When academics refer to the research of others, they give credit. This is called citing or referencing their information source. This enables readers to find the information themselves to verify accuracy and form their own conclusions. All sources must be cited whether from the Web or from papers and articles. Proper citations will help your readers find the books, articles, and electronic sources you have used in your research, and will also help ensure academic honesty. It will not, however, protect you from copyright violation (for more information on copyright, see the S&E Library's page on Copyright Considerations in the Digital Age).
There are a number of software available to help you manage these references and build a bibliography. EndNote and RefWorks are two popular options. You can typically create personal databases and quickly output bibliographies for your papers and research projects, including formatting those references in Word documents. The S&E Library provides assistance with these bibliography software programs. Please contact Teri Vogel for a consultation.
Different disciplines have their own style and usage guidelines for formatting citations. The important thing to remember is to be consistent and clear when referring to the work of others. The best place to start is with a citation or style guide.