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Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

About citing AI

Iona libraries are monitoring associations that establish the rules and guidance on citing sources created by generative AI.  The examples below for citing software and personal communication or correspondence may or may not become the rules for referencing content created by artificial intelligence. This page will be updated as we learn more.

Additional resources related to plagiarism and citing sources are available at the Research Essentials Guide, the Citing Sources Guide and the Academic Integrity Tutorial.  

For students: 

Before using ChatGPT or other generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, please check with your professor if you can do so, and if so what exactly is permitted for a specific assignment.

If you are permitted to use ChatGPT or similar AI, evaluate the content carefully and critically. Content produced may contain incorrect or biased and therefore unreliable information. These tools may also infringe on your privacy (e.g. collecting data about you and sharing it), so use them with caution. Consider also using more authoritative, reliable, secure sources instead.

If you are permitted to use AI-generated content, make sure to cite the information following the recommendations listed below. 

Formats (Check back often)

How to cite ChatGPT (April 7, 2023 APA blog post)

Using ChatGPT to generate text is similar to using other online tools or software. ChatGPT can be mentioned as a tool in the Method section. For a paper without a Method section, make note of the use of ChatGPT wherever it would be appropriate to do so in the paper's body. To note that ChatGPT was used, make a general statement in which the URL and the prompts used to generate the output are provided.

Example of a statement within the paper's body:
I generated text on February 13, 2023, using ChatGPT software ( and the prompt "Summarize the plot of A Christmas Carol in the style of H. P. Lovecraft."

When paraphrasing, quoting, or providing the full-text response from ChatGPT in the paper a reference is needed (following the general format of a software reference, as seen in Section 10.10 of the Publication Manual).

Example reference: 

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Feb 13 version) [Large language model].

Example citation: 

(OpenAI, 2023)

Because the ChatGPT output is not retrievable and researchers are learning about this resource and how to ethically use it. Consider making the ChatGPT conversation retrievable by including the text as an appendix or as online supplemental material that includes an introductory statement such as “The following text was generated on February 13, 2023, by ChatGPT software (OpenAI, 2023) in response to the following prompt….” If including the text readers may also be referred to the appendix or the online supplemental material (where the ChatGPT response may be further contextualized) when the ChatGPT conversation is cited.


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. MLA offers recommendations for citing generative AI, defined as a tool that “can analyze or summarize content from a huge set of information, including web pages, books and other writing available on the internet, and use that data to create original new content” (Weed). 

Researchers should:

  • cite a generative AI tool whenever you paraphrase, quote, or incorporate into your own work any content (whether text, image, data, or other) that was created by it 
  • acknowledge all functional uses of the tool (like editing your prose or translating words) in a note, your text, or another suitable location 
  • take care to vet the secondary sources it cites (see example 5 for more details)
  • keep in mind: the MLA template of core elements is meant to provide flexibility in creating citations. So if you find a rationale to modify these recommendations in your own citations, you are encouraged you to do so. 

Examples provided by the MLA are

  • Paraphrasing Text
  • Quoting Text
  • Citing Creative Visual Works
  • Quoting Creative Textual Works
  • Citing Secondary Sources Used by an AI Tool

(Updated March 17, 2023)

Q. How do you recommend citing content developed or generated by artificial intelligence, such as ChatGPT? Many scholarly publishers are requiring its identification though also requiring human authors to take responsibility for it and will not permit the AI to have “authorship.”?


Researchers do need to credit ChatGPT and similar tools whenever the text that they generate is used in a work. For a student paper or for a research article— a numbered footnote or endnote might look like this:

1. Text generated by ChatGPT, March 7, 2023, OpenAI,

ChatGPT is the author of the content, and the date is the date the text was generated. OpenAI (the organization that developed ChatGPT) is then listed as the publisher or sponsor of the content. After that, the URL tells us where the ChatGPT tool may be found, but because readers can’t get to the cited content (see below), that URL isn’t an essential element of the citation.

If the prompt hasn’t been included in the text, it can be included in the note:

1. ChatGPT, response to “Explain how to make pizza dough from common household ingredients,” March 7, 2023, OpenAI.

If using author-date instead of notes, any information not in the text would be placed in a parenthetical text reference. For example, “(ChatGPT, March 7, 2023).”

Do not cite ChatGPT in a bibliography or reference list. Though OpenAI assigns unique URLs to conversations generated from your prompts, those can’t be used by others to access the same content, making a ChatGPT conversation like an email, phone, or text conversation—or any other type of personal communication (see CMOS 14.214 and 15.53).

You must credit ChatGPT when you reproduce its words within your own work, but that information should be put in the text or in a note—not in a bibliography or reference list. Other AI-generated text can be cited similarly.

Q. How do you cite images generated by DALL·E?

A. According to an article on the website of OpenAI, the organization responsible for DALL·E, “If you’d like to cite DALL·E, we’d recommend including wording such as ‘This image was created with the assistance of DALL·E 2’ or ‘This image was generated with the assistance of AI’ ” (see “How Should I Credit DALL·E in My Work?,” accessed March 22, 2023).

In other words, be sure to give credit to the source, as you would for any image (see CMOS 3.29–37). 

The credit for an image might read as follows (with the prompt used to generate the image in quotation marks):

“A modern office rendered as a cubist painting,” image generated by OpenAI’s DALL·E 2, March 5, 2023.

Source: CMOS Online March Q & A  (Accessed March 22, 2023)

This format has been applied to citations in Medline and Pubmed. 


ChatGPT. OpenAI. 2022. Available at: [Accessed 14 December 2022].