What is a citation? A citation shows the reader where you found your information. It allows you to give credit to the original author. It also allows the reader of your work to find the same resources that you used. Whichever style of citation you use, it will always include the name of the Author(s), the name of the book, publication or website and the date it was printed (or accessed if in the internet, and the original publication date is not available). Citations normally consist of 2 parts - the in-text citation and the bibliography. The in-text citation tells your reader where to find the complete information in the bibliography or footnote/bibliography.
Tip: Create a citation for any book or article that you are going to use in your paper as you research and read about your topic. Open a google doc as soon as you start reading. If you find the information useful, create the citation at the top of the page. That will make it easy to write your bibliography as you go.
Which citation style should I use?
As a general rule: MLA (Modern Language Association) is used for language and literature papers. CMS (Chicago Manual of Style) is used for history papers and the humanities. APA (American Psychological Association) is used for scientific papers. Always check with your teacher to see if he/she has a preferred style.
Can I create a citation within the database or use a citation creation tool? Yes. It's a good idea to use technology to help you create your citation. However, it's also important to understand that these tools are not infallible. It's your job, as the student, to check the citation to make sure that it contains all the right information. Some tools will allow you to add additional information, such as full names, page numbers etc. to ensure that the final citation is correct. And of course, there will be times when it is impossible to use technology to create the citation.
What if I still have questions?
Ask the librarian. They are great resources on how to find additional resources and how to create citations correctly.