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Citation and Reference Management

Using ChatGPT and Other Generative AI

Using Generative AI in Course Assignments

Please confirm with your course instructor before using artificial intelligence (AI) for an assignment. Some courses or assignments do not permit the use of AI tools, while others may allow AI with some limitations.

Any use of AI in assignments must be acknowledged appropriately. Your instructor may provide guidance on how to reference the use of AI tools. Some possible examples include:

  • citation (e.g., in text and/or in a reference list)
  • inclusion in a methods section
  • an appendix including a full transcript of any prompts and AI-generated responses

Risks of Using Information From Generative AI

AI models sometimes produce incorrect, biased, or outdated information. For example, ChatGPT has been found to fabricate citations to sources that do not exist. Verify the accuracy of AI-generated content using reliable sources before including it in your work.

Additionally, there may be legal or ethical issues to consider when using AI. If you intend to publish work incorporating AI-generated content, check the publisher guidelines about what is allowed.

When interacting with AI models, you should be cautious about supplying sensitive information, including personal, confidential, or proprietary information or data.

Citing Generative AI

Some citation styles have begun to develop guidelines for citing ChatGPT and other generative AI. Content from generative AI was initially considered a nonrecoverable source because it couldn't be retrieved: if different users give ChatGPT the same prompt, it produces a unique response each time. However, newly developed third-party tools such as ShareGPT and AI Archives allow you to share output from ChatGPT by producing an archive of the content and a custom link. These tools could be useful for citing your use of AI. ChatGPT has also recently introduced a link-sharing feature, but it is important to note that if you delete a conversation from your account, the link will also break.

The following examples are based on information provided by popular citation styles. As of July 2023, only APA, Chicago, and MLA have posted guidance about citing generative AI. Guidelines may change and new examples may be added, so check back frequently for updates, and consult resources specific to the citation style you are using. If the style does not yet have relevant guidelines, you could consider using the format for software.

APA (7th edition)

An APA Style Blog post gives citation examples along with more advice for using and citing generative AI. APA recommends treating the organization or individual who developed the model as the author.

In-Text Citation


(Author/Creator of AI model, Year of version used)


(OpenAI, 2022)

Reference List Entry


Author/creator of AI model. (Year of model). Name of model (Version of model) [Type or description of model]. Web address of model.


OpenAI. (2022). ChatGPT (Dec 20 version) [Large language model].

Chicago (17th edition)

An FAQ entry on the Chicago style website describes how AI models can be cited. Chicago recommends only citing AI in a note (for the notes-bibliography system) or a parenthetical citation (for the author-date system) and not in a bibliography or reference list. This style treats the AI model as an author.

Footnote or Endnote (Notes-Bibliography System)


Note number. Author, description of prompt, date the text was generated, publisher.

(Omit the prompt if it has been described in your text.)


1. ChatGPT, response to “Explain how to make pizza dough from common household ingredients,” March 7, 2023, OpenAI.

In-Text Citation (Author-Date System)

A parenthetical in-text citation should include any information not described in your text.


(ChatGPT, March 7, 2023)

MLA (9th edition)

An MLA Style Center post includes guidance for using and citing generative AI. MLA does not recommend treating AI tools as authors, so citations should skip the author element.

MLA suggests including the general link to the AI tool (e.g., However, if you use a third-party linking tool like ShareGPT, MLA recommends using that link instead.

In-Text Citation

Include the "title of source" element, shortened based on MLA guidelines if needed. For generative AI, the title will usually be a description of what was generated by the AI model.


("Describe the symbolism")

Works Cited List Entry


“Title of source" prompt. Name of AI Tool, version, Company, Date content was generated, General web address of tool. 


“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT, 13 Feb. version, OpenAI, 8 Mar. 2023, 

Citing Generative AI for Publication

Different publishers are taking different approaches related to the use of generative AI. If you are writing for publication, check the publisher's information for authors.