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MUSIC: How to Cite Your Sources

An introduction to music research for University of Redlands students

This page will help you...

  • Understand why you need to cite your sources
  • Find online and physical library citation style guides
  • Access a free, open source citation management tool

Citing Sources

What Citations Reveal & How They Impact Us

"When you cite a source, you show how your voice enters into an intellectual conversation and you demonstrate your link to the community within which you work. Working with sources can inspire your own ideas and enrich them, and your citation of these sources is the visible trace of that debt." (Yale College Writing Center)

When you cite a source you also reveal whose voices and thoughts are included in these intellectual conversations. Thus, who you read and what you cite can help strengthen diversity and equity in scholarship.

 

Why Cite?

To Connect Ideas   |   To Acknowledge a Community of Contributors   |   To Read & Cite Inclusively

Featured style guide

Additional online citation guides

When citing scores, images, recordings and other less-traditional sources, start with the style recommended by your professor. Determine what rules pertain to your situation and adapt them as necessary. If the information provider has specified how they want their source cited, try to follow those instructions. These online guides to citing specific information formats may help:

Recommended citation helper

Zotero

Zotero is a free, open source citation management program maintained by the nonprofit Corporation for Digital Scholarship.

Designed for students and scholars, Zotero makes collecting, managing and citing sources easier.

The software consists of three parts:

  • A browser plugin that you click to collect citations from a library catalog, database or website
  • A database to store and manage your citations
  • Icons in your word processor that you click to insert a citation or works cited list.

Like any citation management program, Zotero is not perfect. It knows enough about citation styles to give you a good first draft of your citatoin sand works cited list. However, it relies on information found in databases and websites which are not always accurate.

I recommend that you double-check citations and works cited lists created with Zotero against the official style guide. Make sure you know the type of source you are trying to cite and check the capitalization and punctuation carefully.

Armacost Library has created this guide to help you learn to use Zotero:

Key points

  • Citing sources lets you indicate whose ideas your own work draws upon, and give those individuals credit for their contributions.
  • The MLA style guide is only available in the physical library. If you're not able to access it, try an online guide to MLA style.
  • Zotero is a free, open source tool you can use to manage your citations.

See the "Using information ethically" chapter in the Introduction to Library Research in the Arts to learn more about ethical research practices, including inclusive citing practices and bibliodiversity.