Skip to main content

New Library Users Guide: Referencing

General information for all new library users.

Why do I need to know about referencing?

Did you know that you  have a legal and ethical obligation to acknowledge other’s ideas and work?  It’s an important part of  academic writing. When you cite sources, you  acknowledge the contribution of  others to the development of  your ideas and writing. Make sure you understand when you  need to cite, and also the University’s  policy on plagiarism.

Referencing 101

If you draw upon other people's work in your writing and research and do not acknowledge those sources, you can be accused of plagiarism.

  • Correct citations allow your readers to follow up sources you have referred to, so citing is in the interests of scholarly investigation and the sharing of ideas.
  • Acknowledgement of another's work through accurate citations is not only good academic practice but also a legal requirement.
  • See our Spotlight on plagiarism section. We have included self tests, so you can assess your skills and knowledge, as well as resources to help you to improve your writing, so that you can make sure you correctly acknowledge sources.

  When choosing a citation style first think about the task at hand. Here are some hints to help guide you 

Writing an assignment or essay?

Before compiling your references, check your assignment guidelines or subject outline, or consult with your tutor or lecturer for the referencing style preferred by the school or department.

Writing a thesis?

Referencing styles are discipline specific. Your supervisor can advise on a recommended style.

Writing a journal article?

Each journal will specify a format for referencing in author instructions guidelines or similar. These are usually available on journal webpages.

Re:cite is an online referencing tool produced by the University of Melbourne Library.

This tool will help guide you to create in-text citations and references. Re:cite covers a number of different referencing styles, including APA, Chicago, Harvard, MLA, Vancouver, Cambridge and AGLC3. It will show you examples for books, journal articles, websites and more...


  You use re:cite by :

  1. Selecting the style you want to use.
  2. Choose your reference type
  3. Selecting the detail. 

Reference management programs* provide many useful features that can help you with your research, Their two main features are that they will help you:

  • Storing and organising your references, and
  • Generating citations and bibliographies in the style you prefer.

As there are a number of different programs available it is important to choose the one that suits your needs. The University of Melbourne has licensed access to: EndNoteRefWorks, and EndNote Online.

* Reference management programs  can sometimes also be called  citation managers or bibliographic management software.

Referencing Guide

The Managing References guide provides further information on Endnote and Refworks, as well as other reference management programs that you may like to explore.


Accurately citing material and acknowledging the creator(s) is a legal obligation under Moral Rights in the Copyright Act 1968.  Creators of copyright material have the right:

  • to be acknowledged as the creator of the work.
  • to take action if their work is falsely attributed.
  • to take action if their work is used in a derogatory or prejudicial manner.

The University Copyright Office is happy to assist staff and students with copyright queries.  More targeted information on Copyright & Research is available on their website.