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Friday, March 24, 2023

Citing ChatGPT: A Comprehensive Guide on Proper Attribution

Citing ChatGPT: A Comprehensive Guide to Proper Attribution


ChatGPT, an AI-generated content tool, has become an increasingly popular resource for users seeking information or assistance with various tasks. However, citing ChatGPT as a source might be a novel concept for many. In this guide, we will create a hypothetical citation for ChatGPT in various citation formats and explain how to correctly attribute information obtained from ChatGPT.

Hypothetical Information:

Suppose you used ChatGPT to generate information about the impacts of climate change on polar bear populations. The AI model provided a comprehensive analysis on March 24, 2023.

Citation Formats:

APA (7th Edition)

OpenAI. (2023). Impacts of climate change on polar bear populations [ChatGPT-generated content]. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from

MLA (8th Edition)

OpenAI. "Impacts of Climate Change on Polar Bear Populations." ChatGPT-generated content, March 24 2023,

Chicago (17th Edition)

OpenAI. 2023. "Impacts of Climate Change on Polar Bear Populations." ChatGPT-generated content. Accessed March 24, 2023.

A step-by-step guide to citing ChatGPT:

Identify the source:

In this case, the source is ChatGPT, an AI model developed by OpenAI. Therefore, the content generated by ChatGPT should be cited as "ChatGPT-generated content."

Determine the citation format:

Select the appropriate citation format (e.g., APA, MLA, or Chicago) depending on the requirements of your work. Each design has specific guidelines, so adhering to the respective citation style is essential.

Include the author:

For ChatGPT-generated content, the author should be cited as "OpenAI." This attribution acknowledges the organization responsible for creating and maintaining the AI model.

Add the title of the content:

Provide a descriptive title for the generated content in the citation. In this example, we used "Impacts of Climate Change on Polar Bear Populations" as the title.

Specify the content type:

Indicate that ChatGPT generates the content by including "ChatGPT-generated content" in the citation.

Include the date:

Add the date when the ChatGPT-generated content was accessed or generated. This information is crucial, as AI models like ChatGPT are continually updated and can produce different results over time.

Provide the URL:

Lastly, include the URL where the ChatGPT-generated content was obtained. If you have a direct link to the conversation or the unique identifier for the generated content, this information should be included in the citation. If no specific URL is available, you may use the general URL for the ChatGPT platform.










ChatGPT Library Research Templates

Creating generic library reference search templates can help streamline the search process when finding resources or information. 

Here are some generic ChatGPT Library Research templates that can be used in various contexts:

Author search template:

"[Author's first name] [Author's last name] works"

Title search template:

"[Book/Article/Journal title] by [Author's name]"

Subject search template:

"[Subject/Topic] resources/articles/books"

Keyword search template:

"[Keyword 1] [Keyword 2] [Keyword 3]"

Publication date range search template:

"[Publication type] published between [Year range start] and [Year range end]"

Library call number search template:

"Call number: [Call number prefix] [Call number]"

ISBN/ISSN search template:

"ISBN: [ISBN number]" or "ISSN: [ISSN number]"

Format search template:

"[Format type] materials (e.g., e-books, audiobooks, DVDs, etc.)"

Language search template:

"[Language] materials/resources"

Advanced search template:

"[Search term 1] AND/OR [Search term 2] NOT [Search term 3]"

Remember to replace the brackets and their content with the appropriate search terms, depending on your query.

Topic Overview Search Template:

[Topic] + "overview" OR "introduction" OR "summary" OR "guide"
climate change + "overview" OR "introduction" OR "summary" OR "guide"

Academic Research Search Template:

[Topic] + "research" OR "study" OR "journal article" OR "peer-reviewed" + [Keywords]

 artificial intelligence + "research" OR "study" OR "journal article" OR "peer-reviewed" + ethics

Historical Context Search Template:

[Topic] + "history" OR "historical context" OR "origins" OR "timeline"

feminism + "history" OR "historical context" OR "origins" OR "timeline"

Biographical Information Search Template:

[Person's Name] + "biography" OR "background" OR "profile" OR "life story"

Jane Austen + "biography" OR "background" OR "profile" OR "life story"

Local and Regional Information Search Template:

[Location] + "history" OR "culture" OR "economy" OR "geography" + [Keywords or specific aspects]

New York City + "history" OR "culture" OR "economy" OR "geography" + architecture

Dealing with ambiguous ChatGPT answers

It is essential to recognize that AI language models like ChatGPT are trained on large datasets of text from the internet. 

Their knowledge is derived from the patterns, information, and structures they've been exposed to during training. 

However, these models do not possess human-like understanding or reasoning. Consequently, they sometimes need to provide more precise answers.

Here are a few factors that contribute to ambiguous answers:

Vague or broad prompts:

If the input prompt is too broad or ambiguous, the AI model might need help identifying the precise information you seek. For example, if you ask, "What is the best way to learn?" the answer might be unclear because "best" is subjective and depends on the individual and the subject matter. A more specific prompt, such as "What are some effective study techniques for learning a new language?" will likely yield a more precise answer.

Ambiguity in the question itself: 

The AI will likely generate a vague answer if the question contains ambiguous wording.

Multiple interpretations:

Some questions can have multiple valid interpretations. 

For instance, if you ask, "How can I improve my computer?" the AI might be unsure if you're referring to upgrading hardware, updating software, or enhancing performance. 

Therefore, a more specific prompt, such as "What are some hardware upgrades to improve my computer's gaming performance?" would be more explicit.

Absence of a definitive answer: 

Some questions may have a vague-cut answer, making it difficult for the AI to respond concisely.

Ambiguity in the training data:

The AI's training data may contain conflicting or ambiguous information, which can result in the AI generating unclear answers.

Limitations of the AI model:

AI language models have inherent limitations in understanding and reasoning capabilities, sometimes leading to ambiguous responses.

Unclear terminology: 

If a question contains jargon, slang, or unclear terms, the AI might need help to provide a clear answer.

Insufficient context:

The AI might only understand the topic or situation if a question has sufficient context. For example, asking, "What should I do next?" could lead to a wide range of answers. Providing more context, like "After completing my Master's degree in Library Science, what are some career options to consider?" will help the AI generate a more focused response.

Overlapping topics or concepts:

Questions that touch on multiple related issues or concepts can result in ambiguous answers, as the AI may need help discerning which aspect to focus on.

Implicit Biases: 

AI models may unintentionally reproduce biases in their training data, leading to ambiguous or skewed answers.

To improve the clarity of answers from an AI language model, consider the following tips when crafting prompts:

What to do.

Phrase questions clearly:

Use concise language and avoid complex sentence structures to minimize the possibility of misinterpretation.

Use relevant keywords:

Include essential terms or concepts related to your topic to help the AI focus on the specific area you're interested in.

Request step-by-step explanations:

Request a step-by-step breakdown to ensure a more comprehensive response when requesting a solution or procedure.

Set boundaries:

Define any constraints or limitations to help the AI respond to your requirements.

Encourage comparison:

If seeking advice on multiple options, ask the AI to compare and contrast them to provide a more nuanced understanding.

Specify the desired format: 

If you prefer how the information should be presented (e.g., a list, a summary, or a detailed explanation), mention it in your prompt.

Clarify the purpose: 

Explain your question's intended use or goal to help the AI generate a more relevant and targeted response.

Incorporate timeframes:

If applicable, mention relevant timeframes or deadlines to ensure the AI's response is timely and appropriate for your situation.


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