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Ask a Librarian

The Importance of Citation

Why is it necessary to cite sources?

Fundamentally, we cite our sources because information is the intellectual property of the creator and we need to give them credit for their work. If we don't, that's called plagiarism - and it is theft. The Writing Center at UW-Madison has an excellent resource on avoiding plagiarismBeyond this, it's best practice to cite your sources because it creates a research trail that you (or someone else, like your instructor) can follow and it provides evidence of the information you present.

For American legal research, you will use the Bluebook for citation. Below are a list of tools to help you learn this style.

Citation Tools

Johnathan Chai's Bluebook Tutorials on YouTube

Hyperlink will take you to a playlist covering the 21st edition

Purdue OWL

Hyperlink will take you to Bluebook Citation overview


Works with Microsoft Word


Updated Bluebook alternative

Copyright & Fair Use


Copyright gives the owner of a work exclusive rights to that work. Exceptions to this include items in the public domain, items with Creative Commons licenses, and items used under fair use.

Remember, failure to follow the guidelines of copyright, public domain, Creative Commons, and fair use is called plagiarism.

See UW-Superior's resource on Copyright & Fair Use to learn more.

Still Need Help? Contact Me!

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Nic Ashman
CVTC Library & Technology Services
Chippewa Valley Technical College
620 W. Clairemont Ave.
Eau Claire, WI 54701

Paralegal: Citations & Librarian