Citing your sources: Why, when and how

Citing your sources: Why, when and how

As the saying goes: Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed. We’re inspired by the world around us and the content we see, read or hear. Even if the works you create are original and belong to you, it’s still important to respect copyright by giving credit to the authors who inspired you.

Why should you cite your sources?

Your sources give credibility to your work while supporting scientific facts in some cases but, above all, they’re essential so you can comply with the Copyright Act.

The Act guarantees patrimonial rights for content as well as moral rights, including the right of attribution, which means authors have the right to be credited by name as the creators of their content. To uphold those rights, you need to indicate your bibliographic references.

A source is defined as the original document that provided the information you’re integrating into your own content.

When should you cite your sources?

You should name your sources whenever you didn’t come up with the information, passage or quote yourself.

What should you include?

A complete bibliographic reference contains the following:

- Author’s name
- Title of the work
- Publisher’s name
- Publication location and year
- Page numbers reproduced

Find out more about how to cite your sources

Like you, Copibec relies on other sources when creating content such as this. For example, we referred to the valuable information and advice made available for the students of Université du Québec à Montréal and Université de Montréal. Those universities and many others offer tips on the various ways to indicate your references using the method best suited to the work you’re doing.

Keep in mind that your work remains incomplete until you’ve added references. By making sure you include them in the finished product, you’ll be copyright compliant.

Best practices

If you’d like to use an excerpt from another work as part of your own content, you’ll need to request copyright clearance from the organization responsible for the type of content you’re using.

Copibec can help you with that step! If your excerpt is from a book, newspaper or magazine, contact us directly to get permission. If you want to clear the rights for content other than text or images, refer to our site to find out who you should contact.