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How to Write a Reference

Resources for writing references, access to Style Guides.

Most Commonly Used Style Guides at USciences

Which one should you choose? Check with your instructor.
Science, social science, and humanities disciplines use different sets of rules when publishing and referencing sources. These rules are created by professional associations and are outlined in Style Guides or Manuals of Style. 

Below is a list of the most commonly used Style Guides at USciences. The fictitious article Can Falls Be Prevented? by Humpty Dumpty serves as the example source for citing a single-author journal article in each style.

American Chemical Society (ACS)
The ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication provides guidance on all aspects of preparing and disseminating scientific articles and other publications.  For information on citing sources, section 4.3, References.

Example: Dumpty, H. Can Falls Be Prevented? J. Ovoid Stud. 1998, 55 (1), 8-13. DOI: 00.0000/dumpty47.


American Physical Society (APS)
The APS Style Guide directs users to use the Chicago Manual of Style with a few exceptions.  The Physical Review Style and Notation Guide provides guidance on aspects of preparing and disseminating scientific articles and other publications. 
See the Citing Your Sources box on our Physics Guide for more on citing sources in the Physics discipline 

Example: H. Dumpty, J. Ovoid Stud. 55, 8 (1998).


American Medical Association (AMA)
AMA Manual of Style, 11th ed., is available online to several users at a time.  If you see a message that the simultaneous user limit has been exceeded, no more users may log on. Please wait and try again later.  

Example:  Dumpty HT. Can falls be prevented? J Ovoid Stud. 1998;55(1):8-13.  doi:00.0000/dumpty47


American Psychological Association (APA)
The sixth and seventh editions of the APA Publication Manual are available on reserve at the Circulation Desk. The sixth edition’s blog has rules and guidance for citing a variety of online and other resources in sixth edition. APA Style provides examples and guidance for citing in 7th edition. 

Example: Dumpty, H.T. (2015). Can falls be prevented? Journal of Ovoid Studies, 55 (1), 8-13. https://doi.org/00.0000/dumpty47


Citing Medicine (National Library of Medicine (NLM)
Citing Medicine, 2nd edition is available free online.  Download A Guide to Website and Webpage Citations Using Citing Medicine (a handout produced by the J.W. England Library).

Example: Dumpty HT. Can falls be prevented? J Ovoid Stud. 1998 Jan;55(1):8-13.


Council of Science Editors (CSE)

The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors and Publishers provides guidance for publishing in the Sciences. 

Example: Dumpty HT. 1998. Can falls be prevented? J Ovoid Studies. 55(1):8-13. 


Modern Language Association (MLA)

 MLA Style Center provides a quick guide to citing sources in MLA format. 

Example: Dumpty, Hum T. "Can Falls Be Prevented?" Journal of Ovoid Studies 55.1 (1998): 8-13.


Style manuals for ACS, AMA, APA, CSE, and MLA are available in the Library. The Writing Center also has many style manuals. You may ask for help creating a reference at the Library's Reference Desk, or Ask A Librarian online.