Citations, references & bibliographies



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Referencing & Citing Sources Library Guide No. 8

Referencing or citing is the important process of acknowledging any other person's ideas in your own assignments, whether you have quoted them directly or referred to an idea or theme.





What is Referencing or Citing?

  • A Reference or Citation provides brief details of your source in the main body of your assignment e.g. the author, date of publication and page numbers.

  • A Reference List is a list of all the items you quote or refer to in the assignment. It’s located at the back of your work or at the end of a chapter. Do not include any additional sources in this list, unless your lecturer has specifically asked you for a bibliography.

  • A Bibliography is a separate list of sources used for your research, but not necessarily all cited in the body of your assignment.

Why do I need to cite?

  • Citing shows your supervisor/examiner what sources of information you have used.

  • It allows readers to locate your sources easily and read further if they want to do so.

  • It highlights your own originality, ideas/ arguments and is good academic practice.

  • It guards against plagiarism – taking other writers’ ideas and using them as your own.

  • Citing saves you time having to track down bibliographic details again later on.

What details should I include?

  • For books and textbooks you must include details such as author, title, edition, publisher name, place of publication and year of publication.

  • For journals you need to cite the journal title, author(s), article title, year, volume, part and page details. Remember to include all the website details/urls/dois as well as the access date.


What should I cite?

Everything you use in an assignment must be referenced whether it’s a textbook, report. email, image, multimedia item, journal article, website, newspaper, thesis or patent. It is extremely important to be consistent and to use the same citation style throughout an assignment.



Which style?

Every scholarly discipline has a preferred format or style of referencing their publications - there isn’t one set of universal rules. Your lecturer will recommend a style to you and your School may have a preferred ‘house style. A common one is the Harvard Referencing System (alphabetical list by author). Individual publishers and journals often publish style guides that should be used if a paper is to be submitted for publication. Some of the more commonly used styles include:




    • Science: ACS (American Chemical Society) Style

CBE (Council of Biology Editors) Style

Numeric Style (RCS)

Vancouver Style (aka the Author-Number system)

    • Social Science / Education: APA Style

    • General Use / Business: Harvard Referencing or the APA Style

    • English & Humanities: MLA Style

    • Engineering: IEEE Standards Style Manual or Harvard Referencing

A selection of these citation styles is available in the Library at shelf no. 808.042 (Book Stack 10)


Reference Manage Freeware

Numerous free citation web-tools are available which allows you to automatically create references, footnotes and bibliographies in your written assignments in a choice of citation styles. Some examples include: Zotero: www.zotero.org EndnoteBasic: http://www.dit.ie/library/endnote



Seirbhísí Leabharlanna ITBÁC, Sráid Caoimhín

DIT Library Services, Kevin Street.

@ 353 1 4024894 --- kst.library@dit.ie --- @KevinStLibrary




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