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Citations to the Chemical Literature: Home

How to interpret citations found in the chemical literature and how to locate the items referenced


Interpreting Citations

A citation is a reference to a source of information. Each one should contain enough information to allow a research to locate the item referenced.

The ability to interpret a citation is a key research skill. The first step it to determine the type of item being referenced. For our purpose these include:

  • Book
  • Chapter or article in a book
  • Journal article
  • Magazine article
  • Proceedings
  • Dissertation
  • Patent
  • Website
  • Dataset or Database

Citation Styles

Many disciplines have their own style guide. You may be familiar with some of these: Chicago Manual of Style and the MLA Style Guide. The definitive guide in Chemistry is The ACS style guide : effective communication of scientific information. The 3rd edition can also be found in the Science and Engineering Library in the Reference section.  The call number is QD8.5 .A25 2006.