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Citing Sources in APA 7

A quick guide to help you cite sources in APA 7.

Using Database Citations

Most library databases have a handy tool where you can retrieve the APA (or MLA) citation for articles and resources.

Look for a button that says Cite or Citation or an icon that looks like one of these options below:

citation button in EBSCO    citation button in Gale    Citation button in Credo       Cite button in Britannica

These tools give you the option to copy and paste from the database into your paper, but remember that these aren't always 100% correct, so it pays to double check!

Check your Citations

APA 7 Handbook - Decorative Even though the database citation tools can be very handy and help you collect the information you need about a source, always double-check your database citations!

Use the links below as examples for comparison. 

APA 7 - Example Citations

APA 7 - Quick Guidelines 

APA 7 - General Format - OWL Purdue

Correcting Common Errors

Database Citations

Although most library databases provide citations that you can copy and paste into your assignment, these citations are not always 100% correct. As the author of your own work, you must correct any errors that appear in the database citations, and correct any formatting that gets lost when you paste it into your assignment. This guide is a tool you can use to compare the database citations to make sure they are correct.

Common Errors in Database Citations and Copy/Pasting

1. Incorrect Capitalization

Some APA citations in databases may be incorrect, particularly with regard to capitalization.

  • The author name should be in normal case with the last name appearing first and the first name abbreviated to the first initial

For example: Doe, J.

  • Only the first letter of the first word in the title of the book or article (or the subtitle, unless a word is a proper noun, such as Wisconsin) should be in caps with the remaining letters in all words, in lowercase. This is called sentence case. 

For example: This that or the other thing: reflections on the state of Wisconsin.

  • The periodical title should appear in title case, with the first word and all major words are capitalized (basically everything except words with three letters or fewer). This should also be in italics. 

For example: Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology.

2. Pasting Errors 
  • Gray Background - When pasting from some databases, you may notice the gray background is pasted along with the text of the citation. This occurs when you use the left Paste Option in Microsoft Word or the command keys CTRL-V (or CMD-V, if a Mac) to paste. To avoid this, use the middle or far right Paste Options. On a Mac, hover over the citation, and a little clipboard will appear. Choose "Paste Text Only."
  • Missing Italics - Often when pasting a citation into a Word or Google document, the italics will revert to regular type. Go into your pasted citation and add the italics back in. The title of the source (name of a book, newspaper, magazine or journal)  must be in italics.

General Notes

  • Indent your citation beginning on the second line, and for each line after. This is known as a "hanging indent." 
  • Database articles must have either a URL, or a "doi" number in place of a URL.
  • When you set up your References list be sure to double-space the citation for correct APA format.

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