Citing Sources: Give credit where credit is due.

The following is a guest post by Vanessa, Editorial Manager at eZine. I frequently use other sources when researching and writing blog posts, especially on my genealogy blog, Empty Nest Genealogy. Although I make every effort to adequately cite my soures, there is always room for improvement. This article is very detailed and I learned where I’m doing well, and where my source citations could use some improvement. Posting this article is rather self-serving as I intend to use it as a reference and reminder for myself whenever necessary.


How to cite sources.How to Properly Cite Your Sources

Originality is critical to your success. In article writing, it’s important to prove your originality and credibility in your articles with your own primary information. Although quotations are not entirely unheard of in articles, quotations can provide emphasis or support to your topic and your original ideas.

If you decide to use quotes, don’t overdo it! Prove your status as an expert in your niche by limiting quotations to no more than 5 lines (total) of quoted material in an article and give credit where credit is due by properly citing your sources using these tips.

Source Validity Is Taken Very Seriously

You must be the original source of your articles. If we find content you’ve submitted matches content found elsewhere, we will search for your association with that content. No connection? We will have a serious problem. However, if you properly cite (or quote) content that is not original to you, then the quotes may help support your original ideas!

Recall you’re allowed no more than 5 lines of quoted material. The quotes you provide may not be counted toward the word count during editorial review. Ensure your original content (i.e., your words and ideas) still meets the minimum guideline of 400 words. Determine whether the quote is necessary by searching your own experiences and your own original evidence.

Next, check out these terms:

  • Source: The origin from which something came. On the web, this is often indicated that the content came from a particular website URL. For example, should anyone copy your work published on EzineArticles, an Article Source attribution line will automatically appear with a link to your EzineArticles Expert Author profile page wherever the content is pasted.
  • Citation: A reference to the source in text. For example: All too often, a sentence will appear riddled with the ellipsis. “The ellipsis is the black hole of the punctuation universe …” (p. 165) said Lynn Truss in Eats, Shoots, & Leaves.
  • Reference: The information providing the details of the original source, e.g., “Works Cited,” that appears at the end of an article.

How to Cite Your Sources

Some common sources, such as Wikipedia or, do not require a formal citation or reference. These can easily be provided by utilizing introductions like “according to Wikipedia” or “ states” in your article.

Also, articles from popular magazines, websites, and blogs are acceptable to be cited in text (author name, publication, and date) without a formal reference. For example: As John Smith noted in the Popular Magazine article on July 27, 2012 …

Next, for uncommon references, there are a great variety of style guides, i.e., MLA, APA, Chicago, etc. Find one that suits you and your audience and stick with it.

Here are the three examples of Works Cited in Chicago style:

Book with One Author

Author Name, Title of Book (City of Publication: Publisher Name, Year of Publication), page(s) referenced.

Linda Truss. Eats, Shoots & Leaves (New York: Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2003), 165.

Article From a Magazine

Author Name, “Magazine Article Title,” Magazine Title, Month Day, Year of the article.

John Smith, “The End of Proper Grammar Is Near,” Grammar Weekly, August 7, 2012.


If possible determine the content’s author and lead with it; otherwise, lead with the organization or brand name, the page title, the site title, and collect the URL.

Christopher Knight, “Article Writing Strategies To Get Into Zen Flow – 7 Tips.”

Give credit where credit is due by properly respecting your source’s originality. Use these quotation tips when writing your next set of articles to uphold your credibility. And remember to search your own experience before you quote to leverage your credibility and originality.

Photo credit:
photo credit: campra via photopin cc

Vanessa, Editorial Manager, “How to Properly Cite Your Sources.”

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