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Using Generative AI

How to Cite Generative AI

Acknowledging your use of generative AI may not always involve a formal citation. For example, you could write a description of the tool you used and how you used it. For guidance on how to acknowledge use of AI in assignments, check with your course instructor. 

Some citation styles have developed 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, you can now share output from ChatGPT using the linking feature within the tool or a third-party tool such as ShareGPT or AI Archives. These kinds of links can be useful for citing generative AI content. It is important to note that if you use the link feature within ChatGPT, deleting a conversation from your account will also cause the link to break.

The following examples are based on information provided by popular citation styles. As of February 2024, 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.

Because the examples in the blog post were last updated in April 2023, some of the information may no longer be applicable. For example, ChatGPT no longer provides date-based versions that can easily be found and included in references. The following templates and examples use APA-style format as their basis but have been adapted based on ongoing changes to generative AI tools.

In-Text Citation


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


(OpenAI, 2024)

(Black Technology LTD, 2024)

Reference List Entry


Author/creator of AI model. (Year of model). Name of model (Version of model) [Type or description of model]. Retrieved month day, year, from https://xxxxx..


OpenAI. (2024). ChatGPT 3.5 [Large language model]. Retrieved February 26, 2024, from

Black Technology LTD. (2024). Stable Diffusion (Online version) [Image generator]. Retrieved February 28, 2024 from

Note: ChatGPT currently has two available models: ChatGPT 3.5, which is free, and ChatGPT 4, which is subscription-based. The model you are using will appear at the top of the page where you enter prompts.

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, unless you provide a publicly available URL (e.g., through a browser extension like ShareGPT or A.I. Archives). This style treats the AI model as an author.

Footnote or Endnote (Notes-Bibliography System)


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

(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,” OpenAI, February 26, 2024.

2. Stable Diffusion, image generated in response to "Pepperoni pizza" in a surrealist style, Black Technology LTD, February 28, 2024.

In-Text Citation (Author-Date System)

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


(ChatGPT 3.5, February 26, 2024)

(Stable Diffusion, February 28, 2024)

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")

("Green light")

Works Cited List Entry


“Title of source" prompt. Name of AI Tool, version, Company, Date content was generated, URL to AI tool or archived content. 


“Describe the symbolism of the green light in the book The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald” prompt. ChatGPT 3.5, OpenAI, 26 Feb. 2024, 

"Green light in The Great Gatsby in a futuristic style" prompt. Stable Diffusion, online version, Black Technology LTD, 28 Feb. 2024,

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.

This page was adapted from ChatGPT and Other Generative AI Tools by the University of Queensland Library, which is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.