When presenting or referring to the work of others, whether as a direct quote or by paraphrasing, you must provide the appropriate attribution. By citing the specific document, medium, or other form of communication, you indicate who originally made the contribution AND you allow your reader to find that contribution from which s/he may make their own judgment. Failure to provide appropriate attribution is considered plagiarism.
Citations need to be both consistent, so the reader can recognize what the item is (book, journal article, film, government document, etc.), and complete, so that s/he can find it.
Citations should always include these five elements :
The person, persons or group (corporation, government agency, institution, etc.) that is responsible for the content of the work.
What the work is called.
- Date of Publication
When the work was made available; depending on the physical format of the material, this could be listed as:
- month and year, or
- day, month and year.
Where the work comes from. For books, this would be the publisher; for journal articles, this would be the title of the journal, for government documents, the agency name, for technical reports, the corporation or agency, etc.
Any information that's needed to find the work within/from the source; this varies with format. For books the location would the city of the publisher; for journal articles it would be the volume, issue and pages; for items only published online this could be an URL or a DOI (digital object identifier).
How these elements are ordered in the citation and what punctuation, spacing, and font style (italics, bold) are used depends on the citation style you are asked to use.