Skip to Main Content
Skip to main content

Government Information - Canada: Manage References

Citing Government Documents


Citation Style

There are many different citation styles. APA, Chicago, and MLA are some of the more common examples.  If you don't know which style you are supposed to use, ask your instructor. There are manuals/guides and web sites that can help you format your references.

Check the citation guides to find an example that looks at your particular situation. Books, journal articles, and other media are all cited slightly differently. Just follow the format of the examples.

Managing References

Efficient management of references is one of the best defences against plagiarism. In addition, efficient management of references is an aid to productivity.

There are several different online tools that help manage references, citations and notes. These typically have a somewhat stiff learning curve and are not very useful for papers and reports with just a few citations.

The databases you are using will typically generate citations for you in the appropriate style (APA, Chicago or other).

It is sometimes not obvious where the command to create a citation is located on a database screen. Sometimes it is towards the top, sometimes it is on the side. Sometimes you have to highlight a citation/abstract to see the command. Sometimes the journal site offers a tool to create citations. This is irritating but you will know that in almost all cases that command is somewhere! Stick with it. This feature can save a lot of typing and time.

A quick and powerful technique is to use the Copy and Paste features of Word. Copy your citation(s) after the database has generated them. Then paste the citations into your working notes. At the bottom of the pasted text is a little box. Click on the box and choose the Keep Text Only option. Selecting this option flushes a lot of hidden characteristics out of the pasted text and will ensure that the citations will adopt the font and margins of your essay or report.

Most databases also offer you the option of emailing the citation(s) to yourself. If this option works for you, great. You can then copy and paste them from the email into your working notes and list of references.

You can also use citation management tools which allow you to import references/citations from online databases, organize them into topic folders, insert them in a variety of citation style formats (e.g. APA and MLA) into the body of your research paper, and then generate formatted reference lists.

HINT: It is often necessary to do a bit of clean-up work on each citation to ensure that it is consistent with the others in the paper. A paper or report with inconsistently formatted citations looks careless and unprofessional and reflects badly on your work.