One of the first things I learned as an undergraduate in History, was to cite your sources. Some professors tend to be sticklers on this topic. You have an original idea, but still need to provide three sources to back up that idea. Regardless, bibliographies, endnotes and footnotes do come in handy, especially when producing a body of literature, which you intend to be used by other researchers.
It still comes as a bit of a shock (like not knowing the difference between primary and secondary sources) that the bulk of the researchers visiting the library, DO NOT cite where they found their information. For all of our researchers (onsite and offsite), we provide the title page free of charge. This way they know where they found their information and can use this information for future research. So, why do we have researchers refusing this service? Are researchers so focused on obtaining the information, they fail to forget that where they found that information is just as important? Are online sources and television shows, such as Ancestry.com and Who Do You Think You Are? downplaying the need for bibliographies and source information?
As a historian, I do not trust any article, genealogy, website, and so on, that uses historic information through multiple sources and those sources aren’t cited. If you use an Archival Facility for information, remember to cite Collection Information and list the name of the library you found it in. Do not take for granted that people will know where you found your information. And, if researchers are not willing to divulge their bibliography/source list, I would not trust the work they are doing. If you forget to write down a source, we will assist you the best we can. But, please do not send an email, describing the book (color, thickness, etc) and think we are going to be able to locate it. With over 10,000 books in our collection, after a while, they all tend to match the description.
So, I cannot stress this enough…CITE YOUR SOURCES. Provide proper Bibliographies, Endnotes and Footnotes.
To better assist you with this here are a few sites (which I actually use in book form) that are good reference tools:
Diana Hacker – A Pocket Style Manual: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/resdoc5e/RES5e_ch10_s1-0001.html
Chicago Manual Style: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html
We also have printed sources in the library available upon request.