Citing the work that supports your research is both an ethical issue and a legal issue.
The ethics of citing is based on the scholarly tradition of giving credit for information and ideas that are not one's own. Science has a long tradition of acknowledging priority through citations. You have the ethical responsibility to cite all works that were used to support your research, to give credit to the earlier work and to provide a clear path for those who follow in your footsteps.
As so eloquently expressed by Isaac Newton in a letter to Robert Hooke in 1675 (Merton 1965:
If I have seen further it is by standing on ye sholders of Giants.
The legal issues of citing one's sources are codified in Copyrights, Title 17 of the U.S. Code, which describes the legal protections of authors' and creators' intellectual property rights.
[Merton, RK. 2006. On the shoulders of giants: a Shandean postscript. New York: The Free Press. p. 31]
Plagiarism is defined as:
"The action or practice of taking someone else's work, idea, etc., and passing it off as one's own; literary theft"
(OED Online 2006). [OED Online [Internet]. plagiarism, n. Oxford University Press. 2006. [cited 2007 Jul 30]. Available from: [http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50180576]
AMA Style Guide (from University of Washington)
This guide is based on the AMA Manual of Style: Guide for Authors and Editors, 10th ed. [Print copy of complete guide available in the Science & Technology Reference Collection Ref R119 .A533 2007]
Council of Science Editors (CSE) Style Guide (from The Ohio State University Libraries)
This guide is based on Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, 7th edition. [Print copy of complete guide available at the Science and Technology Reference Desk T11 .S386 2006]
Endnote is an application that imports citations from your searches in web databases and helps you organize your references. It works with Microsoft Word helping you create in-text citations, footnotes, and bibliographies.
The Guides below provide more information on using EndNote ($) and EndNote Basic.
Zotero, a FireFox plugin, allows you to import citations directly from web-based indexes and webpages. You can also store documents (pdfs of articles downloaded) in your Zotero folder, usually located on your hard drive. Zotero works with Word and OpenOffice to generate citations in your document. See the Zotero Guide for more information.
Mendeley extracts citation data from downloaded pdfs and other formats thus helping you manage your library of papers. You can export your citations from Mendeley as Endnote XML, then import into Endnote using the XML filter. To transfer the documents you've save in Mendeley, simply transfer the saved files in your Mendeley My Collection folder to the Endnote Data folder (into the pdf folder) --your citations with pdfs will then be imported. Mendeley works with OpenOffice and Word to create citations in your document.
See the Mendeley Guide for more information.