A Definitive Guide to Writing: How to Cite a Source

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Zyxware is publishing a multipart essay on how to write effectively. In the fifth article in this series, you can read part G that educates on how to provide proper citations in a genuine academic sense.

  1. Give credits where it is due—a hyperlink to sources. Cite primary sources as far as possible.

  2. Ensure credit line for photos published as part of articles. Regardless of the familiarity of people or structures appearing in a photograph, include a caption describing the image. Make the picture relevant to the story. 

  3. Quotes should always bear proper attribution. Unnamed or anonymous sources raise questions and add speculation. While quoting a person firsthand, mention the mode of communication. While quoting from an interview published elsewhere, explicitly reveal the source. Include the interview title, name of the interviewer, publication date, volume and name of the periodical.

  4. For all online citations, include the month and year of accessing the webpage. Place it inline as descriptive text or put it separately as a footnote or endnote. While quoting short posts or comments from social media pages and profiles, embed the relevant posts or comments. Refer to the video that appeared on YouTube or Vimeo channels. 

  5. While citing online resources, at the end of the anchor text from where you intend to call attention to the footnote, place opening and closing square brackets [] or less than and greater than symbols <> with the letters fn written inside it. Thus you are calling the footnote function enabled inside the CMS. Remember to close this argument the way you approach an HTML tag using /fn inside the same parenthesis. Between the opening tag and closing tag, give the details to be converted to footnote in the following order:

    <tag> Byline, Website (online/pdf/print), “Title in italics inside double quotes,” Published on (dateline), Link retrieved on (accessed date). Full URL in plain text. </tag>

    Tips to Remember

    1. You can also use [tag] and [/tag] instead of <tag> and </tag>.

    2. Replace the word ‘tag’ with ‘fn’ inside the parenthesis.

    3. Date format for citations should be either in YYYY-MM-DD or YYYY Month DD format.

    4. If at all the referenced article comes without a byline, write:‘Author unspecified’ or ‘Anonymous’.

    5. If the publication date is undisclosed, write ‘Dateline unavailable’ or ‘Dateline not specified’.

    6. Hyperlink the referenced article to the word ‘Link’.

    7. Leave the URL as plain text without invoking a hyperlink.

  1. While citing a book, give the reference as a footnote or endnote. The style and order of a footnote or endnote should be the Full name of the author, “Title of the Book Chapter” in “Title of the Book” edited by <full name of the editor> (Place of publication: Publisher, year of publication), page number. 

  2. For a book with multiple authors or editors, give their names separated by an ampersand. 

  3. For sequential citations from the same book, use ibid. 

  4. In long-form articles having an academic rhythm, especially while writing a paper with many chapters, include a Bibliography.1

  5. Suppose an author refers to a paragraph in a chapter by various authors that appeared in a book edited by multiple editors. The citation order in the Bibliography should be Author1, P. Q. & Author2, R. S. (copyright year). Title of the Book Chapter. In T. U. Editor1 & V. W. Editor2 (Eds.), Title of the Book (Edition, Pages #-#,) Publisher. DOI or URL. Here, the letters P to W stand for initials of the given name and middle name, while the name of the author and editor should be their surnames. For authors, initials come after the surname, while for editors, initials come first before the surname, followed by the indication (Eds.). DOI is the digital object identifier.2  URL is the universal resource locator.