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Library 101: Using the Information

A guide to help you make the most out of your library experience. Learn what types of resources we have, and how you can get and use them.

Using the Information

You use the information you find to support your thoughts and ideas in papers and projects, or to make decisions.  Whenever you use information in a paper or project, you need to give credit to the author of that information using citations.


Most of what you do for a school or work paper or project should be in your own words, from your own thoughts.  But, using information from credible, authoritative sources makes what you have to say all that much stronger.  There are three ways to incorporate others' information into your own - paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting.  Paraphrasing takes what the source has to say and puts it in your own words.  Summarizing digests a lot of information into a smaller amount.  And quoting takes words directly as you find them in the source.  In general, you will want more paraphrases and summaries than quotes.  Only use quotes when the author's words are so good that you can't put them any better or different.

View the videos below to learn more about these three methods of using information.

Smrt English. How to Write a Summary. YouTube.

Scribbr. How to Quote in Under 5 Minutes. YouTube.

BYU MCOM. Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing. YouTube.


Of course, when you use information in any of these three ways, you need to cite your source.  You will generally cite it in the body of your work, whether it be a paper, speech, report, or most anything else, indicating to the reader/listener/user that the information comes from an outside source - that you have borrowed the information.  There will also be a full citation on the Works Cited Page/References Page/Bibliography.

Use the Northeast State Citation Guides to see how to accomplish both types of citation in MLA, APA and Chicago Formats.