Best Practices: Handling Citation Questions



To better serve learners across the province, AskAway is developing an ongoing series of best practices. Best Practices: Handling Citation Questions were recommended and endorsed by the AskAway Advisory Committee and were developed with input from AskAway local coordinators.


Approximately 15-20% of questions on AskAway are citation questions. How citation questions are approached varies among service providers. This reflects the varied approaches that library reference staff take to citation questions when providing in-person or email reference help at their library.

As a post-secondary library service, AskAway operates with the goal of teaching students sound principles and techniques of information literacy rather than simply providing them with answers. This goal informs these best practices.

By following Best Practices: Handling Citation Questions, service providers will share a consistent approach to handling citation questions and ultimately, students will learn how to cite with confidence.


These best practices will be shared with service providers via training and the staff website.

These best practices provide recommendations on how to handle citation questions at AskAway. A service provider’s individual preference and the number of chats they are handling as well as their library’s policies or practices may affect how these best practices are applied.