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

Style Manuals

When citing sources, be sure to use a conventional bibliographic style. Most disciplines have a standard style that writers are expected to use. Each style will specify a uniform way of citing sources that will: 

  • Give an orderly appearance to your bibliography;
  • Provide all the essential elements of information that a reader will need to locate the source.

    A citation must include:

    For books and nonprint materials: For periodical articles:
    • author 
    • title 
    • place of publication 
    • publisher 
    • date 
    • author 
    • title 
    • periodical title 
    • volume number or date of publication 
    • page numbers 

Your professor may require you to use a particular bibliographic style. If you are unsure, ask your professor. Below you will find three commonly used bibliographic style manuals that show how to cite a variety of sources, including documents from the Internet:


APA is the preferred citation style in the field of psychology and in most social science disciplines.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. Washington, DC: APA, 1994.(Ref BF76.7 .P83 1994) <available at all 3 campus libraries>

This book presents APA style requirements and provides examples for all types of information sources.

Try the University of Southern Mississippi's Quick Reference Guide to the 5th Edition of the APA Style Guide. Or try NoodleTools - A suite of interactive tools designed to aid students and professionals with their online research. Use NoodleBib to generate and edit MLA and APA-style lists. Get expert tips on how to cite sources and find information on the web with NoodleBoard.


MLA style is most commonly used in the humanities, especially the fields of literature and languages, although other disciplines also utilize this format.

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York : Modern Language Association of America. (Ref LB2369 G53) <Available at all 3 campus libraries> 

The MLA style set forth in this book is used by writers in the humanities. 


Additional bibliographic style manuals may be found in the Reference collection.


The Chicago citation style (also called Turabian style) is used primarily in the fields of history and the natural sciences.

The Chicago Manual of Style. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1993. (Ref Z253 .U69 1993.) <Available at all 3 campus libraries>

This book is a comprehensive guide to preparing manuscripts for publishing. 

A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. By Kate Turabian. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. (Ref LB2369 T8) <Available at all 3 campus libraries>

Guide to writing papers in the Turabian variation of the Chicago style.

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