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Citing Electronic Resources

Is it okay to copy information such as words and pictures from the Internet?
How do I cite technology sources that I use in my report?
What are some options for citing sources in a multimedia project?

writeRegardless of whether the source is a website, an email communication, or a PowerPoint presentation, students need to cite their source.

Just as there are many guidelines for citing books, there are many organizations who have developed rules for Internet citations. The key is consistency. Select a format that is easy for students to use and contains the basic elements needed to locate that source. Particularly on web-based documents, it's not always easy to identify an author or the original copyrighted work. Just do your best to give credit for the words, images, and ideas.

When to Cite and Why to Cite

Although the right to receive credit is not part of the copyright law, the Right of Attribution is an important custom that supports the efforts of creators.

Before you cite a source such as an encyclopedia or Wikipedia, ask yourself: is there a better source for this information that may be more exact or reliable? When possible, go to the original source. If Wikipedia states the population of Alberta, Canada, see if you can locate the original census data. In many cases, a citation to the original course will be provided.

If you plan to cite a rapidly changing website such as Wikipedia, be sure to follow Wikipedia's guidelines for citing sources.

Online Resources

Use the following resources as you develop a strategy for helping young people cite resources.

Online Citation Tools

These resources automate the process of creating a citation. In most cases, students copy and paste the citation they build into their bibliography or reference list.

Citation Styles

Use the following resources to learn about the different citations styles.

Citing Work in Your Project

Whether you summarize, paraphrase, or quote an article, website, interview, photo, or other materials in your project, you need to give credit to the author. The following resources will help you in this process.

Source Information

Before you can cite a source, you need to understand the various sources of information. Use these resources to help identify sources, their use and how to acknowledge them.

Teacher Resources on Citing Sources

As you design lessons and project guidelines, consider the skills that students already have related to citing sources. What can you add to their understanding? Stress the importance of acknowleding the work of others. Many school districts and organizations provide quality resources to help students understand the process of citing resources as well as the importance of this activity.

Rather than viewing citing resources as a separate lesson or assignment, seek ways to integrate this activity into the inquiry process.

Create a Handout
Using ideas in the resources provided, create your own worksheet to help students in citing resources. Include the level of detail needed for your students. Be sure to provide examples. Finally, cite the sources you used in creating the handout.

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