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BIOL 307 / W S 307: Women in science and engineering

the library guide for students enrolled in BIOL307 / WS307

APA Style

Creating references automatically

Using a citation manager or citation generator can make the reference-writing process easier, as this eliminates some (but not all) of the need to focus on the details of correct formatting. These tools automatically create citations or references in the style of your choice. However, the citation or reference you get is only as good as the information you put into the tool, so your references may still contain errors when using these tools.


To create a citation with Zbib you will need some basic information about the item you want to cite:

  • An identifier such as the ISBN (for books) or DOI (for articles or book chapters)
  • Title, author, publication date, etc. (to enter manually)

Once you have found an item to cite and have gathered the necessary information, go to Zbib and use the following steps:

If you have an identifier: paste it into the box and click cite.

If you have basic citation information: Click Manual Entry beneath the main box. Choose the type of item you want to cite, then fill out as much of the form as you can with the information you have. Click Done to create your citation.

APA format: Both of these methods will automatically generate a reference in MLA 8th edition. You will need to manually change it (click where it says MLA) to APA 7th edition. Zbib will reformat the reference and warn you of things you'll need to fix manually.

Using your references: You can create references individually and copy them one at a time using the Copy Citation button next to each one. Zbib stores your references in a list, so you can create references for all of your sources at the same time. If you have multiple references in your list, you can copy them all at once by scrolling down to the Export options and using the Copy to clipboard button.

Caution: Sometimes automatically generated references will have extra punctuation, abbreviations where words should be spelled out, author names in incorrect formats, and other problems. Citation generators are smart enough to know where each chunk of information should go, but not smart enough to know when smaller details are wrong. For example, Zbib can automatically put titles into sentence case (first word capitalized and the rest not), as required by APA, but it can't identify proper nouns, which should still be capitalized.

Citation managers

If you only need to create a few references, a citation generator will probably be all you need. If you're interested in using citation management software to collect, store, organize, and format your references, check out the library's getting started guides.

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Megan O'Donnell
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The Catalyst / 204 Parks Library