Most students are familiar with at least one or two citation styles – perhaps you have used MLA format in the past, or have some experience using Chicago style. There are actually thousands of citation styles. They typically contain most of the same information, but they each present citation information a little bit differently. Some citation formats include the author’s full name, while others use only initials. Some citation formats use title case, meaning they capitalize the first letter of every word; other citation formats use sentence case, in which they only capitalize the first letter of the sentence and any proper nouns. There are many subtle formatting differences between citation styles, and it takes careful attention to detail to ensure that you have each of your citations formatted correctly.
In the following sections, you’ll find a set of examples to get you started using two common citation styles: American Psychological Association, or APA, format, and Modern Languages Association, or MLA, format. These sections are not intended to be a citation manual for either citation style. For in-depth questions, consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association or the MLA Handbook