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Quick Guides

Anatomy of a Citation

Anatomy of a Citation

What is a citation?

A citation is the basic information required to identify or locate a specific publication (book, article, video, etc.). Citations are provided in print and electronic indexes and catalogs to identify resources. They are also included in research papers, articles, and books to reference text that has been quoted or a source that has
been used as an authority.

Parts of a Citation

Book Parts:

  • Author(s) or Editor(s)
  • Book Title
  • Edition
  • Publication Date
  • Publisher and Place of Publication

Article Parts:

  • Article Title
  • Author(s)
  • Page Numbers
  • Periodical Title
  • Publication Date
  • Volume and Issue

Style Guides

Citations can be formatted differently depending on what style guide is being used as a reference.  Below are two style guides used often to format research papers.


Modern Language Association (MLA)

Disciplines: Arts and Humanities

MLA Guide


American Psychological Association (APA)

Disciplines: Social Sciences

APA Guide

Research Tips

Some suggestions to make the research process more quick and efficient:

  • Use Findit@MU when you have a complete citation to find the full-text of an article.
  • Use the Library Catalog to find the print editions of periodical titles.

Anatomy of an Article Citation


Anatomy of a Book Citation



Adapted from UC Davis Library

Last modified: December 20, 2010