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M E 324L: Manufacturing Engineering Lab

Learn about tools for finding books and standards for students in ME 324L. This guide also includes tips, strategies, and techniques engineering students need to know for finding and managing information.

Cite sources

Citing sources is an important part of the research process. Whether you're writing a paper for class, an article or report for publication, or a grant proposal, citations let others know where you got your information. Any information, including data and equations, that you quote or paraphrase in your paper should be cited.

How to cite

1. Identify

Identify what you need to cite. Where did you get your information? From a handbook, an article in a journal? From a website you found using Google?

Tip: Online resources often provide help creating citations. Some of them will even generate a citation for you.

2. Find

Find the information you'll need to clearly identify the source of your information. This will vary depending on the type of information and its source, as well as the citation style you use. But typically you'll want to look for:

  • Author (or editor)
  • Title of book, journal, article, patent, standard, or other document
  • Publication information such as publisher and place of publication (for books)
  • Copyright year
  • Journal issue and volume numbers (if applicable)
  • Page numbers (if applicable - when referencing an entire document page numbers are not needed)
  • URL
  • Date accessed

3. Cite

Choose a citation style recommended by your professor or one commonly used in your field. Use the corresponding citation style guide to find the formula for citing the type of source you used (such as books, articles, web sites, etc.) and plug the information you gathered in the previous step into the formula to create your citation. You'll have to do this for each citation in your paper, and the exact formatting of the citation will vary based on whether you're citing a book, article, web site, data set, or something else.

If this sounds very complicated and like a lot of work, it is! Fortunately we now have a variety of citation management software options that can take some of the frustration and tedium out of citing your sources.

Citing standards

There is currently no universally agreed-upon way to cite standards. Some style guides may cover preferred methods for citing standards, but the vast majority do not. Even citation management software like EndNote Web, Mendeley, and Zotero typically will not include reference formats for standards.

So how should you cite any standards that you use to inform your work?

Remember: the important thing about a citation is to provide enough information that a reader can find the thing you're citing. Citations should include some clue that the item is a standard, the issuing agency (or publication name), standard number, and standard title (at a minimum).

Note that a specific standard can be reprinted, altered, or reissued by a number of different standards organizations. You will need to cite the specific version that you used.

Citing ASTM standards

ASTM generally recommends formatting citations to ASTM standards as follows:

Base Designation, Edition / Version, "Title," Publisher, Publisher City, Publisher State / Province, Publication Year, DOI, Publisher Website

Helpfully, the online versions of standards in ASTM Compass include citation information in the ASTM preferred format, as well as in APA (6th), MLA (7th), and Chicago (16th) styles. PDF versions of the standards (and print versions in ISU's Standards Center) do not include example citations.