Citation management

A guide to saving citations and creating bibliographies from the State Library catalogue.

What are citation styles?

A citation style is a set of guidelines and formatting specifications that define how inline citations and a bibliographic list are presented in a published work. The primary goal of a citation style is to ensure all references are presented in a consistent manner and to ensure sufficient information is presented to allow source materials to be found.

The Library catalogue offers four built-in citation styles to choose from: APA (6th or 7th edition), Chicago/Turabian (16th edition), Harvard (Author-Date), and MLA (7th or 8th edition). We will go through these styles in a bit more detail below, and show you how to save a citation from the Library catalogue on the next page.

Alternatively, you can choose to import your citations into a citation management tool. A citation management tool can store your references and help you format them into whichever style you choose.

Please note: whenever using built-in citation styles, please be sure to check the citations for accuracy before including them in your work. The Library takes no responsibility for inaccurately-formatted citations.

Which style should I use?

The correct citation style to use depends on your circumstance.

For school or university assignments, your instructor or school should specify the citation style to follow. Generally, each university faculty will have its own style and referencing guide which will specify the citation style that should be used, and whether you should make use of footnotes, in-text referencing and/or a bibliography. If you are unsure which style to use, your first point-of-call should be your class co-ordinator or equivalent. 

If you intend to submit your work to a magazine or journal for publication, check the submission guidelines for details of the style to use.

For longer-form works such as books, you'll probably work with an editor or publishing staff who will advise you on the best citation style to employ.

The key point to note about choosing a citation style is to choose one and remain consistent throughout your work.

Whatever style you use, the key information to include in your citation is: author/creator, title, date, name and place of publication, and page number/s. Note that some of this information may not be relevant for your chosen source, and some sources may require you to include additional information, such as the editor, or the author and title of a specific chapter or section. 


APA Style is a citation style and format described in the style guide of the American Psychological Association (APA), entitled Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, (with the sixth edition being the most recently published).

APA was initially developed for use in social science publications, but is now widely used in scientific journals (especially medical and public health), textbooks and general academia.


Chicago Style is a citation style and format developed at the University of Chicago and described in The Chicago Manual of Style (sometimes abbreviated as CMS or CMOS), currently in its seventeenth edition. Chicago style is often used when writing papers on History. 

Kate L. Turabian is the original author of A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations which is based on The Chicago Manual of Style.

Harvard (Author-Date)

Harvard referencing, also known as author-date or parenthetical referencing, is a style of citation in which an in-text citation, comprising the author/s surname and year of publication of a referenced work, is enclosed within parentheses and appears either within or after a sentence.

For example, "When using a formal reference style, consistency is paramount (Jones 2017)."

Harvard referencing style is used across a broad range of subjects. Due to its ease of use and suitability for many subjects, this is often a good style to use for highschool students (but check with your teacher before settling on a style for your essay).

Unlike many other referencing styles, there is no published source for applying Harvard style referencing, however, the Style manual for authors, editors and printers (6th ed., 2002) includes a chapter outlining the correct usage of this style.


MLA Style is a citation style and format described in the MLA Handbook (8th ed., 2016) published by the Modern Language Association of America. The handbook is primarily aimed at students and teachers of secondary schools and university. MLA Style is commonly used in humanities subjects.

More about citations

There are many more ways to cite your work, and many different style guides to follow. Once again, the key is to choose one and use it consistently! Use the links below to find more resources available in the catalogue about citations, or view the details for some of the items available in the Library.

Same source, different style

A quick look at the difference between the styles available from the Library catalogue.

Here we'll reference the following book:

APA (7th ed.)

Morley-Warner. (2009). Academic writing is : a guide to writing in a university context. Association for Academic Language and Learning.

Chicago/Turabian (16th ed.)

Morley-Warner, Terry. Academic Writing Is : A Guide to Writing in a University Context. Broadway, N.S.W.: Association for Academic Language and Learning, 2009.

Harvard (Author-Date)

Morley-Warner, T., 2009. Academic writing is : a guide to writing in a university context, Broadway, N.S.W.: Association for Academic Language and Learning.

MLA (8th ed.)

Morley-Warner, Terry. Academic Writing Is : A Guide to Writing in a University Context. Broadway, N.S.W.: Association for Academic Language and Learning, 2009.