Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Online Tutorial: Information Ethics: Videos

How to use various types of information appropriately for papers or projects


Need more personalized assistance?

Ask a Librarian

Stop by the Reference desk on the Main Level of the Library

Chat online

Call: 206-281-2419


Contact us.


View our hours.



Learning Objectives

After completing this tutorial you will

  1. Know what types of information need citation
  2. Understand the basics of three citation styles: MLA, APA and CSE
  3. Be aware of the places to go for detailed information on creating citations

Step 1: When and How to Cite

Copyright is the legal right granted to an author, composer, playwright, publisher, or distributor to exclusive publication, production, sale, or distribution of a literary, musical, dramatic, or artistic work. (American Heritage Dictionary, 4th ed.)

So if you made it, only you can legally produce it and profit from it — whether it's a book, poem, song, photograph, or other creative work. And as soon as you make your creative work, you automatically have copyright of it. You don't have to do anything.

When someone has made a creative work that you want to use in your own work, you need to correctly cite it.

The five main categories of material are:

  1. Your original thoughts
  2. Common knowledge (items like dates or basic facts)
  3. Quotations (from either public domain works or copyrighted works)
  4. Interpreted facts (other people's ideas or discussions of ideas)
  5. Paraphrases (when you put someone else's ideas in your own words)

Of those five categories, the first two - your original thoughts and common knowledge - do not need to be cited. The final three categories - quotations, interpreted facts, and paraphrases - should always be cited.


Step 2: Citation Styles

Citation Styles - 4:11 minutes

Different disciplines follow different rules when citing the work of others correctly. These sets of rules are called citation styles. Each uses the same information about the source, but the information is presented in a different order, depending on the citation style.

Your professor will tell you which citation style to use for your papers, either in the syllabus or in the assignment itself.

This video shows Ronald White’s A. Lincoln: A Biography in different citation formats.

Step 3: Useful Links

Below are some websites related to information ethics that you may want to visit.

Copyright and Use:

Avoiding Plagiarism:

Citation and Style Manuals Online: