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Each of these citation systems has its advantages and disadvantages. Bibliographies, and other list-like compilations of references, are generally not considered citations because they do not fulfill the true spirit of the term: deliberate acknowledgement by other authors of the priority of one's ideas.Different citation systems and styles are used in scientific citation, legal citation, prior art, the arts, and the humanities.Citations have several important purposes: to uphold intellectual honesty (or avoiding plagiarism), to attribute prior or unoriginal work and ideas to the correct sources, to allow the reader to determine independently whether the referenced material supports the author's argument in the claimed way, and to help the reader gauge the strength and validity of the material the author has used.
Citation styles can be broadly divided into styles common to the Humanities and the Sciences, though there is considerable overlap.
Broadly, a citation is a reference to a published or unpublished source (not always the original source).