Answered By: Samantha Kannegiser
Last Updated: Sep 08, 2017     Views: 4

These are common types of sources which you will often use in research and need to cite:

It might be a book or an eBook if:

  • You found it in the Library Catalog, eBook Central, or in an open source platform like Project Gutenberg.
  • The publication information includes a geographic place (for print books) and publisher name. 
  • The publication date is usually only listed as a year.
  • There is an ISBN number listed. 

More help: 

Print book (left) and eBook (right):

Origin of Species verso pagePublication information for an eBook


It's probably a journal article (also called scholarly, peer-reviewed, or academic article) if:

  • You found it in a library database, such as ProQuestand
  • There is an article title and a journal title in the publication information. 
  • There is a volume and issue number.
  • There are page numbers.
  • The article is long, written for a specific audience, and has a bibliography. 

More help: 

ProQuest article citation


It's probably a magazine article if:

  • It contains longer articles about a variety of subjects, and not only current news.
  • It seems written for a specific audience (ex: a parenting or fashion magazine). 
  • It includes a lot of images, photographs, and different fonts. 

More help: 


It's probably a newspaper article if: 

  • You found it in US Newsstream.
  • It has shorter articles about current news and events. 
  • It is written for the general public.

More help:


It's probably a website / nonperiodical web document if: 

  • It is only located online and not in print.
  • It is not updated with articles or posts on a frequent and regular basis (like an online newspaper or blog).   

More help:

‚ÄčBerkeley College homepage


Many resources are being produced digitally and made available online now more than ever, and so the ways we differentiate between types of sources are becoming less clear. For instance, you would know if you were holding in your hands a book, magazine, or newspaper because of the item's physical aspects. Reading content online removes those physical cues and makes it harder to determine the type of source you are using. Use the factors listed above as a guideline, but many times you will have to use your best judgment when choosing a citation format. If you are still unsure, please ask a librarian! We can review a source with you to identify its type. 

Related FAQs

    <ul id="s-la-faq-relatedfaqs"></ul>