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Distance Learning FAQ

How do I access library databases from off-campus?

Access to the CSI Library's databases and electronic resources is restricted to current students, faculty, and staff of the College of Staten Island. In order to access library databases from off-campus, users must sign in with their CSI Faculty/Staff or Student e-mail account. (Students can also sign in with their SLAS username [firstname.lastname] and password. This is the same password used for logging in to computers in the lab or library.)

Further information about CSI email accounts is available from the Office of Technology Systems (OTS).

Screenshot of library resource login page

If you do not have a CSI email account or do not know your email login, please contact the HelpDesk at 718-982-3695 or Office Automation and User Services at 718-982-2162.

Users can access CUNY-wide electronic resources using their library barcode. Students, faculty, and staff with a valid CSI ID card can obtain a library barcode at the Circulation Desk.

How do I access my CSI email account?

Through a CUNY-wide partnership with Microsoft, CSI uses Office 365 for its student email system. To access your CSI email account, go to the Office 365 website: and log in using your username and password.

  • Login:
  • Password: Csi+student# (# located under your picture on your ID card)
  • Example:
  • sally.smith
  • Csi12345678

To enroll for self-service password reset, or to reset your password online (for enrolled users), see: For more information, visit the Live@CSI website. If you have difficulty accessing your email, please contact the Student Technology HelpDesk at 718.982.HELP (4357).


How do I find resources in my subject area?

The CSI Library offers a collection of online research guides to help you locate resources in your subject area. Each guide lists selected databases, reference works, books, journals, and Internet websites useful for finding information on a particular subject. If you need additional assistance locating resources, contact the subject librarian in your area of study.

How do I cite my sources?

Why Citing is Important

Citation is an important part of the research process because ...

  • It allows others to identify and locate the materials used in your work. Many readers rely on citations and footnotes to identify other relevant literature on a topic.
  • It demonstrates the depth of your research showing that you have read and engaged the relevant literature on your topic. This indicates that you have an informed understanding of your subject and enhances the credibility of your findings.
  • It allows you to give proper credit for the ideas of others and avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism refers to the process of copying the work of others and submitting it as one's own. Plagiarism is a violation of the College of Staten Island's  Academic Integrity policy. For further information on plagiarism and tips on how to avoid it, check out Baruch College's Plagiarism Tutorial.

What Needs to be Cited

Whenever you quote, paraphrase, summarize, or otherwise refer to the work of another, you must cite the source using either a parenthetical citation, footnote, or endnote. In addition, a bibliography or list of works cited, is almost always placed at the end of your paper.

Parenthetical citations (also referred to as "in-text citations") are abbreviated citations that direct readers to the full bibliographic citations listed in your works cited. In most cases, parenthetical citations include the author's last name and the page number for the information cited.

Footnotes and endnotes contain full bibliographic citations for the first time a source is cited and abbreviated citations (author's last name and page number) for each successive citation. The primary difference between footnotes and endnotes is that footnotes are placed numerically at the foot of the same page where the references are made, while endnotes are placed numerically at the end of the essay on a separate page entitled Endnotes or Notes.

The precise format of your citations depends on which citation style you use.

Which Citation Style to Use

Different academic disciplines use different citation styles. The three most popular citation styles are MLA, APA, and Chicago. Usually your professor will specify which citation style they prefer, but there are some general guidelines for which style is most common in certain fields.


Often used for: Art, Literature, and the Humanities

MLA Formatting and Style Guide Description: Quick reference guide to the MLA style offering examples of common citations.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers Location: 1st Fl Reference LB2369.G53 2016 Description: The authoritative source for MLA citation style and writing guidelines; most commonly used in English and the Humanities.

Valencia College Color-coded Guide Description: These color-coded guides from Valencia College adhere to formatting rules from the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th ed.


Often used for: Psychology and the Social Sciences

APA Style Guide Description: Quick reference guide to the APA style offering examples of common citations.

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association Location: 1st Fl Reference BF76.7.P83 2010 Description: The authoritative source for APA citation style and writing guidelines for the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Valencia College Color-coded Guide Description: Color-coded citation guides from Valencia College.


Often used for: History, Humanities, and the Sciences

Chicago Style Guide Description: Quick reference guide to the Chicago style offering examples of common citations. 

Chicago Manual of Style Online Description: Electronic edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

Chicago Manual of Style Location: 1st Fl Reference Z253.U69 2010 Description: The authoritative source for Chicago citation style and writing guidelines used in History and the Humanities.

Valencia College Color-coded Guide Description:Color-coded citation guides from Valencia College.

Citation Tools

Citation tools, or bibliographic citation managers, allow you to collect and store citations for books and articles found in library catalogs and databases. Some citation tools can be integrated with word processing applications (like Microsoft Word) to automatically generate in-text citations and bibliographies in whatever citation format you specify. Citation tools help you better manage your research sources and save you alot of time when writing your papers.

RefWorks Web-based bibliographic citation manager that allows researchers to create their own personal database of research references by importing records from library catalogs and online databases. Researchers can organize, store, and access their references from their online RefWorks account as well as automatically generate formatted citations and bibliographies in any style. This is a CSI Library subscription resource. For college login information, contact the Library Reference Desk (718.982.4010) or Naomi Gold (718.982.4097).

EndNote Web Web-based bibliographic citation manager available through Web of Knowledge that allows researchers to store and organize references imported from databases and automatically generate formatted bibliographies. Registration is required. If you already have a Web of Knowledge account, you can use the same login to access EndNote Web.

Zotero A free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. Zotero offers an easy way to collect, tag, and share citations simply by clicking a button in your web browser.

KnightCite KnightCite is a free online citation generator. Simply enter information about the item you want to cite (author, title, publisher, etc.) and KnightCite will automatically generate a properly formatted citation in the style you choose (MLA, APA, or Chicago). Registered users can save and order lists of citations for a bibliography and export them into a Microsoft Word document.

Citation Machine Citation Machine is free online citation generator. Users can enter information about the source they need to cite (author, title, publisher, etc.) and Citation Machine will automatically generate standard bibliographic and in-text citations in the style of their choice (MLA, APA, Turabian, or Chicago).

Writing Guides

For more information about conducting research, writing and formatting papers, citing sources, and creating bibliographies, please consult the following writing guides:

A Writer's Reference Location: 1st Fl Reserves PE1408 .H2778 2015 Description: Handbook for writing college papers and citing sources in APA, MLA, or Chicago style.

Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles Location: Stacks - 3rd Floor PN 171 .F56 L55 2006 Description: Offers guidance on how to cite sources and avoid plagiarism; covers all different citation styles (Chicago, MLA, APA, CSE, AMA, ACS, etc.) with examples drawn from a range of sources crossing all disciplines.

Craft of Research Location: e-book Description: Guide for planning, carrying out, and reporting on research for any field and at any level. Demonstrates how to choose a topic, plan and organize research, and draft and revise a report.

Handbook of Technical Writing Location: 1st Fl Reference T11.B78 1997 Description: Guide to research, writing, and documentation in the sciences with abundant examples and sample documents.

Pocket Style Manual Location: 1st Fl Reserve PE1408 .H26 2015 Description: Concise pocket guide for writing college papers and citing sources in APA, MLA, or Chicago style.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab [OWL] for APA Location: Online Description: An electronic reference source created by Purdue University for citing sources in APA format.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab [OWL] for Chicago Location: Online Description: An electronic reference source created by Purdue University for citing sources in Chicago format.

Purdue's Online Writing Lab [OWL] for MLA Location: Online Description: An electronic reference source created by Purdue University for citing sources in MLA format.

Science and Technical Writing: A Manual of Style Location: 1st Fl Reference T11.S378 2001 Description: Offers instruction on how to write and publish scientific papers, including paragraphing, grammar, punctuation and spelling as well as how to present numbers, mathematical symbols and scientific notation.

Scientific Writing: A Reader and Writer's Guide Location: Stacks - 3rd Floor T11 .L455 2007 Description: Step-by-step guide to writing scientific research papers as well as useful tips for keeping readers engaged.

Work of Writing: Insights and Strategies for Academics and Professionals Location: Stacks - 3rd Floor PE1404 .R356 2001 Description: Offers instruction on producing lively and engaging academic writing; deals with the complex issues of purpose, audience, genre, and voice as opposed to technical details of structure and format.

How do I access popular newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times?

Currently the Library provides access to a wide variety of newspapers in multiple databases. Please consider using all our resources, particularly Nexis Uni, Ethinic Newswatch, and America's News. 

The New York Times
You can access The New York Times in several ways. Access is provided via the "New York Times Historical" ProQuest database for articles from 1851 to 4 years ago. For more current access, please sign up for a New York Times Online Academic Pass. Any student, staff, or faculty member can register for free at using their CUNY email. Once registered, you can log in to your own personal NY Times profile from any computer without going through the library web site. Please note that faculty and staff personal academic subscriptions must be updated annually. The academic pass also includes NYT Magazine and Book Review content. To access NYT articles from 1980- present without an academic pass account, please use the Nexis Uni database. Use the Guided Search and select "A publication" and then enter the full title "The New York Times."

The Wall Street Journal
Access to The Wall Street Journal is also currently provided via free registration with any CUNY email. This online access includes full text content from 1997-present. Once registered through, you can log in to your own personal account from any computer without going through the library web site. You can access the paper on desktops or you can download the WSJ apps for your mobile devices. For articles from 1970 to present, please use the Nexis Uni database to search the "Wall Street Journal Abstracts" and we will provide access via Interlibrary Loan. Use the Guided Search and select "A publication" and then enter "Wall Street Journal Abstracts." 

Are there any tips or resources for moving my class online?

How do I get in touch with a librarian?

Librarians are available to guide you to appropriate resources for your research project, assist you to develop successful research strategies, and help you search print and electronic resources effectively. There are many ways to get in touch with a CSI librarian:

Chat with a Librarian

Our online chat service is available 24/7. If a CUNY librarian is not available, an academic librarian from one of our partner libraries will assist you.

Launch Chat

Submit a Question

Use our question submission form to email a reference librarian. Submissions are monitored Monday - Friday, 10am - 5pm.

Ask a reference librarian

Find out how to...

Get answers to frequently-asked questions through our FAQ guide. The FAQ can help you navigate Library resources and services like using Library computers and borrowing or renewing books.

Check the FAQ


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