Citation / Copyright


Choosing Appropriate Resources

When conducting research on a topic, the authenticity of the information is crucial. The information found on web search engines, such as Google and Wikipedia, is not always accurate, could be completely false, changes frequently, and may be impossible to verify.

For your research, look for sources that are authoritative, which means it was written by an expert in the subject area, appears in a well-known, scholarly (preferably peer-reviewed), publication, and is verifiable from other sources. The Rensselaer Libraries collect and subscribe to resources that generally fulfill these qualifications. Some freely accessible websites are authoritative, and these include websites of the U.S. government, and some academic institutions, but be very careful when choosing sources.

This chart from the Colorado State University Libraries illustrates the differences between popular magazines, trade publications, and scholarly/peer-reviewed journals. The following definition of "peer-review" accompanies the chart:

"Peer review" refers to the policy of having experts in the field examine journal articles before acceptance for publication. Peer review insures that the research described in a journal's articles is sound and of high quality. Sometimes the term "refereed" is used instead of peer review. . . ."

Citation and Style Guides

The following style guides, all of which describe how to correctly format academic papers and cite sources, are available.  However, the Library staff recommends that individuals first consult with their instructor or publisher to determine which style is best suited for their project.

Print versions of some of the above guides can also be found by searching in the Libraries' catalog under the relevant title, such as The MLA Style Guide, The AIP Style Manual, etc.


“Intellectual integrity and credibility are the foundation of all academic work. A violation of academic integrity policy is, by definition, considered a flagrant offense to the educational process. It is taken seriously by students, faculty, and Rensselaer, and will be addressed in an effective manner.

If found responsible for committing academic dishonesty, a student may be subject to one or both types of penalties: an academic (grade) penalty administered by the professor, and/or disciplinary action through the Rensselaer judicial process described in this handbook.

Since academic dishonesty is a violation of the Grounds for Disciplinary Action, the student may be subject to any of the following sanctions: disciplinary warning; disciplinary probation; disciplinary suspension, expulsion and/or alternative actions as agreed on by the student and hearing officer. It should be noted that no student who allegedly commits academic dishonesty will be able to drop or change the grade option for the course in question.”

Among the definitions and examples of types of academic dishonesty is:


Plagiarism is defined as representing the work or words of another as one's own through the omission of acknowledgment or reference. Examples include, using sentences verbatim from a published source in a term paper without appropriate referencing, or presenting as one's own the detailed argument of a published source, or presenting as one's own electronically or digitally enhanced graphic representations from any form of media.

Plagiarism may be deliberate or accidental, but the consequences are the same. Be sure you are giving proper attribution to your sources. See the Citations section of this site for guides to formatting and citing sources. is a useful site for information about types of plagiarism, tips on how to avoid plagiarizing material, and how to use various writing and citation resources.



Tools for Organizing and Citing Sources

Tools for Organizing and Citing Sources

You may find the following tools helpful for organizing and citing your various sources.

  • EndNote - Use this tool to learn how to do research, cite sources, write term papers, and even match your manuscript to a scientific journal. Use this tool to learn how to do research, cite sources, write term papers, and even match your manuscript to a scientific journal. Sign up for a free account to test EndNote out!
  • Zotero - [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use tool to help you collect, organize, cite, and share your research sources."
  • Mendeley - Reference management, research network, dataset- storage and sharing.
  • Papers - A reference manager for Macintosh, Windows, or iPhone/iPad. A paid license is required.
Registering for and Using EndNote Web

I. Register for the EndNote Web service at

  1. Register for EndNote Web service.
  2. Click on the Create an account option located in the upper left corner of the screen.
  3. Enter your RPI email and password twice.
  4. Complete the fields.
  5. Password must be eight or more characters; contain one numeral, one character and at least one symbol.
  6. Click on the I Agree option.
  7. Your first name will appear on the upper right.

II. Using EndNote Web (from Web of Science)

  1. At Web of Science: Click on Sign In (upper right).
  2. Enter criteria in search box and search by topic.
  3. Select Citations for EndNote (box next to citation).
  4. Click on Save to EndNote online.
  5. Click on Send.
  6. Open EndNote by clicking on the EndNote option from the tool bar.
  7. Click the Unfiled option located at the left of the screen. Doing this will display a number of citations.
  8. Click on the Format tab, and then click on the Bibliography option.
  9. Select Reference Unfiled (or another desired folder), select Bibliographic Style MLA (or other format), and select File Format RTF for use in Word.
  10. Click on Save.
  11. Click on Open.
  12. Open the desired document in Microsoft Word, and click on the EndNote Web tab that should now be available.
  13. Enter your RCS e-mail address and password.
  14. Enter email and password.
  15. Place the cursor at the location where you need to cite the information, and then click on the magnifying glass icon to insert a citation within your document.
  16. Type author's name - doesn't have to be first author.
  17. Highlight citation you need and click insert.
  18. The MLA (or other selected format) citation will be inserted and added to bottom of the document.

III. Using EndNote Web (With Free Databases).

Online Searching (only for FREE resources ie.: PubMed & RPI catalog) Note: "Connections to online databases through EndNote Web originate from the EndNote Web server rather than your connection, so IP authentication or proxy authentication will not take place,..."

  1. Go to EndNote Web.
  2. Click on Collect tab - Online Search.
  3. Can customize this list.
  4. Select database & search.
  5. Select citations (box buttons).
  6. Add to Group --> Unfiled (over citations).

IV. Importing References Using Other Subscribed Databases

  1. Go to EndNote Web.
  2. Click on Import References (Under Collect).
  3. Click on the Select Favorites option. Please note that while some resources do not need the EndNote Import option, others do, and still others need import options specific for their database. Please consult the [ Import Formats Table for more information.].
  4. If you are collecting citations from the Rensselaer Libraries’ discovery tool, note that these citations will be exported directly to EndNote.
  5. All databases hosted on the EBSCO platform are directly exported to EndNote. All databases hosted on the ProQuest platform and on WorldCat generate citations. Therefore there is no need to export ProQuest or WorldCat citations.
  6. For other databases, click on the Collect tab and select the correct import option. In some databases, your citations will be saved to the desktop and you will need to click on the browser button next to File.
  7. Click on the Format tab, and select Bibliography.
  8. Customize the Bibliographic Style List.
  9. Select your references, bibliographic style, and file format.

Table of Import Formats

Information Provider

Recommended Download Format

Import Options


ACM Digital Library

  1. Click on full citation to view article.
  2. Click on EndNote under Tools and Resources.(on right)
  3. Click on download.
  4. At Download site, Click on folder.
  5. Move download to desktop.
  6. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  7. At File find download.

ACM Digital Library.

Ebook Central

  1. Under each book title - Click on EndNote & Citavi.
  2. Save File (biblioExport.action) to downloads. Click O.K.
  3. At Download site, Click on folder.
  4. Move download to desktop.
  5. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  6. At File find download.
RefMan RIS.


  1. Select records (add to folder - on right).
  2. Click on Folder - top bar.
  3. Click on Export (right).
  4. Select the Direct Export option to EndNote Web.
  5. Click on Save (on left).

Exported directly to EndNote Web if registered.


Engineering Village(Compendex & Inspec)

  1. Select records (click box buttons).
  2. Click on Selected Records - upper left.
  3. Click on Download.
  4. Select EndNote.
  5. Click on Save.
  6. At Download site, Click on folder.
  7. Move download to desktop.
  8. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  9. At File find download.

RefMan RIS

IEEE Xplorer

  1. Select records (Click box buttons).
  2. Click on drop-down next to "Download Citations".
  3. Select "RIS - EndNote/Reference Manager/ProCite/RefMan".
  4. Click Download.
  5. At Download site, Click on folder.
  6. Move download to desktop.
  7. In EndNote go to Import References. (under Collect)
  8. At File find download.

RefMan RIS


  1. Select records (Click box buttons).
  2. Click on "Export Selected Citations "
  3. Select "RIS file -EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager".
  4. Click OK.
  5. At Download site, Click on folder.
  6. Move download to desktop.
  7. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  8. At File find download.

RefMan RIS


  1. Select records (Click box buttons).
  2. Select "Citations (EndNote)" from pull down menu [Next to Batch Download].
  3. Click "Retrieve Marked".
  4. Use the Save As feature of your browser.
  5. Enter a file name, select "Text File" from pull down, and click "Save".
  6. At Download site, Click on folder.
  7. Move download to desktop.
  8. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  9. At File find download.

EndNote Import


  1. Select records.
  2. Click on Cite.
  3. ProQuest generates citations in 31 formats.
  4. No need to export to EndNote Web.


  1. Select records (Click box buttons).
  2. Click "Export" [Above Citations].
  3. Select "Select "RIS format (for Reference Manager, ProCite, EndNote)".
  4. Click "Export".
  5. At Download site, Click on folder.
  6. Move download to desktop.
  7. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  8. At File find download.

RefMan RIS


  1. Select records (box buttons).
  2. Click on Export (on right above citations in blue).
  3. Save references in the Tagged Format (*.txt).
  4. At Download site, Click on folder.
  5. Move download to desktop.
  6. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  7. At File find download.

SciFinder (CAS) filter


  1. Bring up single article.
  2. Click on Tools.
  3. Click on download citation.
  4. Click on EndNote.
  5. Click on Download Article Citation Data.
  6. At Download site, Click on folder.
  7. Move download to desktop.
  8. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  9. At File find download.

EndNote Import

Wiley Online Library

  1. Select records (Click box buttons).
  2. Above citations, click on export citations.
  3. Format: Plain Text.
  4. Export Type: Citation.
  5. Click Submit.
  6. At Download site, Click on folder.
  7. Move download to desktop.
  8. In EndNote go to Import References (under Collect).
  9. At File find download.

RefMan RIS.

WorldCat (OCLC)

  1. Click on cite record.
  2. Select format.
  3. No need to export to EndNote Web.


Highlights of U.S. Copyright Law

Below are excerpts from and links to current U.S. Copyight Law, Title 17 of the United States Code, summarizing the rights of copyright holders and the factors determining the "fair use" of protected works for educational purposes.

  • Section 106 outlines the rights owners have over their content,
  • Section 107 recognizes the individual's need to make single copies, i.e. "fair use" of copyrighted works in pursuit of certain kinds of activities, and also recognizes the need of teachers occasionally to make multiple copies for instructional purposes.
  • Section 110 specifies how instructors may incorporate copyright protected digital materials into their curriculum materials.

Excerpts from Title 17:

S. 106 - Exclusive Rights Of Owners

Subject to [other provisions of the law] ..., the owner of copyright under this title has the exclusive rights to do and to authorize any of the following:

  1. to reproduce the copyrighted works in copies or phonorecords;
  2. to prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work;
  3. to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work to the public for sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending;
  4. in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual work, to display or perform the copyrighted work publicly.
  5. in the case of literary, muscial, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomines, and pictorial or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly; and
  6. in the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission.

S. 107 - Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair Use

Notwithstanding the provisions of [the previous sections]..., the fair use of copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is fair use the factors to be considered shall include --

  1. the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for non-profit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work;
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

The fact that a work is unpublished shall not in and of itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

S.110. Limitations on exclusive rights: Exemption of certain performances and displays from the Legal Information Institute [LII] of the Cornell Law School.

Reproduction of Copyrighted Works by Educators and Librarians from the U.S. Copyright Office outlines the standards of educational fair use.

For detailed information on Copyright and Fair Use see this Copyright Quick Guide from Columbia University Libraries - This page is licensed by a Creative Commons Attribution License with attribution to its author Dr. Kenneth D. Crews (formerly of Columbia University).

Copyright and Your Dissertation or Thesis

Copyright is a type of intellectual property relating to how a creative work can be used, altered or duplicated.

Copyright protection typically applies to:
Copyright protection typically applies to literary texts including theses, dissertations, musical scores, and software code, as well as to visual art, performances, sound recordings and even extends to printed circuits.

Rensselaer’s Intellectual Property Policy (2007):

  • recognizes theses and dissertations as “exempted scholarly works;”
  • states that Rensselaer “makes no claim to the ownership of copyright” in these works.
  • you, as the author, hold the copyright and are responsible for determining how your work can be used by others.

U.S. copyright law (Title 17, United States Code)

Title 17 of the United States code regarding U.S. copyright law automatically covers your thesis/dissertation at the time of its creation – that is, when it was fixed in some tangible form – and gives you the right to go to court to stop someone from making copies of your work without your authorization.  If you also want the right to sue for damages beyond regaining legal fees, you will need to register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office.

The copyright icon (©) on a work implies that the work has been registered with the U.S. Copyright Office and is subject to this greater protection. Authors of dissertations and master theses can personally file for copyright registration by obtaining the forms from the U.S. Copyright Office website. (

Because the United States is a signatory to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Work, which is an international agreement about copyright, your U.S. copyright is also recognized by almost every country in the world.

Rensselaer’s Copies of Your Thesis or Dissertation

  • The electronic copy is part of your program requirements
  • Will be made available to members of the Rensselaer community as quickly as possible pending resolution of any intellectual property actions, e.g. a patent filing
  • Considered to be a contribution to the world’s knowledge and Rensselaer is part of that community
  • Will become known to a global audience via such means as ProQuest's Dissertations & Theses database, Rensselaer's library catalog, departmental and personal websites, and by citations to it in other research publications.
  • A print copy of your thesis or dissertation (which the Libraries obtain from ProQuest/UMI), will be made available to anyone at the Folsom Library
  • Individual researchers may request a PDF copy from the library in accordance with U.S. Copyright Law.

Electronic Access Options
Upon submitting your thesis or dissertation, you will have to choose between two access-rights options that affect how your work will be announced and made available to other researchers. These options do not affect how the print copy of your thesis or dissertation will be accessed or used.

Standard Rensselaer License

  • The electronic copy will be available only to current Rensselaer faculty, staff and students, and to on-campus visitors;
  • Rensselaer will only allow the abstract of your work to be viewed by people outside of Rensselaer.
  • Choose this option if you plan to try to find a commercial publisher for your thesis or dissertation.

Creative Commons License

  • Creative Commons License authorizes Rensselaer to permit the electronic copy of your thesis or dissertation to be viewable and available for download to anyone in accordance with the terms identified in a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivative Works 3.0 license.
  • Specifies that anyone may copy or share your thesis or dissertation, but they must attribute the work to you, cannot use the work for any commercial purpose, and cannot modify your work in any way without obtaining your explicit permission.
  • Potentially provides you with faster professional recognition than is gained by using traditional distribution channels, and makes it easier for others to discover and access your work.
  • Not "revocable," i.e. you cannot change this decision later.
  • Your thesis or dissertation may also be considered as published by some entities because you made it available to the general public. Finding a publisher may be harder; and in some European jurisdictions, other intellectual property rights, such as your filing for patent protection, will be affected.

About the ProQuest Dissertation Service

  • Rensselaer has participated in the ProQuest Dissertation Service since the early 1950's.
  • A voluntary program for universities established by an act of the U.S. Congress to preserve doctoral dissertations on microfilm and to promote the dissemination of original research at a national level.
  • UMI/Proquest fee covers the cost of the production of a print copy of your dissertation for preservation at Folsom Library.
  • The licensing agreement you sign authorizes ProQuest to make and sell single copies of your dissertation upon demand.
  • For a fee, the company will also register your copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.
  • For an additional fee, you may also authorize ProQuest to make electronic copies of your dissertation available as an “open access” publication.
Library Policies

The Rensselaer Libraries hold the following policies regarding copyrighted and/or licensed materials for course reserve use, and the copying of materials for individuals:

  • The Libraries will make single copies of copyrighted materials for course reserve use in accordance with "fair use" guidelines and Section 107 or for individuals in accordance with Section 108 of US Copyright Law.
  • The Libraries will not accept a photocopying request, or put items on Course Reserve, for resources whose copyright ownership and licensing agreements cannot be accurately identified or fully determined, or that might violate copyright law.
  • Any material or electronic resource that might infringe on copyright or violate licensing agreements will be immediately removed from Course Reserve.
  • The faculty member requesting course reserve service is responsible for demonstrating that they have received -- or are actively seeking -- the copyright holder’s permission to use the materials, and/or that such usage complies with licensing agreements.

Examples of "Unfair" or Illegal Use

Some examples of situations which are not "fair use" and require obtaining the copyright holder's permission.  Note that such instances also usually entail the payment of royalties for the material’s use:

  • An employee requests a single copy of a work on behalf of a company's research office;
  • A research associate wants to distribute copies of a journal article he or she wrote to persons attending an upcoming national conference, but the copyright notice at the bottom of the page shows the article to be registered in the publisher's name;
  • An instructor wants to use the same photocopies of readings she used for the same course last year;
  • An administrator directs a secretary to photocopy and distribute copies of the Wall Street Journal's "News In Brief" section to all departmental staff daily;
  • An assistant professor requests that three photocopies of a chapter from a book be placed on Course Reserve in the library for his class;
  • An associate professor wants to have photocopies of selected readings sold at the bookstore because there is no satisfactory textbook available.
  • An adjunct professor downloads a file from a library database and posts it on her personal website for students to read.


Sources for Obtaining Usage Permissions

PRINTED PUBLICATIONS - Obtaining permission to make or use copies of journal articles or book chapters frequently can be done via the Copyright Clearance Center(Danvers, MA). The CCC will also handle requests for use of electronic media and will contact rightsholders (publishers) about copyrighted items not its database.

MUSIC PERFORMANCES - The major agents providing information about licensing works for performance are ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC.

SOUND RECORDINGS - The main contact for use of recorded works is RIAA

MOTION PICTURES - two agencies also cover most of the movie industry: Motion Picture Licensing Corp., and Movie Licensing USA / Swank Motion Pictures for schools and other public venues.

Other Useful Resources