Social Citations

Last Updated: March 13th, 2018

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Social citations refers to storing, sorting, classifying, sharing and searching through a collection of internet based bookmarked links of citable sources such as e-journals, news articles, academic studies and interviews.

Social citations function similarly to social bookmarking sites but are intended to be used for the collection of academic and citable resources. Social citation sites function by using an application or website to bookmark a piece of information and store it on the internet for personal use, to share with a friend or group, or for public viewing. These citations can be tagged and organized into predefined categories or into a new category as defined by the user. The tags of all users are compiled together in order to create a searchable folksonomy of information within the social citation site. This allows academics researching or interested in similar areas to connect and share resources.

Some popular social citation applications and websites include:

Application to All Courses

The application of social citations will be similar in regular, large enrollment, online or hybrid enrollment courses. Some of the major benefits of social citations include:

  • Provides a constantly evolving list of internet based academic papers and resources.
  • Can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection rather than only on an individual’s desktop or laptop computer.
  • Bookmarked and tagged citations compile allowing users to see which academic papers are tagged by the most people.
  • Users with similar interests can search within a keyword phrase or tag to find citations posted by other users or can add information under a tag to increase and strengthen the folksonomy.
  • Users can share their library with others, and find out who is reading the same papers. This can help users discover literature which is relevant to their field but may have been unknown to them.
  • Stores resources for access by individuals, groups, or the public. Also allows users to recommend resources to others.
  • Most social citation sites will automatically extract citation details in MLA or APA formats.
  • Many social citation sites will allow users to export their library to either BibTeX or Endnote to aid in building a bibliography.

Teaching Methods

Some of the ways in which social citations can be utilized in the classroom include:

  • Cite and tag resources for students to access during the semester as part of required readings, extra credit readings, or class resources. The social citation site can then be made available to subsequent sections of the class and continuously modified.
  • Require students to bookmark and tag resources for bibliographies, works cited, and literature reviews.
  • Create a project in which students must find reliable sources on the internet related to a course topic and tag them into a social citation site. Discuss what constitutes a reliable internet source. Evaluate the resources as a class activity, have students work in groups and evaluate the resources of other groups, or have students evaluate the resources of other students individually.


Getting Started

  • Social citation sites require that you have a username and password in order to save your citations and recommend resources to others.
  • After you join a social citation service and obtain a username and password you will be asked to download a browser extension. However, with many social citation sites it is possible to tag resources without an extension.
  • To save a resource citation for later use click on the icon that represents your social citation program.
  • A window will pop up allowing you to categorize your resources into various tags, insert information about the resource, and recommend the resource to others.
  • You can also save a citation by searching for an article URL. The social citation site will automatically compile the necessary citation components for referencing the citation.
  • In order to send information to others they must be a part of your social citation “network.” This can be done by inviting another user to join your network. Once they are a part of your network you can make recommendations to them.
  • The social citation program will file your resource in accordance with the tags you selected. In order to retrieve the resource click on the tag under which it has been saved.

Additional Resources

Articles – Journal and Academic

  • Feedback as dialogue: exploring the links between formative assessment and social software in distance learning: A scholarly article from the journal &Learning, Media and Technology” exploring the relationship between formal assessment and social software including social software such as social citations, wikis and blogs.
  • Social software and libraries: a literature review from the LASSIE project: A scholarly literature review from the journal “Program: electronic library and information systems” discussing various social software tools including social citations and the benefits for library systems and research.
  • Virtuallythere – Social Citations: A wiki article from the University of Auckland with detailed information on social citations, links to social citation sites, and references.

Articles – Blogs, Websites, Wikis

Social Citation Websites and Applications

  • BibSonomy: A social bookmarking site that includes a platform for literature exchange.
  • Citeline: A social citation service to facilitate the web publishing of bibliographies and citation collections as interactive exhibits.
  • CiteULike: A social citation site that specializes in the cataloging of academic papers.
  • EasyBib: A social citation site that allows for the collection, categorization, and storing of academic resources.
  • Endnote: A social citation tool for managing and citing references in papers and creating bibliographies.
  • Mendeley: A free social software for managing and sharing research papers.

For information on similar tools in the CITT Tools & Techniques Toolbox visit:

Accessibility Statement

Keep accessibility in mind as you develop course content and build assignments and assessments. Many online tools are not fully accessible, so it’s important to think about how you will make the assignment accessible if requested. The Disability Resource Center and the UF Accessibility page will guide you in making appropriate accommodations. You can also find out more about accessibility at our toolbox page on Accessibility in the Online Classroom.

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