8 Tools that Make Citations a Breeze
“Be sure to cite your sources.” “Give credit where credit is due.”
“Don’t plagiarize.” It’s possible all teachers have said these things to
students. But what do those directives mean to students who, in all
reality, haven’t had to do much citing? What does it even mean to cite
your sources? The first step in the process is for students to
understand the purpose and importance of citations. We found this great
resource outlining that information from The Write Direction.
One of the co-authors of this piece, Jessica Steege, is a middle
school writing teacher. In her first year of teaching she did her best
to explain the importance of citing her work. But somewhere along the
way, the message got lost. When a student turned in a research project
citing just one source—www.google.com – she felt defeated and wondered
where she’d gone wrong.
She realized that teaching citations from a “handbook,” especially
one that would quickly become outdated, wasn’t the best way to teach her
tech savvy students. So she turned to electronic resources.
The Internet offers an abundance of online citation tools, from the
extremely easy to use, to ones that require more research on the part of
the user. We’d suggest teaching students about a few tools and let them
decide which one to use to help them successfully cite their research.
8 Tools that Make Citation a BreezeCheck out these 8 tech tools that will make citations and bibliographies manageable for students at any level.
1. EasyBib:Easybib is great to use with students because the site doesn’t
require you to create an account, but if you do, it will store all your
projects in one place, and you can add to it over time–if you are
using MLA. Using Chicago or APA style citation requires a paid
account. When you enter a book title on the site, many citation options
come up and you simply choose one. It’s a very intuitive tool, and there
are lots of cues along the way to help you out. EasyBib also offers an
app for iOS and Android for citing sources on the go, and although the
app is not connected to your account, it makes it easy to email the
proper citations to yourself. This site is best for students who are
new to citing sources in MLA format because it’s hard to mess up the
2. BibMe:Another user-friendly citation tool is BibMe; it works with many
source and formatting types. Once again, you type in the title of the
source material, and pick the correct one from a list of options. You
can copy and paste the generated citations right away, but you can’t
save bibliographies unless you pay for a Pro account. BibMe is great if
you are prepared to copy and paste your work into another document
while using the site. The site is best for students who are at least
familiar with bibliographies, as they still might require some guidance.
3. Otto BibOttoBib creates citations from ISBNs. Users can enter more than one
ISBN at a time. It also comes a simple Google Chrome extension.
Although the site is super easy to use, there are a few downfalls. It’s
only good for books with clearly visible ISBNs. OttoBib is best for
students only using books for their sources.
such citations with just a click of a button. Researchers can type in
the name of their source and pick one from a list that matches what they
need. The only downside is that you can’t create an account, so you
have to copy and paste your citation while using the site. Citation
Machine is best for students who have all their sources ready to go–
they can put all of the entries in at once and save or print right away.
cite” if you have the full title of the source, or you can manually add
a source. Without signing up for an account, your bibliography will be
saved for a week before it disappears. A paid account will also let you
check for plagiarism. This site also features a “share with group”
button for group projects. A Google Chrome extension is available, if
that’s your thing. This site is great for teachers who want to show
their students an easy way to cite their work.
6. CiteFastCiteFast is, indeed, fast. It’s also simple to use. Without leaving
the homepage, students can cite works in APA, MLA, and Chicago style.
The website walks you through two steps and creates the bibliography in
the third step. The fourth step allows you to copy and paste the
bibliography or to download it. Students can also create an account to
save their bibliographies. Otherwise, documents will be saved for four
days. CiteFast is best for students who are first-time bibliography
probably already using Google Docs for their writing. However, this
method will require more work for you and your students. Some of the
templates are charts that students can use to gather the correct
information, and others are examples of bibliographies that others have
compiled. If you have students find their own template, you might need
to check first that they have selected the proper style. The Google Docs
templates are best for teachers who want students to really learn the
nuts and bolts of compiling a bibliography.
8. NoodleToolsThis site offers encyclopedic information on citations, helping
students reference video clips, maps, musical scores, and nearly
everything else. Some of the features require a subscription, which also
comes with iOS and Android apps. But students can create individual
citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago style for free and then paste those
into their documents. As students fill in each field to create a
citation, NoodleTools provides windows with more guidance. NoodleTools
is best for students using unconventional sources.
Which is the Best for Your Students?All students need to know how to properly cite their sources. Each
website or tool offers a variety of help and accommodations. Some sites
will do most of the work for student while others require a little more
understanding of the citation process. It’s important to tell students
to cite everything. You may want to consider using one of the plagiarism detection tools that are available to show students how their work can be verified.
The tool that will work best for your students depends on what
they’ll be researching and what format fits their research. Whatever the
case, citing sources is a lesson students will continue to use in
college and beyond.
Editor’s note: This article was originally written by Katie Lepi
and ran on November 5th, 2012. We had two of our seasoned writers,
Jessica Steege and Sarah Muthler, revise and update this article with all of the latest and greatest tools that have been developed since then.
8 Tools that Make Citations a Breeze | Edudemic