.
    KEY TO SUCCESS: Enter your sources in NoodleTools as you find them. Then click on Parenthetical Reference for a suggestion of how to create a parenthetical reference for that particular source. Cite as you write!
  • What about images?

    If an image is not your own original photograph, illustration, graph, chart or diagram, you must cite it.
    Use an online citation tool, choose the correct source type such as "digital image" or "photo," and manually fill in the blanks to create your citation. If the image doesn’t have a title, create a description yourself. Examples: “Mitosis;” “Vision Chart,” or "A graph of the Population Growth."
    If your online image is from a source you used for your research, you don’t need to create a separate citation in your works cited list. Just use the parenthetical reference as a caption for the image.
    To cite an image within the text of your paper, use the form for parenthetical references, but instead of at the end of a sentence, place it under the image like a caption. Don’t copy and paste the URL.
    Freely-available clip art does not need to be cited.
  • But I still can’t figure it out!

    Okay, it's not easy. Ask a teacher, ask a librarian, or use the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. Remember that Earnest Effort is one of Fay's core values! Just do your best.

Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing: What's the Difference?

Identical to the original text. Quotations match the source document word for word and must be attributed to the original author.

Putting a passage from the source material into your own words. A paraphrase is generally shorter than the original passage. A paraphrase must also be attributed to the original source. 

Putting the main idea(s) into your own words, including only the main point(s). Summaries are significantly shorter than the original text. Once again, the summarized ideas must be attributed to the original source.

What's the difference?
Length and precision.  

What is the same?
Every one of these requires that you cite the original source
Still confused? Here's an example.

The original passage:
Students frequently overuse direct quotation in taking notes, and as a result they overuse quotations in the final [research] paper. Probably only about 10% of your final manuscript should appear as directly quoted matter. Therefore, you should strive to limit the amount of exact transcribing of source materials while taking notes. Lester, James D. Writing Research Papers. 2nd ed. (1976): 46-47.

A legitimate paraphrase:
In research papers students often quote excessively, failing to keep quoted material down to a desirable level. Since the problem usually originates during note taking, it is essential to minimize the material recorded verbatim (Lester 46-47).

An acceptable summary:
Students should take just a few notes in direct quotation from sources to help minimize the amount of quoted material in a research paper (Lester 46-47).

A plagiarized version:
Students often use too many direct quotations when they take notes, resulting in too many of them in the final research paper. In fact, probably only about 10% of the final copy should consist of directly quoted material. So it is important to limit the amount of source material copied while taking notes.

This example has been classed as plagiarism, in part, because of its failure to use any citation. It also uses exact phrases from the original passage without using quotation marks.
The information above comes from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL): Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing, written by Dana Lynn Driscoll, Allen Brizee. 

Need more practice? This tutorial from Cornell University will really challenge your analytical skills!
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