Skip to Main Content

Artificial Intelligence (AI): Citing AI

Artificial intelligence

Citing Generative AI

Information gathered from ChatGPT and other generative AI tools must be cited. The work is not yours. It has been generated from one of these tools.

However, citation protocols have yet to settle in the frenzy of this emerging and dynamic form of information creation.

Below are a few of the current citation guidelines. They will continue to evolve along with greater use and development of generative AI technology.



MLA recommends the use of their standardized template of 'core elements' as seen in the 'Format' given below.

In the interests of both flexibility in the face of new technologies (like AI/chatGPT), as well as the need for authorial transparency in the building of reader-trust, MLA suggests citing use when:

  • any content, whether it be text, images, data, or other, is quoted, paraphrased or incorporated into your own work

  • any functional use, such as editing and translating, helped develop your work.


  1. "Description of chat" prompt. 

  2. Name of AI tool 

  3. Version of AI tool

  4. Publisher

  5. Date of chat

  6. URL -  if you have a shareable link to the chat transcript, use that instead of the URL.


Example 1 for text: 


"Explain cryptocurrency as if I were a 14 year old student"

MLA Citation:

ChatGPT, 23 Mar. version, OpenAI, 23 September. 2023,


Example 2 for image:


“market scene in 17th century India in Baroque style”

MLA Citation:

DALL-E, version 2, OpenAI, 15 Aug. 2023,

For more examples:


APA has guidance notes in blog format for citing AI usage.

  • "Defer to instructor guidelines" when writing a student paper
  • "describe how you used the tool in your Method section"
  •  put the full text of the chat in an Appendix.

Citations for AI are currently modeled from their template for citing software in Section 10.10 of the Publication Manual (American Psychological Association, 2020, Chapter 10).


  1. Author
  2. (Year)
  3. Title
  4. (Version)
  5. [Descriptor]
  6. Source


Example 1 for text:


"Explain cryptocurrency as if I were a 14 year old student".

APA Citation:

OpenAI. (2023). ChatGPT (Mar 23 version) [Large language model].


Example 2 for image:


“market scene in 17th century India in Baroque style”

APA Citation:

OpenAI. (2023). DALL-E (version 2) [Text-to-image-model].




The Chicago Manual of Style Online treats AI citations much as it does "personal communications", such as an unpublished interview.

It suggests that for most types of writing, a simple acknowledgement of the use of AI should suffice.

Example: "The timeline was generated by ChatGPT".

The recommendation is to insert AI credits within the text or in a footnote, rather than in a bibliography since the reference will not lead to a replication of the original text.


  1. Author
  2. Publisher
  3. Date
  4. Optional URL

Example of Chicago Footnote:

Text generated by ChatGPT, OpenAI, September 23, 2023,


Example of Chicago Footnote that includes your prompt:

ChatGPT, response to “Explain cryptocurrency as if I were a 14 year old student,” September 23, 2023,


Example of Chicago Footnote for an edited text:

Text generated by ChatGPT, September 23, 2023, OpenAI, Edited for style and content.


For ongoing updates:

Citation Guidelines - University of Waterloo

Login to LibApps Noice of Web Accessibility