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Cite Sources

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Why cite?

Academic writing relies on several principals that distinguish it from other forms of information you may be familiar with. Academic writers use citations to:

  • demonstrate you have considered others' research
  • direct readers to additional information
  • establish credibility as a careful researcher
  • show professional honesty and courtesy

When you do research in a college setting, it is important to use proper attribution of the ideas you are exploring. This means using in-text citations for any direct quotes or by paraphrasing with attribution to the original source. Read this guide about plagiarism.

At Lane, two different citation styles are most popular: MLA and APA. Find more information about these styles below.

MLA Style

Looking for citation handouts? Example citations are now integrated into the Citation Guide (linked below).

MLA Handbook Cover

MLA Handbook by The Modern Language Association of America (Call Number: Ref desk LB2369 .M52 2021)

APA Style

APA Manual Cover

APA Publication Manual by American Psychological Association (Call Number: Ref desk BF76.7 .P83 2020)


Tools to create citations


NoodleTools helps you create citations and format papers in MLA or APA style. 

First time NoodleTools user? Create an account.

Citation Generators

Many research databases (and the Library catalog) have tools to create citations built into them! Use the database Cite feature to generate a citation in the specific format you need. Be sure to proof-read the citation for accuracy before you copy/paste into your References or Works Cited page.


MyBib is a free online citation creation tool. It can create citations and bibliographies in MLA or APA, and other styles. MyBib allows you to paste in a website URL or even search for a book, article, or other source by title, and will pull most of the information you need to create a citation (though you may need to double check that the information is correct and complete).

MS Word and Google Docs

MS Word and Google Docs have Citation creators built into their software.


What is an annotation?

An annotation summarizes the essential ideas contained in a document, reporting the author's thesis and main points as well as how they relate to your own ideas or thesis. There are two types of annotations: summative and evaluative.

Annotations are typically brief (one paragraph) but may be longer depending on the requirements of your assignment.

Check with your instructor to determine the citation format, length and the type of annotations you will be writing. Remember, the annotation should show that you have done more than simply describe the source.

An annotated bibliography can:

  •  help you read your sources more carefully. Writing an annotation on each source you use in your research will help you to read the material more closely and to think critically about the sources you are using and how they might be helpful (or not) in larger research projects.
  •  help you keep better track of your research. The annotation will serve as a note to yourself regarding each article or text you’ve read.
  •  provide additional information or background material for your reader, and will give your reader a better understanding of the topic.

Here is some information your annotation might include:

  •     What is the author's thesis or main points?
  •     Who is the author, what is their authority or background?
  •     Who is the author’s intended audience?
  •     What parts of the subject does the article emphasize or de-emphasize?
  •     Is there any bias or slant in the article?
  •     Are there any obvious omissions that seem important to the ideas being discussed?
  •     Does the evidence clearly support the author’s main point?
  •     What are the strengths and weaknesses of the article (critical evaluation)?

Examples of MLA and APA  styles of annotations can be found here from Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL).