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Music History 2020

a guide for students in music classes, created by librarian Maryke Barber

What is a Citation?

A citation provides the reader with information about your sources, to help the reader find them. Citations usually include such elements as:

  • title
  • author
  • who published it
  • where and when was it published

This is MLA style citation:


Book example: 

Friedman, Alice T. Women and the Making of the Modern House : a Social and Architectural History. Abrams, 1998.


Formula for a Book:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. City of Publication, Publisher, Publication Date.


(*Note: the City of Publication should only be used if the book was published before 1900, if the publisher has offices in more than one country, or if the publisher is unknown outside North America.)


Article from a database:

Fowler, Bridget, and Fiona Wilson. “Women Architects and Their Discontents.” Sociology, vol. 38, no. 1, 2004, pp. 101–119. JSTOR,


Formula for an article from a database (two authors):

Last Name, First Name and First Name Last Name"Title of Article." Title of Journal, vol ##, no. ##, year, pp. ###-###. Database Name, DOI (if available) or stable URL.

When to Cite

You should cite when:

  • You use or describe specific information you have taken from a source:
    (as Andrea del Verrocio's pupil Leonardo da Vinci studied in a collaborative environment, sometimes even working with Verrocio himself (Shneiderman, 112).)

  • You refer to a theory or idea from a source:
    (Shneiderman believes that collaborative learning increases positive outcomes(224).

  • You  include any image (picture, table, graph) from a source.

You don't need to cite when:

  • The information you use is common knowledge
    (There are two types of elephants, Asian and African).

  • The information you use can be easily found and verified by most people
    (Abraham Lincoln was 56 years old when he was assassinated) 

Still not sure? Check out this page on how to avoid plagiarism


  • provide citation information for each of your sources
  • summarize the source
  • evaluate the source
  • explain how the source contributes to your research

Tips for Annotating Sources

Annotations are a way for you to organize your thoughts about your research; they are also a way for others to see the direction you are taking and enter into a conversation with you about the importance of your ideas!

Annotation Elements:

NOTE: Not all annotations are the same! Ask your professor which of these elements are most important for your assignment, and whether there are other elements you should include, for example:

  • How you found the source
  • How the source relates to your project
  • How well the source helps you make your argument