Helix Library

Citing Tools

When to cite: 

Although plagiarism (intentional and unintentional) has always been a problem, the ability to quickly copy-and-paste online information has made "taking" other people's ideas, words, and work easier than ever. For a quick overview of copyright law & fair use guidelines, watch this short video by Common Sense Media.  For tips on how to avoid plagiarism as you research and write, check out this guide from Purdue OWL


Always Cite:

  • Someone else's words or ideas. This includes direct quotes and paraphrased information from articles, web sites, books, songs, movies, or any other publications or mediums. 
  • Someone else's pictures, diagrams, charts, videos, graphs, etc. If someone else created it, you need to give them credit. Watch this video for more info about copyright and fair use


Don't Cite

  • Common knowledge & generally accepted facts. 
  • Your own personal experiences, observations, or opinions. 
  • Your own creative work. 



Citation style:

At Helix, we follow MLA guidelines for citing sources. For help creating parenthetical citations and Works Cited entries, refer to your Helix Style Manual (sign in using your Helix Google account). You can also consult the following sources: 


Easy Bib: Citation generator for websites, books, and subscription databases. Be sure to double-check citations against your Helix Style Manual, as there are sometimes differences. 

Purdue OWL: MLA style and formatting guide from the Purdue Online Writing Center.