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6. Citing Resources: Citation Generators - the good and the bad

You may be familiar with the many citation generators available for free and for pay through websites such as EasyBib and Son of Citation; programs such as EndNote and RefWorks; search engine add-ons like Zotero; and of course, the citation generation capabilities of Microsoft Word, which is a basic version of EndNote. Although it may seem like a time-saving tactic to use these citation generators, it is important to remember that they are not foolproof.

These citation generators may seem like amazing tools, but please consider the pros and cons below:


Pros to using a citation generator:
  • It can save time: it takes a generator only a few seconds to create a citation.
  • You can easily convert citations from one style to another.
  • You can have a centralized source list that is not attached to a specific project, which means the source information is more centralized.
Cons to using a citation generator:
  • Citation generators are only as good as the info entered into them. In other words, if you provide the incorrect information or do not include some information, then your citation will be incorrect.
  • Most generators can create the citation by searching for the information online. Again, while this may seem like a quick, time-saving way to produce citations, do not assume that EasyBib or Zotero will include all of the pertinent information. Sometimes generators can pull the information from the wrong edition, for example, or the specific formatting (such as italics) might be lost.



The Ohio State University Libraries has a premium subscription to EasyBib; you can tell if you’re using the correct version if the OSU Libraries information is on the right side of the screen.


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