We know citations can be a true nightmare. Understanding how to use the correct writing format accurately can be the difference between a poor essay and an A+ paper. But not only are there several writing styles, but each one has its own specifications that can significantly impact the final grade of your work if not followed!
Creating your bibliography or references list is essential to credit the source material you are using to validate your academic paper. The best thing you can do to avoid unintentional plagiarism is to have a perfectly accurate reference list. The only problem is that you always have some incorrect citations, and you want to change that now.
Maybe you have already tried following a guideline, but there are still mistakes you know you can correct. So, you are now looking for an online citation generator that gets the hard work done, but you are not sure which is the best among the many alternatives that you find.
Here at Gradehacker, we know that creating your reference list can be more confusing than what it looks like at first sight. We have years in the essay writing service industry, and always want to make the academic journey of students like you easier and shorter. We want you to become a citation expert, and that’s why we are showing you the four best citation machines to finish your references faster and without any mistakes.
What is a Citation Machine?
Citation machines are an online tool that generates the citation you need for your references with the information you add according to the writing format you need. In some cases, all you need to do is paste the link of the website or PDF you are using. The software will access the information from across the web and gather the most important data to turn it into a properly formatted citation. In case they don’t have this automatic citation option, you will have to manually add in the designated blanks information such as the author’s name, publication date, and year.
It is a MUST for every college student because it removes the burden of searching and checking that the information you are using from your citation is in the right order. Most citation machines cover many different writing styles and adapt the citation based on the medium you’re taking it from. Newspaper, magazine articles, journal articles, books, videos. You name it; the software will guide you to cite them properly.
However, there are many alternatives to choose from. Even if they all seem very similar and have the same features on the surface, the truth is that there are minor differences that can best adapt to your needs.
Let’s check them out!
The first option you will find on Google is Citation Machine, and there is a good reason why. It is a service developed by Chegg, a website entirely dedicated to tutoring students, that covers not only the most recent versions of APA and MLA but also Harvard and Chicago style! Additionally, thanks to their search bar, you can type your source’s title and see what their database finds.
After you find your source, Citation Machine will show you the information they were able to recognize, and in case there is something they couldn’t add, you will be able to include it manually. When you click on “complete citation,” you will have your citation properly made, ready to be copy and pasted onto your reference list. It is as easy as it sounds.
The major letdown with this citation maker is that you will need to be attentive to the reference you get, as the APA and MLA generators can have flaws, put the data in the wrong order, or input inaccurate information.
Also, they have a slow-speed loading page, and you’ll have to watch a video to earn 48-hour access before using the service. It can take about three minutes, and after you finish it other ads that slow the page down will continue to appear.
However, you can avoid the ads by paying a monthly subscription fee of $9.95, which offers unlimited access to the citation tool, allows you to use the plagiarism checker, and includes unlimited grammar checks and 30 expert tutoring services for your paper.
Still, if you are only looking for help with your citations, the free version will be more than enough!
Citation Machine Pros
Citation Machine Cons
Cite This For Me
Cite this for me is an open-access generator that converts any source into an accurate citation in just a few clicks. As Chegg also developed it, it has the same features and software that Citation Machine uses, including Harvard style as one of their best advantages.
The most significant difference is that this website has a browser extension, which automatically gathers the information and generates the citation of the page where you are at. So, instead of accessing their site and going through the citation process, you can have your reference in just one click!
Another advantage is that it has clear and thorough guidelines on using the writing styles. Below each search bar, you will find blog articles that tell you the story of APA and MLA and explain how they work and which are the latest updates! And is not only centered on writing your bibliography but also on how to format your entire essay!
Cite this for me is also free and has a premium version of $9.99 a month, which removes the ads and allows you to download all your references in a Word document. Pretty useful, but as there are really few ads, those are $10 you can save without any problem.
Unfortunately, it uses old versions of the most common writing styles. Instead of having the 7th version of APA and the 8th or 9th of MLA, it has the 6th and 7th, respectively. This is a major downside because using a former version of them can cost you significant points in your essay. So beware!
Additionally, the chrome extension is likely to have mistakes. When trying it out on different journals and websites, on some occasions, it failed to recognize the name of the authors. It worked without any problem most of the time, but know that you’ll need to pay extra attention to this one.
Cite This For Me Pros
Cite This For Me Cons
Grafiati is an online bibliographic manager that aims to create references and lists of works cited. They claim to have one of the most accurate services. Instead of using the open-source code used by the other citation machines, they have developed unique algorithms based on scrupulous research, analysis of style manuals, and communication with institutions.
With Grafiati, you will have to paste the title or authors of your source material in their search bar, and then it will show you what their algorithm was able to find. If there is a match, you will simply click on add, and the website will add the complete citation to your bibliography. It is easy to understand, and you’ll have your results fast and in just a few clicks!
What’s better is that most features are available in their free version, which only has a few ads and gives you a total of 20 references per bibliography. With the Cosmic Bibliography premium version of $0.72 a month, Grafiati will provide you unlimited citations, unlock all filters, disable ads, include flexible reference ordering tools, and allow you to download your references in a Word document.
There is a downside to point out and it is that their algorithm is not as complete as the open-source code used by the other services. While it worked perfectly with journals, we found that it failed to find newspaper articles or YouTube videos. It may not be the case for every case, so go ahead and try your luck!
MyBib is a free bibliography and citation generator that creates accurate citations for your bibliography. Just like the other services, it works very similarly and includes APA 6 & 7, Chicago, Harvard, and MLA 7 & 8.
Once you are on the homepage, you first need to create your project, and then you will be able to use the search bar, where you will paste your link or manually enter all the information from your source. When you finish, the software will generate your citation and add it to your bibliography.
Even though it has all the same features as Citation Machine has, what makes it stand out is its browser extension. The MyBib plug-in gets the reference of the website you are at in one click, but unlike Cite this for me, it has fewer mistakes and allows you to change between many writing styles. The most useful features are that it tells you whether that site is credible, and it also includes the in-text citation below your reference. Even better, right?
After you get your reference, you can click on “save to project” to add it to your MyBib bibliography. And once you are done, you can copy your reference list or even download it as a Word document, a free feature that other services have on their premium versions.
MyBib is free and has no ads! You get all of their tools from the start, but in case you want to retribute something for their service, you can always donate to them.
What’s the problem with MyBib? Well, just like the rest, it is not perfect, and its citation generator contains multiple flaws and doesn’t allow you to cite some basic source types properly, like volumes included in a multivolume edition.
Remember to revise it yourself!
Citation machines are incredible tools, and while one can appear to be better than the other, the truth is that none are entirely bulletproof. Try with any of the examples we have just mentioned, and you’ll find a mistake in each of them after a while.
As it is an online tool that gathers information from the internet, the data it imports from the source may get placed incorrectly. You will see that the machine will often be unable to attach the title, author, or date, even when they are there!
And we know what you are thinking: “Aren’t we using citation machines because we don’t completely understand how the writing formatting works?” And yes, while that is true, it is also necessary that you know the order in which the information goes and what are the accepted font styles. If you rely 100% on what the citation machines gives you, you are bound to have a few mistakes!
Instead of depending entirely on the citation software, use it as a guideline to facilitate your work. It is a 50-50 task: citation machines will create the citation for you, and then you’ll have to verify that it has all the information it requires in the correct order! You can do this by having guidelines at hand, just like the one we wrote about APA and MLA.
Once you start with this process, you’ll notice that not only will you finish your essays faster; you’ll also improve your writing skills and get better grades!
If you want to continue learning how to make your college life easier, check out some of our related articles!