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Artificial Intelligence

This guide is created for the UMGC community, with resources and information about Artificial Intelligence that can help students, faculty, and the greater community.

Citing AI

The current consensus across most citation styles is to cite AI as "personal communication" because content from AI tools like ChatGPT is usually nonrecoverable or not easily trackable unless it is directly from your account, so it cannot be retrieved or linked in your citation. 

Confirm with your professor whether AI tools like ChatGPT are allowed for use within your assignments and course work before use.

Some articles about citations and AI tools are linked below. 

AI and Hallucinations

Warning! If you tell ChatGPT and other AI apps to write something on a topic and include citations, AI will often make up citations (sometimes called hallucinated citations) for nonexistent articles.

Here are ways to spot a citation that AI made up out of thin air:

  • author names may be super common, like Smith and Brown
  • article title is a mishmash of words from your prompt
  • DOI doesn't work or links to a completely different (and real) article
  • made-up citations will, however, often use the name of a real author or a real journal, even though the article supposedly cited does not exist

Pro tip: Use Google to check a ChatGPT-generated citation. If you Google almost any real citation, you will quickly find evidence of the article online--you will see the article listed on the journal website, for example, or in the reference list of another article. By Googling a real citation, you can usually confirm that the article exists. That is not the case with ChatGPT hallucinatory citations. Try Googling one: copy and paste it in its entirety into Google, or try Googling the author along with a phrase from the title (put the title phrase inside quotation marks, so Google searches it as an exact phrase). If you search Google for an article based on an unreal citation, you usually can quickly determine that the article itself doesn't exist.

So please beware: ChatGPT and other AI can create citations that are worse than useless, because they're deceptive. The citations look real, but no actual, published article is connected to them.

For more information on AI and hallucinations see Don't be a victim of AI hallucinations.

Citing AI in APA Style

At this time, APA recommends that text generated from AI be cited and formatted as "Personal Communication." More details regarding the guidelines on this topic can be found in a specific post on How to Cite ChatGPT written by the APA Style team. 

As personal communication, it receives an in-text citation but not an entry on the References list.

Personal Communication Rule: (Communicator, personal communication, Month Date, Year)

Parenthetical Citation Example: 

(OpenAI, personal communication, July 17, 2023).

When describing the connection between cattle ranching and sustainability efforts, OpenAI's ChatGPT's response included ... (personal communication, June 15, 2023).

Citing AI in MLA Style

From "How do I cite generative AI in MLA style?": 

The MLA’s method for citing sources uses a template of core elements—standardized criteria that writers can use to evaluate sources and create works-cited-list entries based on that evaluation. That new technologies like ChatGPT emerge is a key reason why the MLA has adopted this approach to citation—to give writers flexibility to apply the style when they encounter new types of sources.

This blog post is from March 17, 2023 and is currently the most up to date guidance on citing AI tools in MLA style. 

They do state, "We do not recommend treating the AI tool as an author. This recommendation follows the policies developed by various publishers, including the MLA’s journal PMLA."

Citing AI in Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style editors have released a Q&A post on referencing AI-generated text to cite AI tools like ChatGPT within the text or in footnotes, but notes "don’t cite ChatGPT in a bibliography or reference list unless you provide a publicly available link." 


Footnote: Note number. AI tool used, Month Day, Year, Creator of tool, URL.

  • Numbered Footnote with shareable URL:  1. Text generated using ChatGPT, August 22, 2023, OpenAI, 
  • Numbered Footnote (when prompt is written in text):  1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, August 22, 2023, 
  • Numbered Footnote (when prompt is not mentioned in text): 1. Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, August 22, 2023,

In-text Author-Date Example: 

In-text citation - narrative (author-prominent):

  • Rule: Author (year)
  • Example: ChatGPT (2023) or Bard (2023)

In-text citation - parenthetical (information-prominent):

  • Rule: (Author year)
  • Example: (ChatGPT 2023) or (Bard 2023)

Reference list entry example - shareable URL generated by the AI tool:

  • Rule: Author. Year. Name of tool. Version (if available). Month Day, Year. URL
  • Example: OpenAI. 2023. ChatGPT. May 24 version.  August 22, 2023.

Citing AI in IEEE Style

There has been no guidance given by IEEE on how to cite generative AI within this specific style. 

However, there have been libraries in North America and Australia that have suggestions on how to cite generative AI like ChatGPT that follow stylistic guidelines of IEEE.