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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

British Literature: Citations & Citation Management

A guide to British Literature tools and resources.

Citation Management

Citation managers can be used to import and organize citations, generate bibliographies and footnotes, store PDFs, and more. Need help deciding which citation management software is right for you? This guide to citation managers offers a comparison of some of the most popular tools.




Zotero is a web-based citation software that enables you to drag and drop citations from websites, databases, and other online resources. Visit our Library research guide to using Zotero and find more information at


Mendeley is a free citation management software in web-based and desktop versions.  It primarily reads PDFs and can organize your articles and citations accordingly.  Learn more at the Library's guide to Mendeley.


Endnote is a citation management software that you can purchase online and download to your computer. The University of IllinoisWebStore offers a discounted price for faculty, staff, and students. Endnote Basic, a free online-only version is also available. For more information visit the Library's Guide to Endnote or

MLA Citation Guides

Modern Language Association documentation guidelines are often used in the humanities fields, including English, comparative literature, literary criticism, and foreign-languages. Information about using MLA style can be found in the following places:

MLA Plus--The Library is currently running a trial of the MLA Handbook

Citation Chasing

Some of the most valuable resources for your research might not come from a direct search. Instead, you might find them by finding citations from other articles and books.

Scholarly articles and books will include a bibliography or a list of works cited. If an article or book was useful to you, look in its bibliography for other relevant materials that were cited by the author.

Useful citations also will appear in footnotes: If the footnote citations are incomplete, look in the bibliography/list of works cited at the end of the article.

Once you've found a citation, you can track it down in the Primo Library CatalogLibrary's Easy Search, and  Library's Journal and Article Locator to find out if it will be useful to your work. The next section discusses the types of citations.



Types of Citations

The first step to finding research sources is to identify the types of citations that you will see in a bibliography.

  • A journal article citation often appears in a format similar to this example:

Note that the citation includes the name of the article's author; the article title (in quotation marks) AND the journal title; the issue number of the journal in which the article appeared (8.4 = issue number 4 in volume 8); and the page numbers for the article.

  • A book (also called a "monograph") will be cited in a format similar to this example:

Note that the citation includes the author(s) name, the book title, and detailed publication information including the publisher and city of publication.

  • A chapter in an edited book will be cited in a format similar to this example:

The key difference to note for a book chapter citation is that there are TWO sets of names: the name of the chapter author(s) AND the name(s) of the book editor (indicated by "Ed.").  This type of citation also includes two titles:  the name of the chapter (in quotation marks), and the title of the book in which the chapter is published.

There are many systems that are used to format citations, including MLA, Chicago, and APA.  And depending on the citation system, a citation may not include all of the information shown in these examples. But this summary has tried to highlight the core parts of the citations that usually will always appear, and this should enable you to identify the type of resource cited.

After you identify the type of resource cited in the citation, it's relatively simple to search for the item in question: If it's a book, search in the library catalogs--if not in the Primo Library Catalog, then search in I-Share or WorldCat and then place an interlibrary loan request. If it's an article, you can search for the journal in the library catalog, search for the online version in Library's Journal and Article Locator, or place an interlibrary loan request if the Library does not hold the journal in any format.

If you have trouble locating a particular item, ask a librarian either in person or online at Ask a Librarian.