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An important aspect of information literacy is learning how to use information ethically by citing sources and observing fair use.

Citing Sources

When you quote or paraphrase the idea of another person in your research paper or speech, you must provide a proper citation for the source in a bibliography or list of references to: 

  • Give credit to the author or creator; 
  • Enable a reader to locate the source you cited. 

Providing references for sources you used also lends credibility to your work, especially if you use authoritative sources. Be sure to provide full citations to all types of sources you use, including: 

  • Books; 
  • Government documents; 
  • Internet sources; 
  • Interviews; 
  • Magazine or journal articles; 
  • Plagiarism media (videotapes, audiotapes, pictures and images); 
  • Software.

For examples of citations for the above resources, visit the Interpreting Citations page.

If you use the ideas of others and do not give them credit by providing proper references to their work, you are committing plagiarism. Plagiarism is stealing someone else's ideas and presenting them as your own. Not only is plagiarism an honor code violation at Riverside Community College, punishable by temporary or permanent suspension from the college, it is also a federal crime. 

For information on the growing problem of plagiarism with statistics and background information visit

Subject Guide

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Shannon Hammock
4800 Magnolia Ave.
Riverside, CA