How to cite? Citation norms

We’ve already mentioned a few things about the importance of citing in the context of intellectual property and legislation in the Why cite? section. Now it’s necessary to understand the basic principle of citation that you should always base your work upon. This is even in cases when you run into a “tough nut to crack” while citing. What is the goal of citation and how should we cite? What are citation norms and styles?  

Goal: meaningful citation of sources 

Citation has a clear goal – to refer the reader to a source of information that we’ve used. Citation norms were created to systematize these references. These norms need to be adhered to precisely, especially in a scientific text that you’re sending to a journal. The basic rule is as follows: cite meaningfully in a way to make the original source findable. For citation without citation norms, use hypertext links. 

It should be said that norms are not the only way to cite. In these study texts, you can see we’ve cited things in the form of hypertext links. This kind of citation is good for webpages, blogs and social networks, but aren’t good for things like term papers. The risk here, however, is that the link will be invalid if the page disappears or someone deletes it.  

Have a look at an example where we’ve used a hypertext link to cite an article in which we’ve learned something about “sharenting”. Read and try out the link: One issue of the present generation is called so-called sharenting. This means publishing photographs of children on social networks without their consent. Cases are growing in which children object to their parents doing this, which sometimes even go to court 

Citing according to citation norms 

You can cite according to citation norms in any kind of text – in a scientific article, on your blog, or as a journalist. Have a look for example at citations in a text according to norm ČSN ISO 690:  

When Albert Einstein published his article on the special theory of relativity [2], he probably knew well what a great response it would elicit.  

And now an example of citation in the bibliography according to norm ČSN ISO 690:  

[2] EINSTEIN, Albert. On the electrodynamics of moving bodies. Annalen der physik, 1905, 17.10: 891-921. 

So what does the norm determine?  

  • The form of the citation reference in the bibliography at the end of a work.  
  • The form of the citation reference in the text, i.e. the “citation style”, which is the place where an idea of another author appears.  

Citation reference in the bibliography 

We have to list all used literature at the end of our text in the bibliography. A typical structure of such a citation is as follows: Surname and name of the author, date the source was published, name of the source, place the source was published: publisher, type and number of the source.  

A citation of a book according to norm ČSN ISO 690 might look like the following:   

DEWEY, John, 1997. Experience and education. New York: Touchstone. The Kappa Delta Pi Lecture Series. ISBN 0-684-83828-1.   

But also like this, according to the APA 6th edition citation norm:   

Dewey, J. (1997). Experience and education. New York: Touchstone.  

It’s basically a more sophisticated system ofwho, when, what and whereand also in what. Have a look.  

In the first case:   

WHO: DEWEY, John, WHEN: 1997. WHAT: Experience and education.WHERE: New York: Touchstone. The Kappa Delta Pi Lecture Series. IN WHAT: ISBN 0-684-83828-1.   

In the second case:  

WHO: Dewey, J.,WHEN: (1997).WHAT: Experience and education.WHERE: New York: Touchstone.   

Most well-known citation norms 

The selection of a citation norm differs depending on field, workplace customs (at university), or journal. You can also encounter journals that have created their own norms (which isn’t ideal for generating citations). For a start, we should probably have a look at the following norms:  

If you have a more detailed look at the APA or Chicago norms, you can see they’re much more than just systems of citation. They are manuals that determine the appearance of a whole document, i.e. what headings, images, tables should look like. You still have a few years before these details become important to you if you decide to study at a university.    

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