Where Does the Comma Go? Or, Citation Management Support at Western Libraries - Fall 2014

Accessible Version

by Kim McPhee, Teaching & Learning Librarian, Western Libraries

How do I keep track of all the papers I’ve been reading? Should I use APA or MLA style for my paper? Why do you keep talking about plagiarism? These are just some of the citation management-related questions that you likely hear from your students each term. How do you answer them? Western Libraries is ready to help.

Citation Management Systems

There are many citation management software options available to you and your students. Some of these are freely available while others require a paid subscription. Check out this handy comparison chart available at https://www.lib.uwo.ca/services/comparingcitationmanagementservices.html

Western Libraries has had a RefWorks subscription for the past ten years; however, Western will no longer have access to RefWorks after August 2015 when the Canadian server is scheduled to be shutdown. If you are an active RefWorks user, do not despair. You will be contacted with information about selecting an alternative system and migrating your data before August 2015. Also, library staff will be discouraging students from creating new RefWorks accounts and instead teaching about the various available citation management systems.

Which Style?

Depending on your discipline, the answer to the above question is either simple or vague. If you are in a discipline that relies on a sole citation style, your students are in luck. You can easily point them to the relevant style guide and they are ready to cite all of their research resources. If, on the other hand, you tend to ask students to “pick a style and stick with it” your students might find themselves struggling. If you are part of this latter group, I recommend choosing a particular style and asking students to use it for your course. In this way, they can avoid floundering and it makes your marking easier as all papers are consistently formatted.


Western Libraries staff are prepared and happy to teach your students about the importance and mechanics of academic integrity. Students know, or at least we think they know, about the requirements to cite their sources. However, they often do not know the fine details of academic integrity such as appropriate paraphrasing. We can work with you and your students to ensure that no one commits inadvertent plagiarism and potentially suffer the consequences many years after graduating. As you head into the fall term and start your students on their research paths, please be sure to include Western Libraries in your toolkit of citation management resources.

Kim McPhee is Acting Teaching & Learning Librarian until Tom Adam returns in 2015 from his role as Copyright Advisor to the Provost.