Citation Guide

A citation is a note in a publication, such as a book, article, or website, that points readers to the source of the information being presented. There are a variety of citation styles, and you should contact your publisher or professor to find what citation style you are expected to use. If they do not require a specific style—or if you are self-publishing—then you have many options. The Chicago Manual of Style is a good option, since that is the style typically used by publications that publish historical research.

To help you prepare citations in the same style as the Church, the Church History Catalog features a citation generation tool. To see the citation for a source you have found in the catalog, click on “Copy Citation” in the upper right-hand corner of the “About the Collection” view, which will display the citation in its own window. These are generated using a modified form of Chicago style.

Part of a record in the Church History Catalog. Note the citation generation link (“Copy Citation”) in the upper-right corner.

Note-Taking While Researching

Good citations—and good research—come from thorough note-taking. Thus, while all citation guidelines require common elements, such as author, title, and date of publication, it is also helpful to record the following information in your personal notes. Even if this information is not used in a citation, it can be useful for other purposes, such as double-checking sources:

  • Call number: this is not to be included in the citation, but it should be collected for your own notes.
  • Box, folder, and/or reel number: if your source has such information, please make note of it as well.
  • Hyperlink to the particular item in the Church History Catalog.

Another section of a record in the Church History Catalog. Note the box and folder number listed in the upper-left corner.

Occasionally, you will come across a project or series that has a preferred citation. For example, the Joseph Smith Papers has a page containing guidelines for referencing the project and the printed volumes and a guide for citing a document on the website. Be aware, however, that you may need to adapt the citation somewhat depending on the particular citation style you are using.

Helpful Links

The following are provided as resources to assist in understanding and using citation styles. These sites and their content are neither hosted nor endorsed by the Church.

This is the official website of the Chicago Manual of Style, published by the University of Chicago. Its sample citations guide provides help with basic citation needs. A paid subscription is required to access the full content.

This is the official website of the American Psychological Association’s style guide. Some basic guidelines are provided, and the full manual can be purchased in various formats through the site.

This is the official website of the Modern Language Association’s style guide. Some basic guidelines are provided, and the full manual can be purchased as a print copy or e-book through the site.

Hosted by Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts, this site provides numerous resources on various citation styles.