Skip to Main Content

Research Fundamentals Tutorial

Citation tools

Quotation Marks by David from the Noun ProjectWhen you're putting together your citation list, you may want to explore some of the tools designed to make the process faster and easier. These include:

  • Database citation generators
  • Web-based citation generators
  • Citation managers

Each of these provides computer-generated citations. These can be handy to copy and paste into your paper or presentation, but it's important to remember that you must check them against a citation guide to make sure they're formatted correctly. And don't forget, librarians are always available to help.

Creating citations in databases

In Module 3 we explored some databases, which included using the tools for creating citations.

Almost every databases includes tools for creating citations to individual articles. Whenever you're looking at an article in a database, look around the edges of the browser window for citation tools.

Online citation generators

There are many useful online tools to help you create citations, including EasyBib, Citation Machine, BibMe, and more. The tools rely on their users to select the correct type of source they're citing and enter information about the publication. That means if you put the wrong information in, they will spit the wrong information out, and your citation will be incorrect. 

Citation managers

Citation managers are programs that allow you to collect information about many different sources that you've found in your research. These programs help you organize your sources by topic, author, date, etc. Citation managers can also use the information about the articles in your account to create citation lists. 

In general, for 100 and 200 level college research projects, citation managers may be more of a headache than a help. They require training and regular upkeep to maintain their usefulness. It's probably faster and easier to create your citation lists by other means, like using database and online citation generators and using citation guides for guidance.

If you're interested in exploring citation managers, the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University has developed a free and well-respected program called Zotero

If you transfer to a four year school, you may have access to other citation managers like EndNote or RefWorks. 


Librarians are your best resource for getting your citations right. Bring a draft of your citation page to the Learning Commons, or contact a librarian, and we'll be happy to look it over with you.

Image: Quotation Marks by David from the Noun Project