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Guidance on how to cite A.I. generated text using various citation styles.

Citing A.I. Generated Text

Current status on style guidelines for citing A.I. tools (last updated: May 21, 2023)

As of May, 2023, a few citation styles (APA, Chicago, MLA) have provided guidance on how to cite content created by or with the help of A.I. technology.   This is a quickly evolving topic and changes official guidance may occur faster than this guide is updated.

General guidance

**Check with your instructor before using A.I. in any of your assignments. 
If your instructor allows the use of ChatGPT or other A.I. tools for class work, you should 

  • Disclose any use of A.I. technology in your work.
  • Cite any content of any kind that was generated with the help of an A.I. tool – no matter if you paraphrase it, quote it, or incorporate it into your own work.
  • Identify how you used it, and also identify the specific tool(s) you used

Personal communication

Most authorities on citation styles who have not yet published concrete guidelines are recommending that we treat A.I. generated text the same way we would treat personal communications, like verbal or email conversations. Why? Because most textual content created by A.I. tools is currently non-retrievable by anyone other than the person that originally asked for the generated content, and is only accessible by the login credentials of that user. 

Made-up facts and resources (='hallucination')

Current generative A.I. tools show a tendency to invent 'facts' and even academic-sounding resources that on first sight are indistinguishable from existing ones. They come with all relevant details, like authors, journals titles, abstracts, even DOIs or URLs - except, that they are non-existant. The A.I. tool made them up – it 'hallucinated' them (in A.I.-related terminology). Generative A.I. – no matter which tool you use – tends to 'hallucinate', because of how the technology behind it (so-called large-language models) works. You should be aware of that, even when using it outside of an academic context. To avoid citing such a 'ghost resource', you should thoroughly vet all sources an A.I. tool mentions by using credible academic resources, and give credit to them in your work, if they are real. 


Prompts are the search terms or 'string' of text you enter into an A.I. application to generate a response.  Even if the citation style you are using does not require it, we recommend that you reference the prompt that helped create the text you are citing. This can be considered good practice because it increases transparency about how you arrived at the text you are citing and because it can contribute to a better understanding of these rapidly evolving tools.

Additional Resources


This resource was adapted with permission from Christian Schmidt and University of Victoria Libraries.

Original source: