Citing your sources

Bookcase with reference sources; to illustrate the "Cite your sources" page.

Citing your sources involves acknowledging other researchers’ work and providing correct attribution in your source citations or bibliography. Best practices in research including giving credit where it is due, and citing your sources correctly are hallmarks of rigorous research standards and collegial courtesy.

However, giving credit is not the same as observing copyright or other forms of ethical use of information. Please also refer to the section, Copyright notice and when in doubt, use the Contact form to forward requests for permission to use from the editor of Arborealis.

If you have obtained permission to use information from the editor of Arborealis, then:

  1. the name of the document;
  2. the date that the document was issued, and where it was issued;
  3. the name of the issuer;
  4. the essential details reported in the document (name, place, date, &c.);
  5. any reference number of unique identifier printed on or otherwise issued with the document;
  6. the date on which you received a copy or transcript of the document; and,
  7. if applicable, the name of the transcriber, and the name of the book, website, or other medium from or to which the transcriber published the transcript.

For example, the following would be an apppropriate source note or bibliographical reference for an English death certificate:

Certified Copy of an Entry of Death, given at the General Register Office, England, 19 September 2008. Extract: James Dickson, died 14 December 1888, at Barnet, age 52 years, cause of death: phthisis, informant: Ann Barton. Registration district: Barnet, in the counties of Hertford and Middlesex; application no. 537007-1, registration no. DYC 071829. Transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick, and posted online to Arborealis (accessed 28 June 2014).

Source citation for this page: — Kilpatrick, Alison. “Citing your sources.” Published to Arborealis, online at, accessed [insert date of access].

See also: — “Chapter 9. Citations and Referencing.” Writing for Success. 1st Canadian Edition. Online at BCcampus Open Textbooks (accessed 2021-01-19).