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Library 101: Reading Citations


Being able to interpret a citation can help you locate resources. They help you know if you should look in the library catalog for a book or in a database for an article.

Book citation generally include publication information including the publisher and place of publication.

Gilligan, Carol. 1982. In a different voice: Psychological theory and women's development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Conway, N., & Briner, R.B. (2005). Understanding psychological contracts at work: A critical evaluation of theory and research. New York: Oxford University Press.

Journal citations will have an article title as well the journal title which is usually in italics.  You’ll also find volume and issue number.  You may also see a DOI which should link to the article on the web. 

Fraga, Luis Ricardo, Kenneth Mejer, and Robert England. 1986. Hispanic Americans and educational policy: Limits to equal access. Journal of Politics 48:850-76.

Blackman, D.A., & Benson, A.M. (2010). The role of the psychological contract in managing research volunteer tourism. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 27, 221–235. doi:10.1080/10548401003744669

Chapters in books include the name of the book chapter as well the name of the book. You’ll also find publication information.  Some citation styles list the pages of the chapter and the editors of the book. 

Feagin, Joe, Heran Vera, and Nikitah Imani. 1996. Confronting white students: The whiteness of university spaces. In The agony of education, edited by Joe Feagin. New York: Routledge.

Weitzman, E.A. (2003). Software and qualitative research. In N.K. Denzin & Y.S. Lincoln (Eds.), Collecting and interpreting qualitative materials (pp. 310–339). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Help with citing

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) is a good place to go for information about citing sources and style formats.


Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is a permanent marker for digital information.  Because urls can change, DOIs offer stability so that information such as scholarly articles can always be found.  

Find information using a DOI by entering the DOI number into the Resolve a DOI website.

For scholarly articles this often takes you to a publisher's website.  If you are on campus and EMU has access, you will be able to get to the full-text content.  From off-campus you will not be able to access the full-text.

Search by periodical title to see what EMU has access to.