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AI, ChatGPT, and the Library

Citing AI-Generated Content

Before you start

Students, please first confirm with your professor that using ChatGPT or other content produced by generative artificial intelligence (AI) is acceptable before citing it. Your professor may also have a specific way they would like you to reference ChatGPT.

Why should I reference ChatGPT content?

References tell your reader where your information came from and how you used it in your work. If you use content created by a tool like ChatGPT, including it in your works cited - as you would with any other source - is the responsible thing to do. If you use ChatGPT to help write or structure your paper, even if you do not otherwise quote or paraphrase its content, you will likely wish to acknowledge your use of it in some manner. This provides transparency to your reader.

Are there official guidelines for citing ChatGPT?

Generative AI is a relatively new phenomenon. As such, many citation styles lack specific guidelines for referencing AI-generated content. It is likely that guidelines will be updated, so checking for the most recent recommendations is advisable.

Citing ChatGPT Responsibly

We are still learning how to ethically use and cite generative AI resources. As such, err on the side of transparency if you use one. Here are some ideas for citing ChatGPT responsibly:

  • Save a transcript of your chat. Make it available to or retrievable by your reader, possibly by including it as an appendix to your work or as an online supplement.
  • Describe the prompt that generated the specific ChatGPT response.
  • Include the date when the response was generated or date of access. This is important as these tools will update regularly.
  • Acknowledge how you used the tool. You can do this even if you only use ChatGPT to plan your paper or generate ideas and don't include any of its generated content.

APA Citations for AI

The APA Style team is working on creating official guidelines. In the meantime, they have provided interim guidelines.

If the chat is saved, shareable, or retrievable:

If you have saved and/or shared the chat transcript, follow APA guidelines for citing computer software. It may be worthwhile to include the chat's transcript as an appendix to your project. Use the company as the author, not the tool's name. Include a brief description of the chat indicating the prompts in square brackets.


Author. (Date of chat). [Description of chat and prompt]. URL


OpenAI. (2023, Feb. 17). [ChatGPT response to a prompt about examples of harm reduction initiatives].

In-Text Citation Example:

(OpenAI, 2023)

If the chat is not shareable or retrievable:

If you have not saved the chat transcript or cannot share or retrieve it, follow APA guidelines for citing personal communication. In this case, only include an in-text citation and do not include an entry in the references list.

In-Text Citation Format:

(Author, personal communication, date of chat)

In-Text Citation Example:

(OpenAI, personal communication, February 17, 2023)

MLA Citations for AI


As of 23 Feb. 2023, there is no official guidance from MLA on citing responses from ChatGPT or output from another generative AI tool. However, you may wish to follow these interim guidelines. At a minimum, include the platform and its author/developer in your MLA citation.


Author. “Name of AI.” Website name, URL.


OpenAI. "ChatGPT." Welcome to ChatGPT,

In-Text Citation Example: