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4 Great Online Citation Tools For Students (for MLA, APA, or Chicago Manual of Style citation styles)

by Kelly Walsh on November 30, 2011


Guest post by Johnamarie Macias

This time of year, many students are knee-deep in writing papers and other assignments that may require citing sources. One thing is for sure: few students enjoy creating citations in the required citation styles. However, there are tools out there that can help students understand the breakdown of citations.

Citation Site Logos


Following are several online citation builders that are geared towards helping students with the main academic citation styles: American Psychological Association (APA), Modern Language Association (MLA), and Chicago Manual of Style. Even though these online citation builders have been developed to provide consistent citations with the rules set out by the citation style guides, users are ultimately responsible for the citations and should be sure to proofread them for accuracy.

The Son of Citation Machine is a great aid for writing a research papers and assignments. Established in 2000, the site lets the individual choose the citation style (MLA, APA, etc.). Next, the individual chooses the type of source: book, journal, magazine, website, and various other types. After filling out the appropriate fields based on citation standards and submitting the form, the individual conveniently gets the bibliographic citation and in-text citation.

North Carolina State University (NCSU) Libraries developed the Citation Builder. The Citation Builder does citations for books, chapters or essays from books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, journal articles, and web sites. After filling out a form, only the bibliographic citation is provided.

KnightCite is maintained by the Hekman Library at Calvin College, Michigan. The service was created in 2004 and is available to members within and outside of the Calvin community. It generates bibliographic citations for MLA, APA and the Chicago Manual of Style, and it cites a variety of materials ranging from sacred texts to cartoons.

Lastly, BibMe is a free auto-fill bibliographic generator that will format your bibliography to the main citation styles. It uses a search engine powered by World Cat to automatically produce the citation of a book and the engine also gathers basic information for other source types.


If you have other great citation apps you like to use, please comment and share them with other readers.

In closing, another reminder that it is important for students and scholars to remember that although these tools create the bibliographic citation, it is essential to review the accuracy of the citation before incorporating it into your research paper or assignment. Best of luck in your academic undertakings!

Edublogs Awards Nomination: Hey EmergingEdTech Readers! The Edublogs Awards nominations for 2011 are under way, and I’m nominating Technology Integration In Education in the Category of “Best Educational Use Of A Social Network”. Voting starts Friday so please plan to stop by and learn more about many of the great education-oriented blogs out there, and vote for your favorites!


Johnamarie Macias is a Reference & Instruction Librarian at the The College of Westchester in White Plains, NY, and regularly contributes to the CW Library Blog.

Related Posts (if the above topic is of interest, you might want to check these out):
Credible Sites for Homework And Study Help In 5 Major Subjects
The Internet as a Study Buddy
3 Quick Lesson Plan Ideas That Utilize Technology


Kelly Walsh is Chief Information Officer at The College of Westchester, in White Plains, NY, where he also teaches. In 2009, Walsh founded He frequently delivers presentations and training on a variety of related topics at schools and conferences across the U.S. His eBook, the Flipped Classroom Workshop-in-a-Book is available here. Walsh became the Community Administrator for the Flipped Learning Network in June of 2016. In his "spare time" he also writes, records, and performs original music ... stop by and have a listen!

[Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are my own, or those of other writers, and not those of my employer. - K. Walsh]

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Duncan Hamra March 27, 2014 at 9:45 am

Hey there! My best friend and I built a tool a few week ago that might fit in here on your site. The website is It would be so cool if students everywhere could use the tool!

Jean Tantra February 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

A new web Citation tool I just wrote: CitationLinker.
You can now point into 1000% more of the web.

The Safari extension can be downloaded:

After Safari extension is installed.

Usage: select text (in top level frame)
ctrl click on text
select “Make Citation From Selection” in contextualmenu.

you should see an alert

select the link text, copy it to clip

paste it into your HTML source .

reload/launch your your page. click on the link.
it should open the page, select the text and scroll to it.

Note: A known issues is that this only works for simple pages.
So start with a simple test.

There are a billion+ web pages out there and till now no way to point into or at a phrase IN them.

Early hypertext incarnations (in the Mac Guide app) had this ever so fundamental functionality
(The ability to point/link INTO a remote page) but as of the web it seems to have gotten lost. Till now.

– Citationer

Marco L July 9, 2013 at 12:04 am

Citation Producer has a great citation generator

Kpphelan December 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Purdue University
Online Writing Lab OWL

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