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What's the difference between a citation generator and a citation manager?
Citation generators are online tools that can generate a one-time use, single bibliography or works cited entry for you. There are two kinds of citation generators, those provided through library resources (like the catalog or the databases) and those provided through an outside website. Library tools will generate a citation for whichever item you are viewing, outside websites will require you to manually input the citation information yourself (author, title, publisher, etc.).
Citation managers, like RefWorks, Mendeley, and Zotero, are software programs that help you keep track of your sources and create bibliographies or works cited lists in various citation styles. Many citation managers allow you to create folders to organize citations and keep your sources for different classes/projects separate. They are very helpful for staying organized, especially while doing multiple research papers for multiple classes. It is also often possible to share folders between users, which can assist with keeping everyone on the same page for group research projects. Take a look at the popular citation managers mentioned in this guide and give one a try! You'd be surprised by how much they can help you streamline your research process.
Regardless of whether you're using a citation generator or a citation manager, automatically generated citations need to be double-checked for accuracy and completeness. Pay special attention to capitalization, punctuation, and author(s) names.
Citing Helps You to Avoid Plagiarism
Citing the sources you use in your research is about giving credit where credit is due. It helps people reading your work to understand where the ideas or facts you're sharing came from, it helps the authors of the sources you cite to direct attention back to their work, and it helps you to look like a responsible, thorough researcher.
Failure to give credit where credit is due is plagiarism, which is part of academic misconduct, and considered theft. For more on what constitutes plagiarism and its consequences, see the CCSU Academic Integrity webpage. And don't worry--if you're concerned about citing properly, there are any number of ways you can check your work before you submit a paper.
This source provides guidance for citing sources in a number of different writing styles (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago, AMA). Hint: this source has a number of ads on it. If you find yourself distracted by popup ads, try the Excelsior OWL.