Why citing sources is important
A good citation makes it easy for the reader to figure out who, what, when, and where of the source. In MLA style, a citation also often indicates how it was accessed.
The USMA Documentation of Academic Work is your source on what is required to be documented at USMA. In addition to the issued “Little Brown Handbook,” there are printed style guides available in the library, and online sources available to help you document your work.
How do I know what citation style to use?
Online Citation Guides
Online citation managers: With these tools you can collect book and article citations from the library catalog and databases. Then using a plugin for MS Word, you can insert those citations into your paper in the appropriate format. These citation managers are not perfect, but will give you a good start on created your works cited for an assignment.
Many tools have built-in citation generators. In EBSCOHost databases, for example, click on the title of an article, and look on the far right for the citation tool. The “Cite” link provides formatted citations in APA, MLA, and other common citation styles.
What is plagiarism?
"Plagiarism is the act of presenting someone else's words, ideas, or work - whether accidentally or deliberately - as your own work. Source material obtained from internet sources requires the same attentiveness to documentation as from all other sources. Every cadet scholar must properly document the sources of information and ideas received. When in doubt, a good rule is to document any assistance in question."
When can one use information without citations?
If the information is Common Knowledge a citation is not required. Some examples are:
When writing academic works know your audience; what may be common knowledge for a group of scientists, may not be known by a group of poets.
Tips for preventing Plagiarism
“Like soldiers in a just war, soldiers in a holy war were guiltless of the sin of murder (provided their motives were proper), but more than that, holy warriors could earn salvation by their actions.” Alfred J Andrea, Encyclopedia of the Crusades (United States: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003), 161.
By combining the concepts of the secular just war developed by the Romans, and the Old Testament holy wars fought to further God’s Divine Plan, the Crusades were seen by the medieval Christian West as both just and holy.
Andrea, Encyclopedia of the Crusades, 160-161.
When you put someone else’s thoughts and views on a topic in your own words, you’re paraphrasing.
Why paraphrase rather than quote from the original?
Tips for paraphrasing
Original: As helpful as the military orders were in shoring up the defenses of the crusader states, they were independent of any direct control by the lords and kings whom they assisted, and for that reason alone these same lords needed to create armies that they, and they alone, controlled.
Paraphrase: Lords and kings of the crusader states saw the need to call up armies reporting directly to them, given that military orders, while helpful, were totally independent.
Andrea, Encyclopedia of the Crusades, 212.