Understanding Citations and Finding Items: Understanding Citations

What's this guide for?

This guide is intended to

  • help you understand how to read a citation to a book, article, or book section;
  • help you find the item the citation describes.

Do you need help creating citations for your papers?  If so, check out Style Guides for Writing or Citation Management.

Still confused? Ask a Librarian!

Some clues for reading citations

It's probably a if
journal article
  • there is a journal title which includes the word "journal" (or something similar)
  • there is a journal volume number (and sometimes journal issue number)
  • there are article page numbers
book
  • there is a place of publication
  • there is a publisher
book section
  • there are two titles: chapter and book
  • there are (at least) the names of two people: chapter author and book editor
  • there are chapter page numbers
  • there is a place of publication
  • there is a publisher

 

See some citations "in the wild" (which don't always look like the model citations on the right side of this page).

Journal articles

Labeled journal article citation: Leong, Russell C. is the article author.  “Interview with Tsai Ming-Liang” is the article title.  Amerasia Journal is the journal title. 37.2 is the journal volume and journal number. (2011) is the journal date of publication. : comes after the date of publication. 103 is the article page(s).

Books

Clendinnen, Inga is the book author.  Ambivalent Conquests: Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570 is the book title.  	New York is the place of publication. : follows the place of publication. Cambridge University Press is the publisher. , follows the publisher. 1987 is the date of publication.

Book sections

Byrne, Peter is the chapter author.  “A Philosophical Approach to Questions about Religious Diversity” is the chapter title. In follows the chapter title.  Cxford Handbook of Religious Diversity is the book title. , edited by Chad V. Meister, who is the book editor. , 29-41 is the chapter page(s). Oxford is the place of publication, followed by a :. Oxford University Press is the publisher, followed by a ,. 2011 is the date of publication..