Category: Writing

Understanding Citations: The Tutorial

Citation Tutorial

Keyword searching via Google or one of Milne Library’s many databases is probably the first and most heavily used method in an undergrad student’s research toolkit.  Are you finding the right mix of terms and search tools to locate the most appropriate sources?  Do you spend hours at a computer trying to identify and connect “like-minded” articles?

A primary method in a scholar’s research toolkit is to track down citations within a relevant source’s bibliography.  It stands to reason that the research a scholar used to inform his/her work would be related to that author’s initial topic and can thus be found in the comprehensive works cited list.  In other words, find one perfect article and its bibliography will lead you to many more related sources.

The trick, however, is to know how to read a citation, no matter what writing style it’s in – APA, MLA, Turabian, NLM – to know what type of source you’re dealing with (e.g. journal or newspaper article, book, book chapter, legal case) in order to then locate and get your hands on that source.

If you are confused by the various structures of the myriad citation writing styles, check out this self-paced tutorial for a complete lesson (including interactive exercises) on reading different citations.

After this lesson, you should be reading citations and locating the necessary material like a pro!

Milne’s Center for Academic Excellence: New Name, Same Services

What once was Milne Library’s Writing & Learning Center – consisting of AOP tutoring services, the satellite center for the English Department’s Writing Learning Center, ELL tutoring and speech buddies program and the Geneseo Testing Center – has officially been renamed to better represent the many helpful services offered in the center.

Welcome to the Milne Center for Academic Excellence!

Center for Academic Excellence

Beginning in January 2012, the English Department’s Writing Learning Center shifted all operations to Milne’s location, supplementing its evening and weekend drop-in hours with regularly scheduled appointments Monday-Friday from 1-5 pm, which had traditionally taken place in Welles Hall.

The Center for Academic Excellence received a new facelift over the winter break as well – new carpeting, a glass panel in the front window, and potentially glass doors to separate the two rooms within the center – all in an effort to make the space comfortable and conducive to studying and testing.

Information regarding the services offered in the center can be found at a newly designed and comprehensive website.

It’s not ALL about the Citations…

Writing and Style guides and manuals

Writing and Style guides and manuals

You may think that APA and MLA and all those other acronym-laden guides are tedious and exhausting. I mean, c’mon! Who cares that much about spaces and commas and italicization, right?

Your professors, for one. Other scholars in your discipline, for another. Oh, and if you ever decide to publish in a scholarly publication? The editors who will evaluate your manuscript, that’s who! Scholars are required to follow the style guides of organizations in their disciplines when they submit articles and books to academic journals and academic book publishers in those disciplines for consideration of publication.  Are you a college student? Then you’re a scholar and you need to learn – and use – the rules.

There are an endless amount of websites maintained by librarians to assist in the confusing maze of citations (including our own Guide to Citing Sources) and they’re great for checking the fine details of your works cited page at the end of your writing project. Milne’s librarians are always willing and happy to assist you in this portion of your project.

Unfortunately, students often tend to think of the guides solely as a quick place to check on whether a citation is correct or perhaps to determine if the bibliography is formatted properly, and while they serve that purpose, I promise you, they’re so much more than that!

Outline Draft

Outline Draft, used courtesy of Flickr User CanadianAEh

Try picking up the guide or style manual – especially if it’s one you’re not accustomed to using – before you begin to write your research paper.  There are often suggestions for ways to organize and make transitions between your ideas. Peruse it again once you’ve written your first draft. Are you using the passive voice? That’s not a good idea and there are examples for using active verbs. And take a look again when you’ve finished your paper. You’ll find advice for how to write in a scholarly manner with suggestions for dealing with bias, and striking the proper tone. You might be surprised with all the things you’ve ignored or forgotten.

Perhaps you’ve always written well, but aren’t you always looking improve and be a stronger writer? People like to cherry-pick the bits of information that we need in order to save time, but when we do this, it is at the expense of the larger context. Do yourself a favor and spend some quality time getting to know the writing guide most often used for your discipline while you’re here at Geneseo.

There are copies of several manuals at Milne. The latest editions of the most heavily used guides are on 4 hour loan at the Service Desk so that students always have access to the information and there are additional copies that may be checked out, too.

Here’s a list of the most common styles:

Citation Manuals

Writing Learning Center to Open January 31

The Writing Learning Centers will open for the Spring 2010 semester on Sunday, January 31.

There are two centers to serve students on campus:

Milne 222 (to the right of main entrance)
Walk-ins only (no appointments)
Sundays 3pm – 9pm
Monday – Thursday 8pm – 11pm

Welles 217
By appointment only
Monday-Thursday 1pm-5pm

To make an appointment, students should email the Writing Learning Center or call 245-5273.

Peer tutors are not available for proofreading or writing your assignments. However, they can provide advice on writing assignments in any academic course and at any stage of the writing process. The goal
is to assist students with finding their own solutions.

For more information please visit The Writing Learning Center webpage or Milne Library resources for Writing Help