Skip to Main Content

Citing Your Sources

A guide to using citation styles effectively and efficiently

Citing AI-Generated Content

Students should always confirm with their professors and check assignment guidelines before using content generated by AI tools like ChatGPT or Gemini.

Why should I reference ChatGPT content?

There are two main reasons to reference AI-generated content:

  1. Source Attribution: Just like any other source, referencing AI-generated content shows your reader where you found the information and how you used it.
  2. Transparency: Even if you don't directly quote or paraphrase the AI output, acknowledging your use of the tool provides transparency about your research process.

Citing AI-Produced Content Responsibly

The ethical use and citation of generative AI resources is still evolving. Here are some best practices for responsible citation:

  • Save a Transcript: Keep a record of your interaction with the AI tool. Include it as an appendix or online supplement to your work if possible.
  • Document the Prompt: Describe the specific prompt you used to generate the AI response.
  • Include the Date: Since AI models update regularly, record the date you accessed the information.
  • Acknowledge Your Use: Even if you don't directly include the AI-generated content, mention that you used the tool for planning, brainstorming, or other purposes.


Official Guidelines for Citing AI

Citation styles are still catching up to the world of generative AI. While specific guidelines might not be available yet, here are some resources with current recommendations:

  • MLA Handbook (Modern Language Association): (This article discusses the MLA method for citing sources and how it can be applied to generative AI tools. The article recommends including core elements like author, title, container, version, publisher, and date. It also advises users to vet the secondary sources that generative AI tools cite.)
  • APA Style Blog (American Psychological Association): (This article discusses citing ChatGPT in student research papers and APA style. The authors recommend including the author (OpenAI), date (year version was published), title (“ChatGPT”), and source (URL). They also suggest including the prompt used and the generated text in the paper’s appendix. In some cases, the full response may be included.)

Citing Generative AI in APA

In April 2023, APA provided guidance for citing responses from ChatGPT or output from another generative AI tool.

Include a description of the prompt when quoting output from a generative AI tool in your paper. Use the author of the AI algorithm - or the company who produced the tool - in both the in-text citation and full reference. It may be worthwhile to include the chat's transcript as an appendix to your project.



Author. (Date). Name of tool (Version of tool) [Large language model]. URL


OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 14 version) [Large language model].


In-Text Citation Example:

(OpenAI, 2023)

Citing Generative AI in MLA

In March 2023, MLA provided guidance for citing responses from ChatGPT or output from another generative AI tool.

"Description of chat" prompt. Name of AI tool, version of AI tool, Company, Date of chat, URL.


"Examples of harm reduction initiatives" prompt. ChatGPT, 23 Mar. version, OpenAI, 4 Mar. 2023,

In-Text Citation Example:

("Examples of harm reduction")

If you create a shareable link to the chat transcript, include that instead of the tool's URL. MLA also recommends acknowledging when you used the tool in a note or your text as well as verifying any sources or citations the tool supplies.


Creative Commons License CC by NC 4.0 This page was adapted by Erica Huff from AI, ChatGPT, and the Library Libguide by Amy Scheelke for Salt Lake Community College under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.


Library Hours | My Account | Contact Us | Chat with A Librarian