In writing it’s important to give credit to authors whose works were used in the production of work currently being developed to avoid becoming a plagiarist.
Since the time that the first written words were placed upon a page the problem of having another person claim that work as their own has existed. Some authors failed to see that taking another person’s ideas or words as their own is a form of stealing, plagiarism.
Even in cases where the user of the ideas of another and perhaps the original author’s words in a short excerpt posed problems. This problem was exacerbated, particularly in research, where the paper or essay writer who had incorporated another’s word or ideas did not adequately point the reader to the original referenced work. This resulted in the inability of the reader to follow through on the full exposition of the work or ideas of the included work.
A bibliography, as it was originally conceived, was a systematic listing of books owing to the origins of the word itself to the Greek words meaning “book writing”. Now can be generalized to mean the systematic classification of any reference materials: books, journals, audio, and video media, and web content Bibliographic systems as formalized created a way to compartmentalize information based on the subject.
Formal bibliographic systems permitted easier access to material for retrieval based on relevance. Bibliographic systems also contained information about the source which made it easier to reference work in a succinct format.
A citation is an abbreviated way of incorporating an acknowledged work. It acts as a pointer to the reference or bibliographic information. Citations and their reference entries are connected elements of giving in properly acknowledging another’s work.
Citations serve as a means of acknowledging the referenced work at the point at which it is incorporated into the body of the work using it. The reference pointed to by the citation provides the material elements necessary to locate the work.
The Modern Languages Association was founded in 1883 and one of their major contributions has been to create a formalized system for documenting writing which is widely used in the humanities. Colleges and universities commonly use the MLA format in teaching the formal system of documenting writing. Of course, some students or researches prefer to use special services and ask them to “write an essay for me” or something like that to fulfill their tasks. However, the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is often one of the “must-have” books for an incoming freshman.
As not all forms of writing require the same detail other systems have been developed. Among the other, widely used systems are the such as the Harvard (known as the Bluebook), Chicago, American Sociological Association (ASA), American Psychological Association (APA), and others which are tailored to the specific needs of the type of writing unique to their discipline.
Although the syntax may vary among the various styles understanding citations should not be an undaunting task if one were, for example, accustomed to the MLA style and then asked to produce a work in another style. Certain elements citing or referencing a work are common such as author, title, date of publication to name a few.
Most of the widely used citation and reference formats have published guides with examples to help an author adhere to the style required.
Computer aids are available where the essay writer can input certain information and the aid will help guide the writer through the process. As many of these tools are relatively new, it is often best to check the citation or reference produced with the reference guide for the desired style.
With proper citation and referencing an author can escape the stigma and shame of having any of their written works being considered plagiarized.