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In this library orientation we will be focussing on APA citation style for specific chemistry resources. Use the tabs on the left to find library tools and tips for doing chemistry research, along with other library services.

We will also work on a citation exercise together in class. I'll put up the answers at the bottom of this page, after the orientation. 

Let me know if you'd like to add anything that others could find useful.

Celia Brinkerhoff, Chemistry Librarian

Web Resources

The following are freely available, reliable  sources for searching chemical structures, properties, formulas and more.

Use them in your lab reports, but remember to check their licenses to see what use is permitted. Look for a copyright statement on the home page that will indicate permitted uses.

For the web resources below, copying and re-using is permitted, but attribution is required; that is, you are free to use the information on the sites, but you must provide a statement as to their source.

For your lab report, remember to include a number, caption, and statement indicating the source of the image. The source should also appear on your reference list.

A note about Wikipedia:

Wikipedia and its related sites may provide useful background information on a topic, images, and other media. Exploring recommended links to external sites, further reading, and references often leads to information on government and research sites that is freely accessible to the public. Use your best critical thinking to determine whether a site is accurate, credible, and relevant to your research.

Think of Wikipedia as a starting point for your research. You should not be citing Wikipedia in your lab reports.


Citing Sources for a Chemistry Lab Report

We'll take some class time to review the basics about when and how to cite specific resources for your chemistry labs.


Zotero is a free browser tool that keeps track of your articles and webpages, and creates citations in several formats. Sign up for a free account, and your personal library will be accessible from any computer with an internet connection.

The short video below, from Idaho State University Libraries, will give you a sense of what Zotero can do. For help installing and using it, go to


Citation Generators

In addition to the various citation tools and permanent folders available in many of the Library's subscription databases, there are several free, web-based tools useful for formatting quick citations. Use such tools with caution though: they frequently result in incomplete or incorrect citations. It is ultimately your responsibility to make sure that your citations are correct. Always consult the Library's citation guides as a final step.

Citation Style Quick Links

Consult our online APA Citation style guide for the most up-to-date information on formatting your paper and citing your sources in several styles. 

Not sure what sources need to be credited in your paper? Check our Academic Integrity and Plagiarism guide to understand the importance of acknowledging the source of your information.

For additional help, visit the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University.

Reference Examples for Organic Chemistry

Here are the completed  reference examples from our library orientation. For examples of more common types of references (books, journal articles), please consult the Library's APA guide, available online or in print at all campuses. 

Remember that all entries in a reference list must be double-spaced and indented.

Specific entries from the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics.

Fixed-point properties of H2O and D2O. (2016). In W. M. Haynes (Ed.), CRC handbook of chemistry and physics ( 97th ed., pp. 6-9). CRC Press.

Water. (2016). In W. M. Haynes (Ed.), CRC handbook of chemistry and physics ( 97th ed., pp. 4-94). CRC Press.

CHEM  laboratory manual.

Faculty of Science and Horticulture. (2016). Chemistry 2320: Introduction to Organic Chemistry I (Fall 2016 ed.). Kwantlen Polytechnic University Bookstore.

Specific page from a website.

Royal Society of Chemistry. (2016). Aspirin.


To make proper attribution to any photographs or figures you use in your work, first consider whether you are the creator of the image, or whether you have copied, or adapted it, from another source.

In the case of using your own photograph or figure:

  • you only need to include a numbered caption below the figure, with a brief explanation.
    • For example:  Figure 1.  The standard apparatus for fractional distillation.
  • you DO NOT need to include a reference to this in the reference list

In the case of an image that you have copied or adapted:

  • include a numbered caption explaining the figure, and a statement with details referencing the source the image was reprinted or adapted from.
    • For example. Figure 3. 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectrum. Reprinted from Practical organic synthesis: A student's guide by R. Keese, M. P. Brandle, & T. B.Toube, 2006, p. 68. Copyright 2006 by John Wiley & Sons. 
  • you DO need to include a full entry for this item in the reference list.

See the Library's APA guide, Tables and Figures tab, for more examples.


A note about personal communications, such as emails, interviews, class notes, etc. APA considers these types of sources to be "unpublished". As such, include a brief in-text citation for your source, but it is NOT necessary to include it in your reference list.

For example, an in-text citation referring to your classmate's notes, might look like this:

(J. Smith, CHEM 2420 lecture notes, June 24, 2015).........

See the Library's APA guide, Various Other Sources tab, for more examples.