July 2011 Archives

Citing Online Sources

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citation_needed.jpgAs the Internet becomes more omnipresent, students use more and more academic resources online. Conducting research online can be daunting, whether you grew up hunting and pecking on a typewriter or had your own website by age nine. How do you tell which sources are reliable? And how do you incorporate them into a paper or essay? We're here to help! We previously blogged about how to use Wikipedia for research, and this post will cover how to cite Thinkwell and other online sources.

First, it's important to know that although certain information is always important, there's no universally correct way to cite any source. There are several different style manuals, each of which has its own way of organizing information in citations. Two of the most common styles are American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA). APA is usually used in social sciences, whereas MLA is usually used in the humanities, but you should use whichever one your instructor prefers. Here's a guide to APA and MLA citation styles for online sources:


The APA format for citing a website in your "works cited" page is as follows:

Author. (Publication date). Document title. Retrieved from URL

For example, to cite the lecture on chemical digestion from Thinkwell Biology, you might write the following in your "works cited" page (I put extra information in the "document title" section because Thinkwell is set up in such a way that I can't provide a more detailed URL):

Thinkwell. (2000). Biology: Animal systems and homeostasis; The digestive system;
The beginning of chemical digestion. Retrieved from http://www.thinkwell.com

Within the body of a paper, the APA format for parenthetical citation is:

(Author, year, page number if applicable)

The parenthetical citation in your paper would look something like this:

Chemical digestion is an important part of the digestive system (Thinkwell, 2000).


The MLA format for citing a website in your "works cited" page is as follows:

Author. "Document Title." Website Title. Name of organization running the website, date of publication. Web. Date of access.

For example, to cite the lecture on weak acids from Thinkwell Chemistry, you might write the following:

Thinkwell. "Weak Acids." Thinkwell Chemistry. Thinkwell, 2000. Web. 15 Jul 2011.

Within the body of a paper, the MLA format for parenthetical citation is:


The parenthetical citation in your paper would look something like this:

Strong acids are more dissociated than weak acids (Thinkwell).

Still confused? Check out the Purdue Online Writing Lab, BibMe, or Citation Machine for more help with bibliographies and citations. Citing Thinkwell in a research paper will be a breeze!

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Thumbnail image for lorenz1.JPGWhen you think of non-linear mathematics, your mind may not jump immediately to crocheting, but Thinkwell's summer intern Gregory Becker found a really cool way to combine the two. For his high-school senior thesis, he crocheted a Lorenz manifold. What exactly is a Lorenz manifold? I'll let him explain in his own words:

"The Lorenz system is a chaotic system of dimension 2.06 (+ or - 0.01, empirically discovered). The most famous image of the Lorenz system is the Lorenz attractor. You can picture the two 'wings' of the Lorenz attractor as the collection of possible paths that a leaf floating downstream could take around an obstacle.

The less famous image of the system is the Lorenz manifold. Impossible to represent accurately in a stable two-dimensional medium, the Lorenz manifold sits between the wings and represents the collection of paths by which the leaf collides with the obstacle.

Because of the challenge in representing the Lorenz manifold, a small niche of the mathematical community has taken to crocheting it. Crocheting works well for representing the manifold for two reasons: It can warp, and it can represent a lattice."
Here's a close-up of Gregory's Lorenz manifold, which has 25,511 stitches (!) and took just over 150 hours (!!) to crochet and mount.

Gregory is interning at Thinkwell as an advanced mathematics adviser for our Trigonometry and Calculus titles. He graduated from the Austin Waldorf School and will be attending Williams College in the fall as a mathematics major. We can't wait to see what his senior thesis at Williams will look like!

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It's the 4th of July weekend, and Thinkwell is celebrating America's independence by giving you a free video about the history leading up to the Revolutionary War. In this video, Professor Gerald Rosenberg discusses Britain's increasingly fraught relationship with the American colonies, from the Mayflower Compact to the Boston Tea Party. Watch the video for the full story!

And if you're looking for other learning opportunities this 4th of July, look no further. Here's a roundup of helpful links:

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This page is an archive of entries from July 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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