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SSI2-170: Space, Place and Values: Write & Cite

Deciphering Citations

The most commonly cited sources are:

  • Journal Articles
  • Books
  • Chapters/Essays in Books

Here is an example of a citation to a journal article citation:

Ellen M. Shortell, "Dismembering Saint Quentin: Gothic Architecture and the Display of Relics." Gesta, Vol. 36, No. 1 (1997) , pp. 32-47

Note the volume, issue, date, and pages. The title of the work precedes the name of the journal. To find this article, search the name of the journal, not the article title, in the library's Primo Journal Search. In this case, search Gesta.


Here is an example of a book citation:

Caroline A. Bruzelius, The Thirteenth-Century Church at Saint Denis (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1985).

Note the place of publication and the publisher are included. You can search the title or author of the work in Primo.


Here is an example of an essay in a book:

Havice, Christine.  "Women and the Production of Art in the Middle Ages: The Significance of Context," Double Vision.  Perspectives of Gender in the Visual Arts, ed. Natalie Harris Bluestone, Associated University Presses, 1995, 67-94.

Notice that there are no volume or issue numbers in this citation. The title of the chapter is in quotation marks and the title of the book is italicized.  To find a chapter in a book, search using the title of the book (not the title of the chapter!) in Primo. In this case, search for Double Vision.


MLA Style Guide

Academic writers in the humanities tend to follow the MLA citation style.  See the Collins Library quick MLA citation guide for commonly used types of sources, or consult the full book.

Annotated Bibliography


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.


Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.


Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.


This example uses the MLA format for the journal citation. NOTE: Standard MLA practice requires double spacing within citations.

Waite, Linda J., Frances Kobrin Goldscheider, and Christina Witsberger. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review 51.4 (1986): 541-554. Print.

The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

Permission granted to reuse this content by:

Olin Library Reference
Research & Learning Services
Cornell University Library
Ithaca, NY, USA

Citing Sources

Citations are key to participating in the scholarly community. They are a way to converse with other scholars, but they also:

  • Give fair credit to others for their ideas, creations, and expressions.
  • Back up claims and statements.
  • Provide a way for an interested reader to learn more.
  • Support academic integrity.

Consult Citation Tools to learn more about different citation styles.  Collins Library also supports two knowledge management tools:  RefWorks and Zotero.