Style Guides and Citation Management

A Style Guide is a handbook or manual that describes an accepted format for citing references in academic writing. Correctly citing sources is crucial to avoid plagiarism.

There are many different citation styles. Check with your instructors to determine which style is expected for your courses. If you are writing for publication, consult the publisher or journal editorial policy.

Listed below are commonly used citation styles. For additional information, refer to Bobst Library's Bibliographic and Footnote Style Guide.

Frequently Used Style Guides

ACS (American Chemical Society)

Used in the field of chemical sciences.
Print: Check Polycat
Online: ACS Style Guide

APA Style (American Psychological Association)

Preferred style in psychology and many other social sciences disciplines.
Print: Check PolyCat
Online: APA Citation Style Guide

ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers)

Preferred style in mechanical engineering
Online: ASME References

CSE Style (Council of Science Editors - formerly CBE)

Preferred style in Biology, Geology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Medicine, and Physics.
Print: Check PolyCAt
Online: CSE Citation Guide

Chicago Style

Frequently used in history, computer science and many other disciplines.
Print: Check PolyCat
Online: Chicago Manual of Style nyu-poly only

IEEE Style (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers)

Preferred style in electrical and electronic engineering
Online: IEEE Style

MLA Style (Modern Languages Association)

Preferred style in literature, arts, and humanities.
Print: Check PolyCat
Online: MLA Format

Turabian Style

A simplified guide to the Chicago Manual of Style, used at the undergraduate level regardless of discipline.
Print: Check PolyCat
Online: Turabian Quick Guide

Citation Management Tools

Many different citation management tools are available. Although features vary from program to program, most citation management tools help you do three things:

  • Import citation information from a variety of sources (including library databases) automatically
  • Collect, organize and annotate references
  • Generate bibliographies and in-text citations in a variety of styles automatically

Listed below are the most widely used citation management tools. For additional information, read "Choose the right tool to organize your research."


  • Available free to the NYU community
  • Web-based
  • Works with Word to create formatted footnotes and reference lists
  • Offers public reference sharing. Great for collaborative projects
  • Format bibliographies according to chosen style (MLA, APA, etc.)
  • More information on RefWorks


  • Free download available to the NYU community
  • Software you load on to your computer
  • Offers sophisticated, flexible tools for organizing and citing references and for creating bibliographies.
  • More complex, takes longer to learn
  • More information on Endnote

EndNote Web

  • Available free to the NYU community
  • Web-based
  • Similar to desktop version of EndNote, but the reference management functions are limited
  • Recommended for EndNote users who need portable or collaborative reference storage
  • Accessible through ISI Web of Knowledge


  • Open Source software available free to everyone
  • Works with Firefox browser only
  • Captures citation information and documents directly from compatible Web-pages
  • Facilitates note taking, and organizes citations and documents
  • Zotero groups can be private or public, open or closed.
  • Citations can be exported to EndNote or RefWorks
  • More information about Zotero


  • Freely available reference manager and academic social network
  • Facilitates research discovery by finding more papers based on what you are reading
  • Can annotate and highlight your PDFs
  • Share papers and collaborate
  • Cross-platform synching across desktop, web and mobile devices
  • More information on Mendeley