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PubMed - Searching Medical Literature: Anatomy of a Citation

A guide to searching medical literature using PubMed, the MEDLINE search engine from the National Library of Medicine.

What is a Citation?

Citations are what you find in bibliographies. They provide the reader with information needed to identify and find the sources listed.

The sources attribute to other authors ideas they have previously expressed, rather than give the appearance to the work's readers that the work's authors are the original sources of those ideas.

Citations are usually in one of the generally-accepted citations systems, such as AMA, MLA, APA, Turabian, or other citations systems.

Refer to this page for more specialized information on citation styles.

What's in a Citation?

A citation describes a source by presenting information about that source (book, article, web page, etc.) in a standard format.  It tells:

  • What was written - the title
  • Who wrote it - the author and/or editor
  • When - the date of book, article or web page
  • Where it was published and by whom - the publisher and city; the journal name; or the host of the web page

Article Citation Example

Book Citation Example

Book Chapter Citation Example