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How Do I Cite Generative AI?

A guide to citing AI-generated content in APA, MLA, Chicago, IEEE, and Vancouver styles.

What is Generative AI?

AI relation to Generative Models subset, venn diagramGenerative Artificial Intelligence (AI), powered by machine learning models, is a technology that produces new content in a range of formats. This type of AI, currently exemplified by tools like Open AI's ChatGPT, Microsoft's Copilot (formerly Bing AI), Google's Gemini (formerly known as Bard), Midjourney, and Open AI's DALL-E, learns from vast amounts of training data (i.e., examples) and is able to generate content that is entirely novel.

Machines programmed to learn from examples are known as neural networks. One type of neural network is the language model; "Large Language Models" (LLMs) like ChatGPT are trained on large volumes of text, resulting in an ability to "predict" what word should likely come next in a sequence of words. A generative model can draw upon what it has "learned" from training data and create something entirely new based on a complex synthesis of that information.

Though the quality and reliability of the output produced by these tools is evolving quickly, they are currently prone to generating unreliable information and errors at times. These include, for example, suggesting references for resources (e.g., books and articles) that do not exist. 

The Original Benny C, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Generative AI
Capabilities Limitations

In response to prompts (inputs), generative AI can ...

  • generate text for essays, reports, creative writing (e.g., poetry, stories, scripts, speeches, etc.) emails, posts and more
  • provide feedback on the form and structure of text
  • summarize text
  • translate text between languages
  • explain concepts at different levels  
  • brainstorm and generate ideas
  • create digital art, illustrations, and graphic designs
  • analyze and visualize data
  • assist with coding and debugging
  • solve math problems
  • plan projects
  • and more!

To learn more about generative AI capabilities, visit:

Misinformation and Disinformation  

Privacy and Security

  • The information you share with generative AI tools can compromise your privacy and security. To protect yourself, be cautious about sharing personal, confidential, sensitive or proprietary data or information. Check the developer's privacy and/or terms of use policies for information (e.g., OpenAI Privacy Policy).

Legal and EthicaI Issues

To learn more about these and other issues associated with generative AI, visit: 

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