OCAD University Dorothy H. Hoover Library

Ask a Librarian

Find what you need in our searchable FAQ.

What are citations?

415 views   |   0   0   |   Last updated on Dec 22, 2016   


Citations are an important part of academic writing; they help us track the history of an idea from its first iteration through to the present. By not using citations when borrowing ideas, concepts, images, or direct quotations from others, you are in danger of plagiarism or academic misconduct charges. View our OCAD U Library Citing Sources guide. 

There are three major citation styles:

  • Chicago (16th edition) usually used for art history research
  • MLA (8th edition) often for languages and literature research
  • APA (6th edition) primarily used in design or the social sciences

Citations use two basic elements: the cited reference in the body of your paper and the bibliographic entry at the end of the paper. Each style has a unique format:

  • Chicago (16th edition) uses footnotes or endnotes AND a Bibliography
  • MLA (8th edition) uses in-text citations AND a Works Cited list
  • APA (6th edition) uses in-text citations AND a Reference List

Verify with your instructor to see which style you are to use, the links above will offer guides from the Online Writing Lab from Purdue University which are useful for most questions on citations.