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Citing Sources: Overview

How to Use This Guide

Choose a citation style above to find its NCC Library and Learning Center Citation Handout and see additional recommended citation resources. Support for additional citation styles other than the ones listed is available by request.

Learn about the citation process, plagiarism, and about integrating source information into your writing below. 

Need to work with someone on your citations? Get help from a librarian or visit the Learning Center to work with a tutor.

The Citation Process

Citing your sources is required when you quote another person directly, when the information you are using is not common knowledge, or whenever you quote, paraphrase, or summarize another author’s information. The author, whether a person or group, must be identified and cited correctly using professional citation styles like those designed by the Modern Language Association (MLA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS), the National Library of Medicine (NLM), or Bluebook. You may encounter other citation styles for other disciplines as well.

Regardless of the style you are working with to credit and document your sources, you will be working with 3 key elements: the quoted, paraphrased, or summarized information; an in-text signal that refers your audience to a full citation; and then that full citation.  

Your professor may have specific or unique instructions for citing sources. Always use the instructions they give you, even when they conflict with the citation style guidelines.

No online or computerized citation tool is perfect. Citations copied from library databases may contain errors or be formatted incorrectly. It is up to you to check the accuracy of your citations before submitting research papers or other class assignments.


Plagiarism and Academic Honesty

Using another person’s idea, concept, theory, or words without giving them credit by citing the source is plagiarism. Plagiarism violates the college’s Academic Honesty policy. Failure to identify the specific sources you used is considered to be a theft of intellectual property and may result in a failing grade for the assignment, a failing grade for the course, or even expulsion from the college.

Learn more about plagiarism with the Learning Center's Plagiarism handout. 

Writing with Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism

The following Learning Center handouts provide additional information and guidance to help you incorporate source information into your writing:


Librarians can answer quick citation questions, help you cite difficult or unusual sources, or review your Works Cited and Reference lists before you submit your assignments.

You can work with us by visiting the libraries' research help desk, messaging our Ask the Librarian chat, scheduling a Book a Librarian appointment, emailing your questions to, or calling us at (610) 861-5359. 


Learning Center

If it's your first time working with citation and citation styles, the Learning Center tutors are the best people to help you. They provide in-depth assistance, can help you understand the concepts of citation and plagiarism, and will work with you to build your citations from scratch.

Make an appointment online to meet with a tutor, visit their campus locations or Virtual Front Desk, call Bethlehem (610) 861-5517 or Pocono (570) 369-1820, or email

Purdue OWL

Some of the best online citation help and resources come from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab. The OWL also offers guidance on a variety of other research and writing concepts and skills. It's one of our librarians' favorite resources.

Excelsior OWL

The Excelsior Online Writing Lab is another librarian favorite resource for guidance with research, the writing process, and citations in MLA, APA, or CMOS (Chicago) style.