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Cite Your Sources

By Kelly Williams, student, School for Graduate Studies; secretary to the director of collegewide student services, Academic

March 14, 2014

It’s guaranteed that whether you are an undergraduate or a graduate student that you will need to write a paper and defend your thesis with sources. Regardless of how well you do that, a list of those sources has to be included at the end of the work, in approved formats. Let’s face it, citing your sources can be a daunting task. The idea itself is fraught with so many questions that often one is left floundering in a panic of what ifs. Is it a comma or a period? Do I italicize the title or leave it in regular font? What if it’s a book and not a journal? What if there is more than one author, like two or three or more?  If I don’t cite correctly, I could be accused of plagiarism and put my good standing in jeopardy! What do I do to avoid this?

Don’t fear! There is help.

screen shot of the MyESC home page for studentsEmpire State College’s Library has everything you need to make sure that your paper conforms to the approved formatting type, whether it is MLA, APA, etc. How do you access this information, you ask? It’s simple. When you log on to MyESC, you’ll find a link to the library under the “Quick Links: The Links You Use the Most!” section. Click on Library and that will take you the home page of the Empire State College Library and Resources.

On the next page, click the link: “Cite Your Sources”. Here you’ll find guidance on every citation topic you will need during your coursework at Empire State College. From avoiding plagiarism to annotated bibliographies, our librarians have you covered. If you’re still not certain, the page offers a live chat or a number you can call to speak with a person directly, 1/800-847-3000 ext. 2222, during hours listed (see website for details).

Inset of the Empire State College landing page.Another great resource that every student should make use of is the “citation tools” recommended by the library. As a graduate student, I can say that this has been an invaluable resource for my work, and ensures a higher level of professionalism to my finished work. RefWorks, at the top of the list, provides an online service free to current students, faculty and staff. It is an “online research management, writing and collaboration tool designed to help researchers easily gather, manage, store and share all types of information, as well as generate citations and bibliographies.” All you have to do is sign up for a free account from the Library website, and start filling in the information from your books.

Using RefWorks is easy and the library has created a tips page that explains all the details:  http://subjectguides.esc.edu/refworks. So don’t be intimidated by those citations any longer. You have a tool that can wrestle that monster for you, and take some of the stress of writing those papers off your shoulders.

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