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FILA 150 Sustainability Class Guide


Outside sources are often a requirement for your papers and projects. The library can help you locate books, articles, and other materials to meet your needs, but that's only the first step.

Once you have located them you still have to use the sources responsibly. The main component to this is citing the sources correctly.

This tutorial will help you understand the purpose of a citation and how to create one for a bibliography or work cited page.

Where to Start

The purpose of each citation is to indicate where the information came from, and to provide the reader with enough information to access the original source. The type of source can effect the citation, but typically every citation requires the following information:

  • Author
  • Title (of book, article, or journal)
  • Publisher
  • Publication date
  • Page numbers
  • Volume and issue number (for journals)
  • URL (if a web source)
  • Database name (if from a library database)
  • Access date (if its an electronic source)

In online databases, the article's record (what you see when you first discover the article) should contain all the necessary information:

Citation information from article

In a print book or journal, most of this can be found at the beginning of the source:


Title page of the book The World Without Us


 Image of the publication information inside a book


Creating the Citation

Once you have the above information collected, you'll want to construct the citation. For the general format of APA and MLA citations for the more commonly cited materials, please see below:

The Basic Formula for MLA Style

Author, First. "Title of Article." Title of Periodical, vol., no., Year, pages. DOI or URL


  • Written by one author: Kurtz, Thomas G. "A Random Trotter Product Formula." Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society, vol. 35, 1972, pp. 147–154. doi:10.1090/S0002-9939-1972-0303347-5
  • Written by two authors: Weisman, Caroline M, and Sean R Eddy. “Gene Evolution: Getting Something from Nothing.” Current Biology, vol. 27, no. 13, 2017, p. 663. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2017.05.056.
  • Written by multiple authors: Zhang, Xiao, et. al. "Random Graph Models for Dynamic Networks. The European Physical Journal B : Condensed Matter and Complex Systems, vol. 90, no. 10, pp. 1–14. doi:10.1140/epjb/e2017-80122-8.
  • Written by no authors: "Random Thoughts: 'hose stuff'." Fire Engineering, vol. 152, no. 6, p. 140.

Traditional Print books:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.


  • Anderson, Carol. White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide. Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • Kendi, I. X. How to Be an Antiracist. One World, 2019.
  • Oluo, I. So You Want to Talk about Race. Seal Press, 2018.

Electronic books:

Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book [eBook edition]. Publisher. URL

*It is only necessary to denote format when the electronic version differs from the traditional print version.*


Lastname, F. M. (Year). Title of book (N. Narrator, Narr.) [Audiobook]. Publisher.

*It is only necessary to denote format when the audiobook version differs from the traditional print version in some way (is abridged or has additional content).*

Traditional print news article:

Author, First. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper, Day Month Year, pages.

  • Collins-Hughes, Laura. "Provincetown: Go for the Mask Compliance, Stay for the Show." New York Times, 1 August 2020, p. C1. 

Online news article (from a publisher with a physical newspaper):

Lastname, First. "Title of Article." Title of Newspaper, Day Month Year, URL

Online news article (from a publisher without a physical newspaper):

Lastname, First. "Title of Article." Name of publishing website, Month Day Year, URL

Lastname, First. "Title of Page." Site Name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Group name. "Title of page." Site name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

"Title of page." Site name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.


Lastname, First. "Title of Blogpost." Name of Blog, Day Month Year of blogpost, URL of blogpost. Accessed Day Month Year.


Lastname, First or Name of Group. "Description of Post." Facebook, Day Month Year of Post, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.


Lastname, First or Name of Group [@username]. "Content of the post up to the first 20 words" [Instagram Post], Instagram, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.


Lastname, First or Name of Group [@username]. "Content of the post up to the first 20 words" [Tweet], Twitter, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

YouTube (or other streaming video):

Last name, First name of the creator. “Title of the video or audio.” Youtube, role of contributors and their First name Last name, URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

Citation Generators

To transform the above information into a proper citation, you'll need to consult the appropriate style guide. The library has copies of each guide available for use. You also may want to use one of the many citation management/generator tools that are available either for free or a subscription fee.

A word of caution when using tools such as those listed below. Don't assume that the citation is correct, instead always verify the citation before turning in your paper. Glitches and uncommon formatting can cause trouble for these automatic generators.


Many library databases also include an automatic citation option. This is normally indicated by a quotation mark symbol. If you're using the library's Discovery system to find articles, you are able to use the citation function directly through there. This is a great resource, but remember to proofread the citation. Notice here how the citation created reads "INSERT-MISSING-URL".