Research Help

Research Guides

The library uses Libguides to provide our patrons with the subject guides, the best place to begin your research. Each subject guide lists the best books, reference works, journals, databases, websites and other works in selected subject areas. All the items in each guide have been selected by a library knowledgeable in that subject area.

Currently subject guides in these areas are available:

Citation Guides

"If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants."

Sir Issac Newton

What is a Citation?

A citation is information about a publication (book, article, etc.) that you have used and referred to in your research and writing. Different academic disciplines and fields use different citation formats. Some common citation formats for the following fields include:

  • Engineering: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE); Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
  • Mathematics: American Mathematical Society (AMS); Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)
  • General: American Psychological Association (APA); Chicago Manual of Style; Modern Language Association (MLA).

Why Are Citations Necessary?

Citations give credit for ideas that are not your own.

Using someone’s words or ideas without acknowledgement is plagiarism. Plagiarism is the same as stealing, and it is illegal. You can be expelled from school, or loose your job if you are caught plagiarizing.

Please click here for a great interactive tutorial about plagiarism and how to avoid it.

Citations support your own ideas and statements with facts.

Your statements are considered only as opinions if you do not back them up with facts. Listing citations adds credibility to your work.

You do not have to cite well known facts or information. Such general or well known information can be found in ALL materials on the subject, and it is not documented in those materials when the subject is discussed. Example: Some of the major oil producing countries in the Gulf are the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait.

Example: The United Arab Emirates constitution was adopted at independence on 2 December 1971, forming the country with seven member Emirates. The Constitution became permanent in 1996.

Citations allow other people to review, access and verify your sources.

Whether in school or in your job, your teachers or professional peers will want to make sure that your sources are proper and legitimate.

Providing citations shows what kind sources are available on a certain subject. Other people can then also use those sources for their own research.

Citation Style Guides


  • IEEE Editorial Style Manual (PDF) - The official and complete IEEE citation style manual from the IEEE website.
  • SPE Publications Style Guide (PDF) - The booklet includes guidelines on customary abbreviations for engineering units; numbering of references, figures, tables, equations, and appendices; language usage; nomenclatures and reference lists; and punctuation. Section 8.8 specifically covers references/citations.


  • AMS Author Resources - This online guide from AMS gives you information about the entire process of creating a document for publication within AMS. In the "Writing the Paper" section you can find basic instructions for writing references according to AMS.
  • SIAM (PDF) - This document is a chapter from SIAM's journal style manual. It covers both citations and references.