How to Cite Sources

In all of your papers for this course, you must cite your sources. This academic convention allows me to understand where you obtained information and how you used it. When you cite sources, I would like you to remember the following:


Quoting and the Obvious: Do not quote the obvious.

When to Use Quotations: Try to use quotations that capture important ideas in an especially efficient or memorable fashion. If the quotation does not discharge this function, frame the idea in your own words.

Quotation Marks: Place quotation marks around the quote and cite the source in a footnote.

Block Quotations: If the quotation takes up more than four lines, employ a block quotation. Block quotations differ from shorter quotations in the following manner.

Try to keep your use of block quotations to a minimum.

Context: If you are quoting a character in a novel or historical figure in a work of non-fiction, describe who it is and under what circumstances he made the statement.


Plagiarism is the equivalent of a hanging crime. In other words, you can do nothing worse than steal someone else's ideas without attribution and masquerade them as your own. If you plagiarize a book, an article, or a website, I will bring charges against you, and both of us will find ourselves involved in a thoroughly unpleasant process that involves the administration, the faculty, and your peers.

By this point in your academic career, you should be well acquainted with the rules governing plagiarism, but just in case you aren't, here's a brief recapitulation:

The web is an especially tempting source from which to plagiarize material. Let me warn you, however, that material stolen from the web is very easy to trace. In about two minutes, a number of very good and very fast search engines will allow me to find out if you've plagiarized from the web. So don't do it!


The following models come from Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2001). Although this book is not required reading for this class, I strongly recommend it, as it will help you become a better writer and improve your academic and professional skills.


1. Gary W. Gallagher, The Confederate War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1997), 27.

If there could possibly be an ambiguity as to the location of the publisher (it could be Cambridge, England for all we know), provide the state. Otherwise, leave the state out.

Subsequent References: If you cite the same source (Gallagher's Confederate War) in the next footnote, use Ibid. in the following manner:

2. Ibid., 29.

If you cite one or more sources before returning to Gallagher again, use the following abbreviated citation for Gallagher:

6. Gallagher, 56.

If it comes to pass that you end up citing two different books by Gallagher in the course of your paper, be sure to distinguish between the two of them by including an abbreviated version of the title, like so:

12. Gallagher, Confederate War, 34.

Two Authors:

15. David Dimbleby and David Reynolds, An Ocean Apart (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1988), 201.

Edited or Compiled Work without an Author: In this case, Kenneth Stampp is the editor.

17. Kenneth M. Stampp, ed., The Cause of the Civil War (New York: Touchstone, 1991), 94.

Multivolume Work:

19. James McPherson, The Civil War, vol. 2 of Ordeal by Fire (San Francisco: McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1982), 73.


21. Howard Jones, "History and Mythology: The Crisis over British Intervention in the Civil War," in The Union, the Confederacy, and the Atlantic Rim (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 1995), 33.


For an Article in a Journal: The "27" refers to the volume number; the number that appears after the colon refers to the page number.

23. P. M. Gurowich, "The Continuation of War by Other Means: Party and Politics, 1855-1865," The Historical Journal 27 (1984): 615.

If you cite the same article later, do the following:

25. Gurowich, 617.

Article in a Popular Magazine:

27. Bjorn Lomborg, "The Truth about the Environment," The Economist, August 4-10, 2001, 63.

Newspaper Article: You might not have all of this information at your disposal, but include as much of it as you can.

29. Larry LaRue, "Collapse! Mistakes by the lake cost 12-run lead," The News Tribune (Tacoma), August 6, 2001, sec. C, 1.

Old newspapers often do not provide such information, and citations for these sources can look as simple as this.

31. Standard (London), August 13, 1863, 5.


In this case, the webmaster, Dr. Schulenburg did not give a date indicating when he had posted this site, so that explains the "n.d." which stands for "no date." The date in parentheses at the end of the citation is the date you accessed the site.

33. Dr. A. H. Schulenburg, "The British Empire," n.d., < empirehist/history.htm> (August 6, 2001).

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Copyrighted by Hugh Dubrulle, 2008.