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Intellectual Property: Copyright, Fair Use, Permissions and Citations

Suggested Content for Primary Sources


What is a citation?

A citation collects most of the information necessary to identify a unique source. Citations communicate to your audience information on names, authorship, ownership, and publication of sources you use in your research project.


Why cite our sources?

  • Accurate and complete citations can help you, the author, keep track of the information you need to follow up on and develop your own research.

  • Accurate and complete citations can give your reader the information they need to verify and further explore the sources you have engaged in research, if they choose to do so.

How do we cite copyrighted sources?

  • Make sure that you have secured or confirmed permission for your use of the copyrighted work (as much as you can!).
  • Whenever possible, see if the author of the work has shared guidelines for how they would like their work to be attributed, and stick to these guidelines.
  • Cite the source in the format in which you are using and accessing the source, rather than in its original form (if that is distinct).
  • Make sure you are citing consistently---choose a style that works well with the particulars of your research. For guidelines on how to cite by citation style, see resources like Purdue OWL, and Cite Source.