The American Society of Civil Engineers has a strong publication presence. They have a specific style for citations and references that is similar to, but not exactly the same, as the APA or Chicago Manual Style.
When working with class assignments as well as honors thesis and other University of Arkansas related publications, this librarian recommends the following items be added to all citations for materials that were retrieved electronically. Adding these two items allows the reader (especially if the item is submitted electronically) to easily retrieve the materials being cited for further information. Check with your professor to make sure this modification is allowed.
The Department of Civil Engineering has determined that students will follow the ASCE (American Society of Civil Engineers) format for all papers requiring references. Information can be found on the ACSE web page along with other information about submitting articles for publication.
ASCE uses an Author-Date system. The author and year are placed in parenthesis within the text, commonly known as a parenthetical citation. Some example:
A recent paper (Jones 2003) presented data ....
Holcomb (1999) stated that the conclusion reached ....
The general format for listing references is alphabetical order in the bibliography or appendix. Each citation should have enough information to clearly identify the piece being cited. The information needed generally includes:
Last name and initials of all authors.
Year of publication (in parenthesis).
Title of paper, report or book chapter (lower case in quotes).
Title of periodical, proceedings or book (in italics),
Volume number and issue number (in parenthesis).
Name of publisher and their location,
Inclusive page numbers
Conferences and proceedings have some unique characteristics that need to be included in the citation. Remember the publisher and the name of the conference may be the same. The place where the conference was held is critical to finding it later. Also, the year of publication MAY be different than the year the conference was held. To complicate matters, some conferences are published in a journal. Then there is an option of citing the item as a journal article, a conference paper, OR both.
Government resources can be especially difficult to cite. Determining if the agency or person that wrote an item is the correct author to list can be tricky. In addition, the agency may also be the publisher as well as the author. The place of publication is also not clearly delineated nor is the title always obvious, especially if the item used is a PDF or a database.
Please be in touch with your Engineering Librarian (noted in the right column) for assistance in identifying the appropriate elements of the citation.
Note -- this librarian recommends the following items be added to all citations for materials that were retrieved electronically. Adding these two items allows the reader (especially if the item is submitted electronically) to easily retrieve the materials being cited for further information.
URL, DOI or permalink to the article, chapter, book, government report, or conference.
The ASCE style is based on the APA style that is used in many disciplines. As the ASCE style information does not show how to craft references for many types of materials, I recommend you use the APA examples to help you know what the necessary elements are for a good reference. Especially when the reference is for an item written or published by a governmental agency. Including the FHWA, which should, by the way, be spelled out -- Federal Highway Administration. Or, when the FHWA is the author -- United States. Department of Transportation. Federal Highway Administration.
Most databases provided by the libraries have a "Cite" feature built in. Look for a link or button for citing. If the link is available, you will see a screen which provides a citation in your preferred format that you can cut and paste into your bibliography.
Many electronic resources offer citation creators and there are some that are freely available on the web. Feel free to use the links below at your convenience.
However, make sure you carefully edit the results before you paste them into your bibliography, citation creators are not always perfect. Automatic citation generation is only as good as the details made available from the database.
"Common knowledge" -- you don't need to cite where you found "common knowledge". But what is "common knowledge"? Guess what -- it varies. Here is a safe definition, because you don't want to be accused of plagiarism.
Did you know it without looking it up? If you are just learning about your field, you should err on the side of caution. Better to cite something that didn't need a citation, then to be accused of plagiarism.
Would other people in the class know this? Common knowledge is based, to some extent, on what the "general practitioner" in the field would know. And what would be general knowledge for a practicing electrical engineer MAY NOT be common knowledge for a freshman engineering student.
Do you find the information in many PUBLISHED (not web pages) resources? Some experts say if you find it in 3 reference tools, no need to cite. Others say 5. If you don't have time to check that the information has been used in many different places, cite it. Play it safe. The citation can be easily removed later and until the paper is in it's final version, you will know where to go back and verify the information.