Skip to Main Content

How to Cite Your Sources


Drawing from patent 3,902,798 (Magicam). Showing the Magicam blue screen process using servo controlled cameras.
Developed by Doug Trumbull. 1973/74. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

IEEE (from IEEE Editorial Style Manual):

J. K. Author, “Title of patent,” U.S. Patent x xxx xxx, Abbrev. Month, day, year.

J. P. Wilkinson, “Nonlinear resonant circuit devices,” U.S. Patent 3 624 125, July 16, 1990.

Note: Use “issued date” if several dates are given.

APA 7 (from Purdue OWL)

Inventor, A. A. (Year patent issued). Title of patent (U.S. Patent No. ###). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. URL

Staton, F. B., & Strumpf, D. (2020). Methods of altering a field of view (U.S. Patent No. 10818250). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Retrieved November 2, 2020, from

ACS (from The ACS Style Guide, Ch. 14: References)

Patent Owner 1; Patent Owner 2; etc. Title of Patent. Patent Number, Date.

Sheem, S. K. Low-Cost Fiber Optic Pressure Sensor. U.S. Patent 6,738,537, May 18, 2004.


5081 data processing card containing a line of DOS JCL code. Dick Kutz (personal property), November 2006.
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Via Wikimedia Commons.

There is not, as yet, an official method for citing lines of code, though there are formats for citing software and computer programs. Here are some resources for learning more about how to cite code, which should be confirmed with your professor.

  • This research guide (University of Southern Queensland, Australia) has a good page about citing "other electronic sources" in APA, including "Computer programs, software, or programming languages," which they are basing on the APA Publication Manual 6th ed.

  • The University of Arkansas research guide on code discusses citing lines of code. This one's a whole page just on citing code and is adapted from IEEE and ACM guides for other media.

  • MIT's Academic Integrity handbook discusses the citing of code to avoid plagiarism.

[Questions? Suggestions? Contact Vicky Orlofsky!]