Skip to main content Musicians Insitute Library

Guide to Citations

A guide for everyone explaining basics of different types of Citation: What their purposes are, how to do them, and why they are important.

Why Cite?

Citations are how your readers know: 

  1. What information you took from other sources
  2. Where you got your information from

Both of these things will ensure your readers that you are a reliable source and will allow them to find the background materials to confirm this information or come to their own conclusions about what you are referencing. 

It is also legally required. If you take information from sources and do not cite them, it is plagiarism, which is illegal use of someone else's intellectual property. According to the student handbook, this can result in a failing grade and students are subject to disciplinary action, which can include termination from the program. So cite your sources!

What information do I need?

These are the pieces of information necessary for proper citations:

  • Books
    • Author
    • Title of Work
    • Publisher Name and Location
    • Year of Publication
    • Page numbers, if only an excerpt (like a chapter)
  • Websites
    • Author (can be a corporation or university as well as a person)
    • Title of webpage or web article
    • Date last modified
    • Date accessed by you
    • URL
  • Newspaper or Magazine article
    • Author
    • Title of Article
    • Name of newspaper or magazine published in (if it was published in several newspapers or magazines, choose the one you used)
    • Date of Article
    • Mode of access
      • If you found it online: URL
      • If you found it in an online database: name of the database
      • If you found it in the print version: page number
  • Audiovisual Recordings
    • Author
    • Name of video or audio
    • Date of creation (date filmed, date recorded, date published if that is the only date available)
    • Location (where it was filmed, recorded, or where the record label is located)
    • Mode of Access
      • If you found it online (YouTube or website): URL
      • If you found it in an online database: name of the database
      • If you found it on a commercial DVD or CD: Publisher, location of publisher, format
    • Timecode, if relevant.
  • Social Media
    • User (Real name, if known AND username)
    • Name of post or post itself
    • Date and Time of publication
    • Name of Social Media posted on (i.e. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter...)
    • URL, if available
  • Personal Communication
    • Name of person communicated with
    • Mode of communication (i.e. Message sent to author on Facebook, letter to author, email to author)
    • Date of communication

For more specific information, see the specific style of citation and the type of work you are citing.

Research Hints and Tips

If you are worried about citations, worry not! Come to the library and the librarian will gladly help you edit your citations! You can also set up a meeting by emailing library@mi.edu.