USC Upstate Library - Citation Documentation Philosophy
The USC Upstate Library supports student learning and information literacy. Therefore, the library offers tools and resources for students to create their own citations and make informed decisions about citation styles. The experience of creating citations offers students the opportunity to learn about the parts and elements of citations. The process of creating citations strengthens both decision making and critical thinking skills. The familiarity of citation principles is imperative when the accuracy of a citation comes into question. The library offers many print and online citation style resources. The library encourages students to consult these resources to create their own citations basing them on established guidelines.
A citation gives information to your reader so they can locate your sources. Think of it as a road map or directions. Important information such as the publisher name, volume and issue numbers, date of publication, author name(s), title, etc., helps your reader discover the sources you used for your research paper or project.
Citation styles are tailored to the needs of each subject discipline. Some styles give the author's last name and first initial, while other styles use the complete full name. Where to place dates also varies, with some dates immediately following the author's name and other dates close to the end of the citation. Punctuation varies from style to style. Each unique citation style creates a list of sources that can be easily read for authority, timeliness and overall quality of resources. There are many citation styles based upon the needs of the reader evaluating and locating resources.
Students should always use the citation style specified by their professors. Often the course syllabus will indicate what citation style to use for assignments. Here is a general list of citation styles by associations.