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Citing sources: Citation style guides

Manage your references

Use these tools to help you organize and cite your references:

Choosing a style

Because there is no one standard citation style used at MIT:

  • Ask your professor or TA which style s/he prefers for the course.
  • Consult a style guide for examples of using various citation styles to create in-text citations, bibliographies and reference lists, or use citation software to assist you in tracking sources used and building in-text citations and bibliographies.
  • Use a standard style, such as APA, and be consistent with it throughout your paper.
  • Ask for citation and paper-writing assistance at the MIT Writing and Communication Center.

Style guides to consult

Academic organizations and some disciplines outline their own styles of how to cite sources and format research papers.  You may have heard of or used some of the styles before.   


Consult these print and online style guides for examples of citing sources in the text of your paper and in a bibliography or reference list.  See also information about citation software packages supported by the MIT Libraries.


MLA: Modern Language Association [Humanities]

 APA: American Psychological Association [Social Sciences]

 CMS: Chicago Manual of Style [various subjects]

 ACS: American Chemical Society

  • ACS Style Guide - Hayden Library Reserve Stacks, QD8.5.A25
  • ACS Style Guidelines (online from UW-Madison Libraries, providing examples for citing references in the text and the bibliography of a research paper)

CSE: Council of Science Editors

 IEEE: Institute of Electronics & Electrical Engineers

 NLM: National Library of Medicine or AMA: American Medical Association

Various styles - the following resources provide examples of citing sources in several styles

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