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bibliography

Definition of bibliography

Examples of bibliography in a sentence.

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'bibliography.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

probably from New Latin bibliographia , from Greek, the copying of books, from bibli- + -graphia -graphy

1689, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Articles Related to bibliography

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Cite this Entry

“Bibliography.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bibliography. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

Kids definition of bibliography, more from merriam-webster on bibliography.

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for bibliography

Nglish: Translation of bibliography for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of bibliography for Arabic Speakers

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How to Write a Bibliography, With Examples

Lindsay Kramer

You spent the past six hours grinding out your latest paper, but finally, it’s finished. It’s late, you’re exhausted, and all you want to do is click “Submit Assignment” and then get some sleep. 

Not so fast. If your paper doesn’t have a properly formatted bibliography, it’s not finished. 

A bibliography is a list of all the sources you consulted while writing your paper. Every book, article, and even video you used to gather information for your paper needs to be cited in your bibliography so your instructor (and any others reading your work) can trace the facts, statistics, and insights back to their original sources. 

Give your paper extra polish Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly

What is the purpose of a bibliography? 

A bibliography is the list of sources a work’s author used to create the work. It accompanies just about every type of academic writing , like essays , research papers , and reports . You might also find a brief, less formal bibliography at the end of a journalistic piece, presentation, or video when the author feels it’s necessary to cite their sources . In nearly all academic instances, a bibliography is required. Not including a bibliography (or including an incomplete, incorrect, or falsified bibliography) can be considered an act of plagiarism , which can lead to a failing grade, being dropped from your course or program, and even being suspended or expelled from your school. 

A bibliography accomplishes a few things. These include:

  • Showing your instructor that you conducted the necessary research for your assignment 
  • Crediting your sources’ authors for the research they conducted
  • Making it easy for anybody who reads your work to find the sources you used and conduct their own research on the same or a similar topic

Additionally, future historians consulting your writing can use your bibliography to identify primary and secondary sources in your research field. Documenting the course information from its original source through later academic works can help researchers understand how that information has been cited and interpreted over time. It can also help them review the information in the face of competing—and possibly contradictory or revisionary—data. 

In nearly all cases, a bibliography is found at the end of a book or paper. 

What are the different kinds of bibliographies?

Different types of academic works call for different types of bibliographies. For example, your computer science professor might require you to submit an annotated bibliography along with your paper because this type of bibliography explains the why behind each source you chose to consult.

Analytical bibliography

An analytical bibliography documents a work’s journey from manuscript to published book or article. This type of bibliography includes the physical characteristics of each cited source, like each work’s number of pages, type of binding used, and illustrations. 

Annotated bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that includes annotations, which are short notes explaining why the author chose each of the sources. Generally a few sentences long, these notes might summarize or reflect on the source. 

An annotated bibliography is not the same as a literature review . While a literature review discusses how you conducted your research and how your work fits into the overall body of established research in your field, an annotated bibliography simply explains how each source you used is relevant to your work. 

Enumerative bibliography

An enumerative bibliography is the most basic type of bibliography. It’s a list of sources used to conduct research, often ordered according to specific characteristics, like alphabetically by authors’ last names or grouped according to topic or language. 

Specific types of enumerative bibliographies used for research works include:

National bibliography

A national bibliography groups sources published in a specific region or nation. In many cases, these bibliographies also group works according to the time period during which they were published. 

Personal bibliography

A personal bibliography lists multiple works by the same individual author or group of authors. Often, personal bibliographies include works that would be difficult to find elsewhere, like unpublished works. 

Corporate bibliography

In a corporate bibliography, the sources are grouped according to their relation to a specific organization. The sources can be about an organization, published by that organization, or owned by that organization. 

Subject bibliography

Subject bibliographies group works according to the subjects they cover. Generally, these bibliographies list primary and secondary sources, whereas other types of enumerative bibliographies, like personal bibliographies, might not. 

Other types of bibliographies

In some cases, it makes sense to use a bibliography format other than those listed here. These include:

Single-author bibliography

This type of bibliography lists works by a single author. With certain assignments, like an essay comparing two of an author’s books, your bibliography is a single-author bibliography by default. In this case, you can choose how to order the sources, such as by publication date or alphabetically by title. 

Selected bibliography

A selected bibliography is a bibliography that only lists some of the sources you consulted. Usually, these are the most important sources for your work. You might write a selected bibliography if you consulted a variety of minor sources that you didn’t end up citing directly in your work. A selected bibliography may also be an annotated bibliography. 

How is a bibliography structured? 

Although each style guide has its own formatting rules for bibliographies, all bibliographies follow a similar structure. Key points to keep in mind when you’re structuring a bibliography include:

  • Every bibliography page has a header. Format this header according to the style guide you’re using.
  • Every bibliography has a title, such as “Works Cited,” “References,” or simply “Bibliography.”
  • Bibliographies are lists. List your sources alphabetically according to their authors’ last names or their titles—whichever is applicable according to the style guide you’re using. The exception is a single-author bibliography or one that groups sources according to a shared characteristic. 
  • Bibliographies are double-spaced.
  • Bibliographies should be in legible fonts, typically the same font as the papers they accompany.

As noted above, different kinds of assignments require different kinds of bibliographies. For example, you might write an analytical bibliography for your art history paper because this type of bibliography gives you space to discuss how the construction methods used for your sources inform their content and vice-versa. If you aren’t sure which kind of bibliography to write, ask your instructor. 

How do you write a bibliography?

The term “bibliography” is a catch-all for any list of sources cited at the end of an academic work. Certain style guides use different terminology to refer to bibliographies. For example, MLA format refers to a paper’s bibliography as its Works Cited page. APA refers to it as the References page. No matter which style guide you’re using, the process for writing a bibliography is generally the same. The primary difference between the different style guides is how the bibliography is formatted. 

The first step in writing a bibliography is organizing all the relevant information about the sources you used in your research. Relevant information about a source can vary according to the type of media it is, the type of bibliography you’re writing, and your style guide. Determine which information you need to include about each source by consulting the style guide you’re using. If you aren’t sure what to include, or if you’re not sure which style guide to use, ask your instructor. 

The next step is to format your sources according to the style guide you’re using. MLA , APA , and the Chicago Manual of Style are three of the most commonly used style guides in academic writing. 

MLA Works Cited page

In MLA format , the bibliography is known as the Works Cited page. MLA is typically used for writing in the humanities, like English and History. Because of this, it includes guidelines for citing sources like plays, videos , and works of visual art —sources you’d find yourself consulting for these courses, but probably not in your science and business courses.

In MLA format, books are cited like this:

If the cited book was published prior to 1900, is from a publisher with offices in multiple countries, or is from a publisher that is largely unknown in the US, include the book’s city of publication. Otherwise, this can be left out. 

Scholarly articles are cited in this format: 

  • Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Periodical, Day Month Year, pages.

APA References page

In APA format —the format typically used in psychology, nursing, business, and the social sciences—the bibliography page is titled References. This format includes citation instructions for technical papers and data-heavy research, the types of sources you’re likely to consult for academic writing in these fields. 

In APA format, books are cited like this:

Digital object identifier (DOI).

(issue  number) , article’s page range (i.e., 10-15). URL.

Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) permits authors to format bibliographies in two different ways: the notes and bibliography system and the author-date system. The former is generally used in the humanities, whereas the latter is usually used in the sciences and social sciences. 

Both systems include guidelines for citations on a paper’s body pages as well as a bibliographic list that follows the paper. This list is titled Bibliography.

In CMoS, books are cited like this:

publication.

number  (year published): page numbers of the article (i.e., 10-15).

Bibliography FAQs 

What is a bibliography.

A bibliography is the list of sources a work’s author used to create the work.

What are the different kinds of bibliographies? 

There are many different kinds of bibliographies. These include:

  • Enumerative bibliographies
  • Annotated bibliographies
  • Analytical bibliographies

How do you write a bibliography for different style guides?

Each style guide publishes its bibliography guidelines online. Locate the guidelines for the style guide you’re following ( Chicago Manual of Style , MLA , APA ), and using the examples provided, format and list the sources for your work. 

bibliography meaning simple

Bibliography: Definition and Examples

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

  • An Introduction to Punctuation
  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and English, University of Georgia
  • M.A., Modern English and American Literature, University of Leicester
  • B.A., English, State University of New York

A bibliography is a list of works (such as books and articles) written on a particular subject or by a particular author. Adjective : bibliographic.

Also known as a list of works cited , a bibliography may appear at the end of a book, report , online presentation, or research paper . Students are taught that a bibliography, along with correctly formatted in-text citations, is crucial to properly citing one's research and to avoiding accusations of plagiarism . In formal research, all sources used, whether quoted directly or synopsized, should be included in the bibliography.

An annotated bibliography includes a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph (the annotation ) for each item in the list. These annotations often give more context about why a certain source may be useful or related to the topic at hand.

  • Etymology:  From the Greek, "writing about books" ( biblio , "book", graph , "to write")
  • Pronunciation:  bib-lee-OG-rah-fee

Examples and Observations

"Basic bibliographic information includes title, author or editor, publisher, and the year the current edition was published or copyrighted . Home librarians often like to keep track of when and where they acquired a book, the price, and a personal annotation, which would include their opinions of the book or of the person who gave it to them" (Patricia Jean Wagner, The Bloomsbury Review Booklover's Guide . Owaissa Communications, 1996)

Conventions for Documenting Sources

"It is standard practice in scholarly writing to include at the end of books or chapters and at the end of articles a list of the sources that the writer consulted or cited. Those lists, or bibliographies, often include sources that you will also want to consult. . . . "Established conventions for documenting sources vary from one academic discipline to another. The Modern Language Association (MLA) style of documentation is preferred in literature and languages. For papers in the social sciences the American Psychological Association (APA) style is preferred, whereas papers in history, philosophy, economics, political science, and business disciplines are formatted in the Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) system. The Council of Biology Editors (CBE) recommends varying documentation styles for different natural sciences." (Robert DiYanni and Pat C. Hoy II, The Scribner Handbook for Writers , 3rd ed. Allyn and Bacon, 2001)

APA vs MLA Styles

There are several different styles of citations and bibliographies that you might encounter: MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard, and more. As described above, each of those styles is often associated with a particular segment of academia and research. Of these, the most widely used are APA and MLA styles. They both include similar information, but arranged and formatted differently.

"In an entry for a book in an APA-style works-cited list, the date (in parentheses) immediately follows the name of the author (whose first name is written only as an initial), just the first word of the title is capitalized, and the publisher's full name is generally provided.

APA Anderson, I. (2007). This is our music: Free jazz, the sixties, and American culture . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

By contrast, in an MLA-style entry, the author's name appears as given in the work (normally in full), every important word of the title is capitalized, some words in the publisher's name are abbreviated, the publication date follows the publisher's name, and the medium of publication is recorded. . . . In both styles, the first line of the entry is flush with the left margin, and the second and subsequent lines are indented.

MLA Anderson, Iain. This Is Our Music: Free Jazz, the Sixties, and American Culture . Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2007. Print. The Arts and Intellectual Life in Mod. Amer.

( MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers , 7th ed. The Modern Language Association of America, 2009)

Finding Bibliographic Information for Online Sources

"For Web sources, some bibliographic information may not be available, but spend time looking for it before assuming that it doesn't exist. When information isn't available on the home page, you may have to drill into the site, following links to interior pages. Look especially for the author's name, the date of publication (or latest update), and the name of any sponsoring organization. Do not omit such information unless it is genuinely unavailable. . . . "Online articles and books sometimes include a DOI (digital object identifier). APA uses the DOI, when available, in place of a URL in reference list entries." (Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers, A Writer's Reference With Strategies for Online Learners , 7th ed. Bedford/St. Martin's, 2011)

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  • Documentation in Reports and Research Papers
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  • MLA Style Parenthetical Citations
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Cambridge Dictionary

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Meaning of bibliography in English

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bibliography noun ( LIST OF BOOKS )

  • She has included a bibliography so that readers can refer to the primary sources .
  • The extensive bibliography provides ample guidance for readers who want to make a deeper study of the subject .
  • Most books on art materials and techniques also include excellent bibliographies for further reading .
  • The center has compiled a bibliography of scientific research on meditation .
  • The authors provide bibliographies of the poets ' works and lists of useful , up-to-date anthologies and criticism .
  • acknowledgment
  • acknowledgments phrase
  • bibliographic
  • bibliographically
  • non-biographical

bibliography noun ( STUDY OF BOOKS )

  • He cataloged books for the booksellers Pearson & Co. and was a professor of bibliography at Cambridge University.
  • In the early 1930s he turned his attention toward bibliography, and became a professor of librarianship.

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  • bibliography

a complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.

a list of source materials that are used or consulted in the preparation of a work or that are referred to in the text.

a branch of library science dealing with the history, physical description, comparison, and classification of books and other works.

Origin of bibliography

Other words from bibliography.

  • bib·li·o·graph·ic [bib-lee- uh - graf -ik], /ˌbɪb li əˈgræf ɪk/, bib·li·o·graph·i·cal, adjective
  • bib·li·o·graph·i·cal·ly, adverb
  • min·i·bib·li·og·ra·phy, noun, plural min·i·bib·li·og·ra·phies.

Words Nearby bibliography

  • bibliograph
  • bibliographer
  • bibliographic control
  • bibliographic utility
  • biblioklept
  • bibliolatry
  • bibliomancy
  • bibliomania

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use bibliography in a sentence

He’s toyed with Collatz for about fifty years and become keeper of the knowledge, compiling annotated bibliographies and editing a book on the subject, “The Ultimate Challenge.”

Some readers might prefer more background science for each question — for a book that aims to crush pseudoscience, a bibliography or at least footnotes would have been useful.

Kalb makes the disclaimer in his preface that “memoirs, by definition, are not works of history — no footnotes, no bibliography .”

Otlet began modestly in the 1890s, creating a bibliography of sociological literature.

Lop off the endnotes and bibliography , and The Measure of Manhattan is barely 300 pages.

Tyler does not provide us with a bibliography , although his extensive notes include many books on Israel and its neighbors.

For full bibliography (to 1904) see Ulysse Chevalier, Rpertoire des sources hist.

Punctuation has been normalized for the stage directions and the play listings in the bibliography .

Within six months, if you're not sandbagged or jailed on fake libel suits, you'll have a unique bibliography of swindles.

There is a very inadequate bibliography in the Introduction.

His ample bibliography leaves no point necessary for elucidation untouched.

British Dictionary definitions for bibliography

/ ( ˌbɪblɪˈɒɡrəfɪ ) /

a list of books or other material on a subject

a list of sources used in the preparation of a book, thesis, etc

a list of the works of a particular author or publisher

the study of the history, classification, etc, of literary material

a work on this subject

Derived forms of bibliography

  • bibliographer , noun
  • bibliographic ( ˌbɪblɪəʊˈɡræfɪk ) or bibliographical , adjective
  • bibliographically , adverb

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Cultural definitions for bibliography

A list of the written sources of information on a subject. Bibliographies generally appear as a list at the end of a book or article. They may show what works the author used in writing the article or book, or they may list works that a reader might find useful.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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Definition of bibliography noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

bibliography

  • There is a useful bibliography at the end of each chapter.
  • The book includes a selective bibliography of works on French art.
  • You'll find the professor's book in the bibliography.
  • an extensive bibliography of books and articles
  • put together
  • in a/​the bibliography
  • bibliography of

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bibliography meaning simple

How to write a bibliography

How to write a bibiliography.

A bibliography is not just “works cited.” It is  all  the relevant material you drew upon to write the paper the reader holds.

Do I need a bibliography?

If you read any articles or books in preparing your paper, you need a bibliography or footnotes.

  • If you cite the arguments of “critics” and “supporters,” even if you don’t name them or quote them directly, you are likely referring to information you read in books or articles as opposed to information you’ve gathered firsthand, like a news reporter, and so you need a bibliography.
  • If you quote sources and put some of the reference information in the text, you still need a bibliography, so that readers can track down the source material for themselves.
  • If you use footnotes to identify the source of your material or the authors of every quote, you DO NOT need a bibliography, UNLESS there are materials to which you do not refer directly (or if you refer to additional sections of the materials you already referenced) that also helped you reach your conclusions. In any event, your footnotes need to follow the formatting guidelines below.

These guidelines follow those of the  American Psychological Association and may be slightly different than what you’re used to, but we will stick with them for the sake of consistency.

Notice the use of punctuation. Publication titles may be either  italicized  or underlined, but not both.

Books are the bibliography format with which you’re probably most familiar. Books follow this pattern:

Author Last Name, Author First Name. (Publication Year)  Title . Publisher’s City: Publisher. Page numbers.

Alexander, Carol. (2001)  Market Models: A Guide to Financial Data Analysis.  New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 200-220.

Periodicals

Periodicals remove the publisher city and name and add the title of the article and the volume or issue number of the periodical. Notice article titles are put in quotation marks and only the publication title is italicized or underlined.

Author Last Name, Author First Name. (Publication Date—could be more than a year) “Article Title.” Publication   Title, Vol. # . (Issue #), Page numbers.

Salman, William A. (July-August 1997) “How to Write a Great Business Plan.”  Harvard Business Review  74. pp. 98-108.

Web versions of printed material

Because web sources are time-sensitive, meaning that web content can change day by day, it is important to include the day of retrieval and the URL from which you quoted the material. You include this in a retrieval statement.

The format for online versions of print publications should basically follow the same format as above, meaning if you’re referencing an online book, you should follow the book format with the addition of the retrieval statement. If you’re referencing an online periodical, you should follow the periodical format with the addition of the retrieval statement.

Note that you should not break the Internet address of the link, even if it requires its own line. Very long URLs, such as those that occur when using an online database, can be shortened by removing the retrieval code. (The retrieval code usually consists of a long string of unintelligible letters and numbers following the end point “htm” or “html.” Remove everything that occurs after that point to shorten.)

Author. (Date of Internet Publication—could be more than a year) “Document Title.”  Title of Publication . Retrieved on: Date from Full Web Address, starting with http://

Grant, Linda. (January 13, 1997) “Can Fisher Focus Kodak?”  Fortune . Retrieved on August 22, 2020 from (insert full web address here)

The above is just one example of citing online sources. There are more extensive bibliographic guidelines at www.bedfordstmartins.com/online/cite6.html .

How to cite sources in the text

In-text citations alert readers to cited material and tell them exactly where to go and look. These citations work in conjunction with a bibliography.

  • Usually, an in-text citation is a combination of a name (usually the author’s) and a number (either a year, a page number, or both).
  • For Internet sources, use the original publication date, not your retrieval date.
  • Internet sources also do not have page numbers, so use your discretion in the format that will direct the reader closest to the relevant section. You can number the paragraphs (abbreviate “par.”) or chapters (abbreviate “chap.”) or sections (abbreviate “sec.”).
  • If there is no author listed, the document’s title should be used in place of the author’s name. Use the entire title but not the subtitle. Subtitles are anything appearing after a colon (:).

Use a signal phrase

A signal phrase alerts the reader to the fact that you are citing another source for the information he or she is about to read.

Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit approach, are designed to focus the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”)

Note that the date goes with the author, directions within the document go with the quote.

Later on, same source, different section:

According to one study (Myers, 1997), inexperienced auditors from a structured firm will demonstrate higher audit effectiveness in the typical audit situation than inexperienced auditors from an unstructured firm. (sec. 2, “Structure and Audit Effectiveness”)

Full parenthetical citation after the material cited

Another method is to end the quote with the full citation:

The primary controversies surrounding the issue of accounting for stock-based compensation include whether these instruments represent an expense that should be recognized in the income statement and, if so, when they should be recognized and how they should be measured. (Martin and Duchac, 1997, Sec. 3, “Theoretical Justification for Expense Recognition”)

For long quotes, use a previewing sentence and a parenthetical citation

Long quotes are 40 words or longer and should be single-spaced even in double-spaced papers. The previewing sentence tells the reader what to look for in the quotes (and helps the reader change gears from you to another author).

Martin and Duchac (1997) reiterate the problems with stock-based compensation and accounting issues:

While it is true these estimates generate uncertainties about value and the costs to be recognized, cost recognition should be the fundamental objective and information based on estimates can be useful just as it is with defined benefit pension plans. Given the similarities between stock based compensation and defined benefit pension costs, an expense should be recognized for employee stock options just as pension costs are recognized for defined benefit pension plans. The FASB agreed with this assessment in their exposure draft on stock based compensation, noting that nonrecognition of employee stock option costs produces financial statements that are neither credible nor representationally faithful. (sec. 2.1, “Recognition of Compensation Cost”)

Note the consistent indentation and the paragraph break inside the quote. Also note that the parenthetical citation falls outside the closing period.

Source-reflective statements

Sometimes, summarizing arguments from your sources can leave the reader in doubt as to whose opinion he or she is seeing. If the language is too close to the original source’s, you can leave yourself open to charges of low-level plagiarism or “word borrowing.” Using a source-reflective statement can clarify this problem, allowing you the freedom to assert your voice and opinion without causing confusion. For example:

Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit approach, are designed to focus the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”) Thus, audit pricing by firms with a structured audit approach is lower, on average, than firms with an intermediate or unstructured audit approach.

Is the observation in the last sentence Myers’s or the author’s? We aren’t sure. So insert a source-reflective statement to avoid confusion.

Myers (1997) reported that “structured decision aids, as a factor in a more structured audit approach, are designed to focus the auditor on relevant information to improve effectiveness, and to improve audit efficiency, by eliminating the time needed to develop or organize individual approaches to the audit problems.” (sec. 1, “Introduction”)  Myers’s observation suggests that  audit pricing by firms with a structured audit approach is lower, on average, than firms with an intermediate or unstructured audit approach.

When and how to use footnotes

You may decide to substitute footnotes for in-text citations and a bibliography. Footnotes are thorough, like entries in the bibliography, and yet specific, like in-text citations. However, depending on the thoroughness of your use of footnotes, you may also need a bibliography.

If you decide to use footnotes, you should follow the format outlined above for the information to include in your entries and should number each footnote separately (1, 2, 3, etc.). You should NOT use the same number twice, even when referencing the same document. Check out guidelines such as those in the  Chicago Manual of Style  or the  MLA Handbook  for more information about how to number your footnote entries.

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How To Write a Bibliography (Three Styles, Plus Examples)

Give credit where credit is due.

Text that says Bibliography Writing Guide with WeAreTeachers logo on dark gray background as a tool to help students understand how to write a bibliography

Writing a research paper involves a lot of work. Students need to consult a variety of sources to gather reliable information and ensure their points are well supported. Research papers include a bibliography, which can be a little tricky for students. Learn how to write a bibliography in multiple styles and find basic examples below.

IMPORTANT: Each style guide has its own very specific rules, and they often conflict with one another. Additionally, each type of reference material has many possible formats, depending on a variety of factors. The overviews shown here are meant to guide students in writing basic bibliographies, but this information is by no means complete. Students should always refer directly to the preferred style guide to ensure they’re using the most up-to-date formats and styles.

What is a bibliography?

When you’re researching a paper, you’ll likely consult a wide variety of sources. You may quote some of these directly in your work, summarize some of the points they make, or simply use them to further the knowledge you need to write your paper. Since these ideas are not your own, it’s vital to give credit to the authors who originally wrote them. This list of sources, organized alphabetically, is called a bibliography.

A bibliography should include all the materials you consulted in your research, even if you don’t quote directly from them in your paper. These resources could include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Books and e-books
  • Periodicals like magazines or newspapers
  • Online articles or websites
  • Primary source documents like letters or official records

Bibliography vs. References

These two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings. As noted above, a bibliography includes all the materials you used while researching your paper, whether or not you quote from them or refer to them directly in your writing.

A list of references only includes the materials you cite throughout your work. You might use direct quotes or summarize the information for the reader. Either way, you must ensure you give credit to the original author or document. This section can be titled “List of Works Cited” or simply “References.”

Your teacher may specify whether you should include a bibliography or a reference list. If they don’t, consider choosing a bibliography, to show all the works you used in researching your paper. This can help the reader see that your points are well supported, and allow them to do further reading on their own if they’re interested.

Bibliography vs. Citations

Citations refer to direct quotations from a text, woven into your own writing. There are a variety of ways to write citations, including footnotes and endnotes. These are generally shorter than the entries in a reference list or bibliography. Learn more about writing citations here.

What does a bibliography entry include?

Depending on the reference material, bibliography entries include a variety of information intended to help a reader locate the material if they want to refer to it themselves. These entries are listed in alphabetical order, and may include:

  • Author/s or creator/s
  • Publication date
  • Volume and issue numbers
  • Publisher and publication city
  • Website URL

These entries don’t generally need to include specific page numbers or locations within the work (except for print magazine or journal articles). That type of information is usually only needed in a footnote or endnote citation.

What are the different bibliography styles?

In most cases, writers use one of three major style guides: APA (American Psychological Association), MLA (Modern Language Association), or The Chicago Manual of Style . There are many others as well, but these three are the most common choices for K–12 students.

Many teachers will state their preference for one style guide over another. If they don’t, you can choose your own preferred style. However, you should also use that guide for your entire paper, following their recommendations for punctuation, grammar, and more. This will ensure you are consistent throughout.

Below, you’ll learn how to write a simple bibliography using each of the three major style guides. We’ve included details for books and e-books, periodicals, and electronic sources like websites and videos. If the reference material type you need to include isn’t shown here, refer directly to the style guide you’re using.

APA Style Bibliography and Examples

APA style example of a References bibliography page

Source: Verywell Mind

Technically, APA style calls for a list of references instead of a bibliography. If your teacher requires you to use the APA style guide , you can limit your reference list only to items you cite throughout your work.

How To Write a Bibliography (References) Using APA Style

Here are some general notes on writing an APA reference list:

  • Title your bibliography section “References” and center the title on the top line of the page.
  • Do not center your references; they should be left-aligned. For longer items, subsequent lines should use a hanging indent of 1/2 inch.
  • Include all types of resources in the same list.
  • Alphabetize your list by author or creator, last name first.
  • Do not spell out the author/creator’s first or middle name; only use their initials.
  • If there are multiple authors/creators, use an ampersand (&) before the final author/creator.
  • Place the date in parentheses.
  • Capitalize only the first word of the title and subtitle, unless the word would otherwise be capitalized (proper names, etc.).
  • Italicize the titles of books, periodicals, or videos.
  • For websites, include the full site information, including the http:// or https:// at the beginning.

Books and E-Books APA Bibliography Examples

For books, APA reference list entries use this format (only include the publisher’s website for e-books).

Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Publication date). Title with only first word capitalized . Publisher. Publisher’s website

  • Wynn, S. (2020). City of London at war 1939–45 . Pen & Sword Military. https://www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/City-of-London-at-War-193945-Paperback/p/17299

Periodical APA Bibliography Examples

For journal or magazine articles, use this format. If you viewed the article online, include the URL at the end of the citation.

Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Publication date). Title of article. Magazine or Journal Title (Volume number) Issue number, page numbers. URL

  • Bell, A. (2009). Landscapes of fear: Wartime London, 1939–1945. Journal of British Studies (48) 1, 153–175. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25482966

Here’s the format for newspapers. For print editions, include the page number/s. For online articles, include the full URL.

Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year, Month Date) Title of article. Newspaper title. Page number/s. URL

  • Blakemore, E. (2022, November 12) Researchers track down two copies of fossil destroyed by the Nazis.  The Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2022/11/12/ichthyosaur-fossil-images-discovered/

Electronic APA Bibliography Examples

For articles with a specific author on a website, use this format.

Last Name, First Initial. Middle Initial. (Year, Month Date). Title . Site name. URL

  • Wukovits, J. (2023, January 30). A World War II survivor recalls the London Blitz . British Heritage . https://britishheritage.com/history/world-war-ii-survivor-london-blitz

When an online article doesn’t include a specific author or date, list it like this:

Title . (Year, Month Date). Site name. Retrieved Month Date, Year, from URL

  • Growing up in the Second World War . (n.d.). Imperial War Museums. Retrieved May 12, 2023, from https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/growing-up-in-the-second-world-war

When you need to list a YouTube video, use the name of the account that uploaded the video, and format it like this:

Name of Account. (Upload year, month day). Title [Video]. YouTube. URL

  • War Stories. (2023, January 15). How did London survive the Blitz during WW2? | Cities at war: London | War stories [Video]. YouTube. https://youtu.be/uwY6JlCvbxc

For more information on writing APA bibliographies, see the APA Style Guide website.

APA Bibliography (Reference List) Example Pages

An APA-style Reference List bibliography example page

Source: Simply Psychology

More APA example pages:

  • Western Australia Library Services APA References Example Page
  • Ancilla College APA References Page Example
  • Scribbr APA References Page Example

MLA Style Bibliography Examples

Diagram of MLA style bibliography entries

Source: PressBooks

MLA style calls for a Works Cited section, which includes all materials quoted or referred to in your paper. You may also include a Works Consulted section, including other reference sources you reviewed but didn’t directly cite. Together, these constitute a bibliography. If your teacher requests an MLA Style Guide bibliography, ask if you should include Works Consulted as well as Works Cited.

How To Write a Bibliography (Works Cited and Works Consulted) in MLA Style

For both MLA Works Cited and Works Consulted sections, use these general guidelines:

  • Start your Works Cited list on a new page. If you include a Works Consulted list, start that on its own new page after the Works Cited section.
  • Center the title (Works Cited or Works Consulted) in the middle of the line at the top of the page.
  • Align the start of each source to the left margin, and use a hanging indent (1/2 inch) for the following lines of each source.
  • Alphabetize your sources using the first word of the citation, usually the author’s last name.
  • Include the author’s full name as listed, last name first.
  • Capitalize titles using the standard MLA format.
  • Leave off the http:// or https:// at the beginning of a URL.

Books and E-Books MLA Bibliography Examples

For books, MLA reference list entries use this format. Add the URL at the end for e-books.

Last Name, First Name Middle Name. Title . Publisher, Date. URL

  • Wynn, Stephen. City of London at War 1939–45 . Pen & Sword Military, 2020. www.pen-and-sword.co.uk/City-of-London-at-War-193945-Paperback/p/17299

Periodical MLA Bibliography Examples

Here’s the style format for magazines, journals, and newspapers. For online articles, add the URL at the end of the listing.

For magazines and journals:

Last Name, First Name. “Title: Subtitle.” Name of Journal , volume number, issue number, Date of Publication, First Page Number–Last Page Number.

  • Bell, Amy. “Landscapes of Fear: Wartime London, 1939–1945.” Journal of British Studies , vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 153–175. www.jstor.org/stable/25482966

When citing newspapers, include the page number/s for print editions or the URL for online articles.

Last Name, First Name. “Title of article.” Newspaper title. Page number/s. Year, month day. Page number or URL

  • Blakemore, Erin. “Researchers Track Down Two Copies of Fossil Destroyed by the Nazis.” The Washington Post. 2022, Nov. 12. www.washingtonpost.com/science/2022/11/12/ichthyosaur-fossil-images-discovered/

Electronic MLA Bibliography Examples

Last Name, First Name. Year. “Title.” Month Day, Year published. URL

  • Wukovits, John. 2023. “A World War II Survivor Recalls the London Blitz.” January 30,   2023. https://britishheritage.com/history/world-war-ii-survivor-london-blitz

Website. n.d. “Title.” Accessed Day Month Year. URL.

  • Imperial War Museum. n.d. “Growing Up in the Second World War.” Accessed May 9, 2023. https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/growing-up-in-the-second-world-war.

Here’s how to list YouTube and other online videos.

Creator, if available. “Title of Video.” Website. Uploaded by Username, Day Month Year. URL.

  • “How did London survive the Blitz during WW2? | Cities at war: London | War stories.” YouTube . Uploaded by War Stories, 15 Jan. 2023. youtu.be/uwY6JlCvbxc.

For more information on writing MLA style bibliographies, see the MLA Style website.

MLA Bibliography (Works Cited) Example Pages

A bibliography example page with notes, written in MLA style

Source: The Visual Communication Guy

More MLA example pages:

  • Writing Commons Sample Works Cited Page
  • Scribbr MLA Works Cited Sample Page
  • Montana State University MLA Works Cited Page

Chicago Manual of Style Bibliography Examples

The Chicago Manual of Style (sometimes called “Turabian”) actually has two options for citing reference material : Notes and Bibliography and Author-Date. Regardless of which you use, you’ll need a complete detailed list of reference items at the end of your paper. The examples below demonstrate how to write that list.

How To Write a Bibliography Using The Chicago Manual of Style

A diagram of a book bibliography entry for the Chicago Manual of Style

Source: South Texas College

Here are some general notes on writing a Chicago -style bibliography:

  • You may title it “Bibliography” or “References.” Center this title at the top of the page and add two blank lines before the first entry.
  • Left-align each entry, with a hanging half-inch indent for subsequent lines of each entry.
  • Single-space each entry, with a blank line between entries.
  • Include the “http://” or “https://” at the beginning of URLs.

Books and E-Books Chicago Manual of Style Bibliography Examples

For books, Chicago -style reference list entries use this format. (For print books, leave off the information about how the book was accessed.)

Last Name, First Name Middle Name. Title . City of Publication: Publisher, Date. How e-book was accessed.

  • Wynn, Stephen. City of London at War 1939–45 . Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2020. Kindle edition.

Periodical Chicago Manual of Style Bibliography Examples

For journal and magazine articles, use this format.

Last Name, First Name. Year of Publication. “Title: Subtitle.” Name of Journal , Volume Number, issue number, First Page Number–Last Page Number. URL.

  • Bell, Amy. 2009. “Landscapes of Fear: Wartime London, 1939–1945.” Journal of British Studies, 48 no. 1, 153–175. https://www.jstor.org/stable/25482966.

When citing newspapers, include the URL for online articles.

Last Name, First Name. Year of Publication. “Title: Subtitle.” Name of Newspaper , Month day, year. URL.

  • Blakemore, Erin. 2022. “Researchers Track Down Two Copies of Fossil Destroyed by the Nazis.” The Washington Post , November 12, 2022. https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2022/11/12/ichthyosaur-fossil-images-discovered/.

Electronic Chicago Manual of Style Bibliography Examples

Last Name, First Name Middle Name. “Title.” Site Name . Year, Month Day. URL.

  • Wukovits, John. “A World War II Survivor Recalls the London Blitz.” British Heritage. 2023, Jan. 30. britishheritage.com/history/world-war-ii-survivor-london-blitz.

“Title.” Site Name . URL. Accessed Day Month Year.

  • “Growing Up in the Second World War.” Imperial War Museums . www.iwm.org.uk/history/growing-up-in-the-second-world-war. Accessed May 9, 2023.

Creator or Username. “Title of Video.” Website video, length. Month Day, Year. URL.

  • War Stories. “How Did London Survive the Blitz During WW2? | Cities at War: London | War Stories.” YouTube video, 51:25. January 15, 2023. https://youtu.be/uwY6JlCvbxc.

For more information on writing Chicago -style bibliographies, see the Chicago Manual of Style website.

Chicago Manual of Style Bibliography Example Pages

A page showing an example of a bibliography using the Chicago Manual of Style

Source: Chicago Manual of Style

More Chicago example pages:

  • Scribbr Chicago Style Bibliography Example
  • Purdue Online Writing Lab CMOS Bibliography Page
  • Bibcitation Sample Chicago Bibliography

Now that you know how to write a bibliography, take a look at the Best Websites for Teaching & Learning Writing .

Plus, get all the latest teaching tips and ideas when you sign up for our free newsletters .

Learn how to write a bibliography using MLA, ALA, and Chicago Manual of Style, plus see examples for each style and more.

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How to Write a Bibliography

Last Updated: September 14, 2023 Fact Checked

This article was co-authored by Diane Stubbs . Diane Stubbs is a Secondary English Teacher with over 22 years of experience teaching all high school grade levels and AP courses. She specializes in secondary education, classroom management, and educational technology. Diane earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware and a Master of Education from Wesley College. There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 646,687 times.

When you write a paper or a book, it's important to include a bibliography. A bibliography tells your reader what sources you've used. It lists all the books, articles, and other references you cited in or used to inform your work. Bibliographies are typically formatted according to one of three styles: American Psychological Association (APA) for scientific papers, Modern Language Association (MLA) for humanities papers, and Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) for the social sciences. Make sure you always check with your superior - whether a professor or boss - about which style they prefer.

Sample Bibliographies

bibliography meaning simple

Writing an APA Bibliography

Step 1 Create a reference list.

  • For example, if the author's name for a source is "John Adams Smith," you would list him as "Smith, J.A.," before listing the title of his piece.

Step 3 Use ellipses if there are more than seven authors.

  • For example, if one source has twelve authors, and the seventh author is "Smith, J.A." and the twelfth is "Timothy, S.J.," you would list the first six authors, then write "Smith, J.A. ...Timothy, S.J."

Step 4 List sources by the same author is chronological order.

  • For example, if you have a World Health Organization Report without an author as one of your sources, you would write, "World Health Organization, "Report on Development Strategies in Developing Nations," July 1996."

Step 6 Indent each line after the first line of each source.

  • For example, an article citation might look like this: Jensen, O. E. (2012). "African Elephants." Savannah Quarterly , 2(1), 88.
  • If the periodical the article comes from always begins with page number 1 (these types of periodicals are called “paginated by issue” periodicals, you should include the full page range of the article.
  • If the article was retrieved online, end the citation with the words "Retrieved from" followed by the web address.

Step 8 Cite books.

  • Example: Worden, B. L. (1999). Echoing Eden. New York, New York: One Two Press.
  • If the title is more than one word long and doesn’t contain any proper nouns, only the first word should be capitalized. Only the first letter of any subtitle should be capitalized as well.

Step 9 [9]...

  • For example, a cited website might look like this: Quarry, R. R. (May 23, 2010). Wild Skies. Retrieved from http://wildskies.com.
  • If no author is available, just start with the title. If no date is available, write "n.d."

Step 10 Check a reliable source for other citation rules.

Writing a MLA Bibliography

Step 1 Create a works cited page.

  • You shouldn’t use an author’s title or degrees when listing their names in your bibliography. This is true even if they are listed that way on the source.

Step 6 Cite books.

  • For example, a book citation might look like this: Butler, Olivia. Parable of the Flower. Sacramento: Seed Press, 1996.

Step 7 Cite articles.

  • For example, an article published in a scholarly journal might look like this: Green, Marsha. "Life in Costa Rica." Science Magazine vol. 1, no. 4, Mar 2013: 1-2.
  • If you’re citing an article in a newspaper, you only need the name of the newspaper, followed by the date it was published, and the page number. A citation for that might look like this: Smith, Jennifer. “Tiny Tim Wins Award.” New York Times, 24 Dec 2017, p. A7.

Step 8 Cite websites.

  • For example, a website citation might look like this: Jong, June. "How to Write an Essay." Writing Portal. 2 Aug. 2012. University of California. 23 Feb. 2013. <http://writingportal.com>
  • Some websites, particularly academic ones, will have what’s called a DOI (digital object identifier). Write “doi:” in front of this number in place of the website’s url if a DOI is available.

Step 9 Use reliable sources to look for the citations rules for other types of sources.

Writing a CMS Bibliography

Step 1 Create a bibliography page.

  • Example: Skylar Marsh. "Walking on Water." Earth Magazine 4(2001): 23.

Step 6 Cite books.

  • For example, a book entry might look like this: Walter White. Space and Time . New York: London Press, 1982

Step 7 Cite websites.

  • Example: University of California. "History of University of California." Last modified April 3, 2013. http://universityofcalifornia.com.
  • Unless there is a publication date for the website you’re citing, you don’t need to include an access date. If you do have an access date, it goes at the end of the citation.

Expert Q&A

Diane Stubbs

  • Ask your teacher or professor which style they prefer you to use in your paper. Thanks Helpful 6 Not Helpful 2
  • Be sure to include each and every source you reference in your work. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 5
  • When writing a bibliography or a reference page, it really comes down to looking at an example and applying it to your own information. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0

bibliography meaning simple

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Write an APA Style References Page

  • ↑ https://libguides.reading.ac.uk/citing-references/compilingbibliography
  • ↑ https://morningside.libguides.com/APA7/references
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/03/
  • ↑ https://libraryguides.vu.edu.au/harvard/sample-reference-list
  • ↑ Cite articles
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/08/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/
  • ↑ https://www.scribbr.com/mla/works-cited/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/05/
  • ↑ https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/research_and_citation/mla_style/mla_formatting_and_style_guide/mla_works_cited_page_basic_format.html
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/06/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/07/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/03/
  • ↑ https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/05/

About This Article

Diane Stubbs

To create an APA bibliography, title a separate page at the end of your paper "References." Then, use the authors' last names to organize your list alphabetically, for example by writing the author John Adam Smith as "Smith, J. A." If a source has more than 7 authors, list the first 7 before adding an ellipses. To cite an article, include the author's name, year of publication, article title, publication title, and page numbers. When citing a book, begin with the author's name, then the date of publication, title in Italics, location of the publisher, and publisher's name. For tips on how to write an MLA or CMS bibliography, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No

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  • Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples

Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples

Published on 1 May 2020 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on 7 November 2022.

In Harvard style , the bibliography or reference list provides full references for the sources you used in your writing.

  • A reference list consists of entries corresponding to your in-text citations .
  • A bibliography sometimes also lists sources that you consulted for background research, but did not cite in your text.

The two terms are sometimes used interchangeably. If in doubt about which to include, check with your instructor or department.

The information you include in a reference varies depending on the type of source, but it usually includes the author, date, and title of the work, followed by details of where it was published. You can automatically generate accurate references using our free reference generator:

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Table of contents

Formatting a harvard style bibliography, harvard reference examples, referencing sources with multiple authors, referencing sources with missing information, frequently asked questions about harvard bibliographies.

Sources are alphabetised by author last name. The heading ‘Reference list’ or ‘Bibliography’ appears at the top.

Each new source appears on a new line, and when an entry for a single source extends onto a second line, a hanging indent is used:

Harvard bibliography

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

Reference list or bibliography entries always start with the author’s last name and initial, the publication date and the title of the source. The other information required varies depending on the source type. Formats and examples for the most common source types are given below.

  • Entire book
  • Book chapter
  • Translated book
  • Edition of a book

Journal articles

  • Print journal
  • Online-only journal with DOI
  • Online-only journal without DOI
  • General web page
  • Online article or blog
  • Social media post

Newspapers and magazines

  • Newspaper article
  • Magazine article

When a source has up to three authors, list all of them in the order their names appear on the source. If there are four or more, give only the first name followed by ‘ et al. ’:

Sometimes a source won’t list all the information you need for your reference. Here’s what to do when you don’t know the publication date or author of a source.

Some online sources, as well as historical documents, may lack a clear publication date. In these cases, you can replace the date in the reference list entry with the words ‘no date’. With online sources, you still include an access date at the end:

When a source doesn’t list an author, you can often list a corporate source as an author instead, as with ‘Scribbr’ in the above example. When that’s not possible, begin the entry with the title instead of the author:

Though the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a difference in meaning:

  • A reference list only includes sources cited in the text – every entry corresponds to an in-text citation .
  • A bibliography also includes other sources which were consulted during the research but not cited.

In Harvard referencing, up to three author names are included in an in-text citation or reference list entry. When there are four or more authors, include only the first, followed by ‘ et al. ’

In Harvard style referencing , to distinguish between two sources by the same author that were published in the same year, you add a different letter after the year for each source:

  • (Smith, 2019a)
  • (Smith, 2019b)

Add ‘a’ to the first one you cite, ‘b’ to the second, and so on. Do the same in your bibliography or reference list .

To create a hanging indent for your bibliography or reference list :

  • Highlight all the entries
  • Click on the arrow in the bottom-right corner of the ‘Paragraph’ tab in the top menu.
  • In the pop-up window, under ‘Special’ in the ‘Indentation’ section, use the drop-down menu to select ‘Hanging’.
  • Then close the window with ‘OK’.

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What is Bibliography?: Meaning, Types, and Importance

Md. Ashikuzzaman

A bibliography is a fundamental component of academic research and writing that serves as a comprehensive list of sources consulted and referenced in a particular work. It plays a crucial role in validating the credibility and reliability of the information presented by providing readers with the necessary information to locate and explore the cited sources. A well-constructed bibliography not only demonstrates the depth and breadth of research undertaken but also acknowledges the intellectual contributions of others, ensuring transparency and promoting the integrity of scholarly work. By including a bibliography, writers enable readers to delve further into the subject matter, engage in critical analysis, and build upon existing knowledge.

1.1 What is a Bibliography?

A bibliography is a compilation of sources that have been utilized in the process of researching and writing a piece of work. It serves as a comprehensive list of references, providing information about the various sources consulted, such as books, articles, websites, and other materials. The purpose of a bibliography is twofold: to give credit to the original authors or creators of the sources used and to allow readers to locate and access those sources for further study or verification. A well-crafted bibliography includes essential details about each source, including the author’s name, the title of the work, publication date, and publication information. By having a bibliography, writers demonstrate the extent of their research, provide a foundation for their arguments, and enhance the credibility and reliability of their work.

1.2 Types of Bibliography.

The bibliography is a multifaceted discipline encompassing different types, each designed to serve specific research purposes and requirements. These various types of bibliographies provide valuable tools for researchers, scholars, and readers to navigate the vast realm of literature and sources available. From comprehensive overviews to specialized focuses, the types of bibliographies offer distinct approaches to organizing, categorizing, and presenting information. Whether compiling an exhaustive list of sources, providing critical evaluations, or focusing on specific subjects or industries, these types of bibliographies play a vital role in facilitating the exploration, understanding, and dissemination of knowledge in diverse academic and intellectual domains.

As a discipline, a bibliography encompasses various types that cater to different research needs and contexts. The two main categories of bibliographies are

1. General bibliography, and 2. Special bibliography.

1.2.1. General Bibliography:

A general bibliography is a comprehensive compilation of sources covering a wide range of subjects, disciplines, and formats. It aims to provide a broad overview of published materials, encompassing books, articles, journals, websites, and other relevant resources. A general bibliography typically includes works from various authors, covering diverse topics and spanning different periods. It is a valuable tool for researchers, students, and readers seeking a comprehensive collection of literature within a specific field or across multiple disciplines. General bibliographies play a crucial role in guiding individuals in exploring a subject, facilitating the discovery of relevant sources, and establishing a foundation for further research and academic pursuits.

The general bibliography encompasses various subcategories that comprehensively cover global, linguistic, national, and regional sources. These subcategories are as follows:

  • Universal Bibliography: Universal bibliography aims to compile a comprehensive list of all published works worldwide, regardless of subject or language. It seeks to encompass human knowledge and includes sources from diverse fields, cultures, and periods. Universal bibliography is a monumental effort to create a comprehensive record of the world’s published works, making it a valuable resource for scholars, librarians, and researchers interested in exploring the breadth of human intellectual output.
  • Language Bibliography: Language bibliography focuses on compiling sources specific to a particular language or group of languages. It encompasses publications written in a specific language, regardless of the subject matter. Language bibliographies are essential for language scholars, linguists, and researchers interested in exploring the literature and resources available in a particular language or linguistic group.
  • National Bibliography: The national bibliography documents and catalogs all published materials within a specific country. It serves as a comprehensive record of books, journals, periodicals, government publications, and other sources published within a nation’s borders. National bibliographies are essential for preserving a country’s cultural heritage, facilitating research within specific national contexts, and providing a comprehensive overview of a nation’s intellectual output.
  • Regional Bibliography: A regional bibliography compiles sources specific to a particular geographic region or area. It aims to capture the literature, publications, and resources related to a specific region, such as a state, province, or local area. Regional bibliographies are valuable for researchers interested in exploring a specific geographic region’s literature, history, culture, and unique aspects.

1.2.2. Special Bibliography:

Special bibliography refers to a type of bibliography that focuses on specific subjects, themes, or niche areas within a broader field of study. It aims to provide a comprehensive and in-depth compilation of sources specifically relevant to the chosen topic. Special bibliographies are tailored to meet the research needs of scholars, researchers, and enthusiasts seeking specialized information and resources.

Special bibliographies can cover a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to specific disciplines, subfields, historical periods, geographical regions, industries, or even specific authors or works. They are designed to gather and present a curated selection of sources considered important, authoritative, or influential within the chosen subject area.

Special bibliography encompasses several subcategories that focus on specific subjects, authors, forms of literature, periods, categories of literature, and types of materials. These subcategories include:

  • Subject Bibliography: Subject bibliography compiles sources related to a specific subject or topic. It aims to provide a comprehensive list of resources within a particular field. Subject bibliographies are valuable for researchers seeking in-depth information on a specific subject area, as they gather relevant sources and materials to facilitate focused research.
  • Author and Bio-bibliographies: Author and bio-bibliographies focus on compiling sources specific to individual authors. They provide comprehensive lists of an author’s works, including their books, articles, essays, and other publications. Bio-bibliographies include biographical information about the author, such as their background, career, and contributions to their respective fields.
  • Bibliography of Forms of Literature: This bibliography focuses on specific forms or genres of literature, such as poetry, drama, fiction, or non-fiction. It provides a compilation of works within a particular literary form, enabling researchers to explore the literature specific to their interests or to gain a comprehensive understanding of a particular genre.
  • Bibliography of Materials of Particular Periods: Bibliographies of materials of particular periods compile sources specific to a particular historical period or time frame. They include works published or created during that period, offering valuable insights into the era’s literature, art, culture, and historical context.
  • Bibliographies of Special Categories of Literature: This category compiles sources related to special categories or themes. Examples include bibliographies of children’s literature, feminist literature, postcolonial literature, or science fiction literature. These bibliographies cater to specific interests or perspectives within the broader field of literature.
  • Bibliographies of Specific Types of Materials: Bibliographies of specific materials focus on compiling sources within a particular format or medium. Examples include bibliographies of manuscripts, rare books, visual art, films, or musical compositions. These bibliographies provide valuable resources for researchers interested in exploring a specific medium or format.

1.3 Functions of Bibliography

A bibliography serves several important functions in academic research, writing, and knowledge dissemination. Here are some key functions:

  • Documentation: One of the primary functions of a bibliography is to document and record the sources consulted during the research process. By providing accurate and detailed citations for each source, it can ensure transparency, traceability, and accountability in scholarly work. It allows readers and other researchers to verify the information, trace the origins of ideas, and locate the original sources for further study.
  • Attribution and Credit: The bibliography plays a crucial role in giving credit to the original authors and creators of the ideas, information, and materials used in research work. By citing the sources, the authors acknowledge the intellectual contributions of others and demonstrate academic integrity. This enables proper attribution and prevents plagiarism, ensuring ethical research practices and upholding the principles of academic honesty.
  • Verification and Quality Control: It acts as a means of verification and quality control in academic research. Readers and reviewers can assess the information’s reliability, credibility, and accuracy by including a list of sources. This allows others to evaluate the strength of the evidence, assess the validity of the arguments, and determine the scholarly rigor of a work.
  • Further Reading and Exploration: The bibliography is valuable for readers who wish to delve deeper into a particular subject or topic. By providing a list of cited sources, the bibliography offers a starting point for further reading and exploration. It guides readers to related works, seminal texts, and authoritative materials, facilitating their intellectual growth and expanding their knowledge base.
  • Preservation of Knowledge: The bibliography contributes to the preservation of knowledge by cataloguing and documenting published works. It records the intellectual output within various fields, ensuring that valuable information is not lost over time. A bibliography facilitates the organization and accessibility of literature, making it possible to locate and retrieve sources for future reference and research.
  • Intellectual Dialogue and Scholarship: The bibliography fosters intellectual dialogue and scholarship by facilitating the exchange of ideas and enabling researchers to build upon existing knowledge. By citing relevant sources, researchers enter into conversations with other scholars, engaging in a scholarly discourse that advances knowledge within their field of study.

A bibliography serves the important functions of documenting sources, crediting original authors, verifying information, guiding further reading, preserving knowledge, and fostering intellectual dialogue. It plays a crucial role in maintaining academic research’s integrity, transparency, and quality and ensures that scholarly work is built upon a solid foundation of evidence and ideas.

1.4 Importance of Bibliographic Services

Bibliographic services are crucial in academia, research, and information management. They are a fundamental tool for organizing, accessing, and preserving knowledge . From facilitating efficient research to ensuring the integrity and credibility of scholarly work, bibliographic services hold immense importance in various domains.

Bibliographic services are vital for researchers and scholars. These services provide comprehensive and reliable access to various resources, such as books, journals, articles, and other scholarly materials. By organizing these resources in a structured manner, bibliographic services make it easier for researchers to locate relevant information for their studies. Researchers can explore bibliographic databases, catalogues, and indexes to identify appropriate sources, saving them valuable time and effort. This accessibility enhances the efficiency and effectiveness of research, enabling scholars to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in their fields.

Bibliographic services also aid in the process of citation and referencing. Proper citation is an essential aspect of academic integrity and intellectual honesty. Bibliographic services assist researchers in accurately citing the sources they have used in their work, ensuring that credit is given where it is due. This not only acknowledges the original authors and their contributions but also strengthens the credibility and authenticity of the research. By providing citation guidelines, formatting styles, and citation management tools, bibliographic services simplify the citation process, making it more manageable for researchers.

Another crucial aspect of bibliographic services is their role in preserving and archiving knowledge. Libraries and institutions that provide bibliographic services serve as custodians of valuable information. They collect, organize, and preserve various physical and digital resources for future generations. This preservation ensures that knowledge is not lost or forgotten over time. Bibliographic services enable researchers, students, and the general public to access historical and scholarly materials, fostering continuous learning and intellectual growth.

Bibliographic services contribute to the dissemination of research and scholarly works. They provide platforms and databases for publishing and sharing academic outputs. By cataloguing and indexing research articles, journals, and conference proceedings, bibliographic services enhance the discoverability and visibility of scholarly work. This facilitates knowledge exchange, collaboration, and innovation within academic communities. Researchers can rely on bibliographic services to share their findings with a broader audience, fostering intellectual dialogue and advancing their respective fields.

In Summary, bibliographic services are immensely important in academia, research, and information management. They facilitate efficient analysis, aid in proper citation and referencing, preserve knowledge for future generations, and contribute to the dissemination of research. These services form the backbone of scholarly pursuits, enabling researchers, students, and professionals to access, utilize, and contribute to the vast wealth of knowledge available. As we continue to rely on information and research to drive progress and innovation, the significance of bibliographic services will only grow, making them indispensable resources in pursuing knowledge.

References:

  • Reddy, P. V. G. (1999). Bio bibliography of the faculty in social sciences departments of Sri Krishnadevaraya university Anantapur A P India.
  • Sharma, J.S. Fundamentals of Bibliography, New Delhi : S. Chand & Co.. Ltd.. 1977.  p.5.
  • Quoted in George Schneider, Theory of History of Bibliography. Ralph Robert Shaw, trans., New York : Scare Crow Press, 1934, p.13.
  • Funk Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of the English language – International ed – Vol. I – New York : Funku Wagnalls Co., C 1965, p. 135.
  • Shores, Louis. Basic reference sources. Chicago : American Library Association, 1954. p. 11-12.
  • Ranganathan, S.R., Documentation and its facts. Bombay : Asia Publishing House. 1963. p.49.
  • Katz, William A. Introduction to reference work. 4th ed. New York : McGraw Hill, 1982. V. 1, p.42.
  • Robinson, A.M.L. Systematic Bibliography. Bombay : Asia Publishing House, 1966. p.12.
  • Chakraborthi, M.L. Bibliography : In Theory and practice, Calcutta : The World press (P) Ltd.. 1975. p.343.

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National bibliography, bibliographic services.

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Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / Creating an MLA Bibliography

Creating an MLA Bibliography

If you write a research paper in MLA format, then you will need to include a Works Cited page according to the current 9th edition of the Modern Language Association (MLA) guidelines. Along with citing your sources within the body of your paper, you also need to include full citations of all sources at the end of your paper. The references in a bibliography are formatted in the same way as they would be in a Works Cited page. However, a bibliography refers to all works that you have consulted in your research, even if you did not use their information directly in your paper.

When you use the correct MLA bibliography format, it shows the reader what sources you consulted, makes finding your sources easier for the reader, and gives credibility to your work as a researcher and writer. This MLA sample paper will show you how the bibliography is incorporated into the rest of your paper. We also have a guide on APA reference pages , if you are following APA style in your paper.

Works cited or bibliography?

You may be wondering, what is a bibliography, and how is it different from a Works Cited page? The difference between the two is that while a bibliography refers to any source you consulted to write your research paper, a Works Cited page only includes full citations of the sources you quoted or paraphrased within your paper.

Typically, when someone says, “MLA bibliography” they really mean a Works Cited page, since the MLA format usually uses a Works Cited page instead of a bibliography.

A bibliography in MLA format may also refer to a Works Consulted page. If you used other sources that you did not directly quote or paraphrase within the paper, you will need to create a Works Consulted/Additional Resources page. A Works Consulted page starts on a separate page and follows the Works Cited page. It follows the same formatting guidelines as a Works Cited page, but you will use Works Consulted (or Additional Resources) as the title.

If you’re unsure of what to include in your citations list (works cited, works consulted, or both), ask your instructor. For the rest of this article, we will refer to this page as the MLA bibliography.

MLA bibliography formatting guidelines

These are the formatting rules you need to follow to create your bibliography according to MLA’s current edition guidelines. Your first page(s) will be your Works Cited page(s) and include the references that you directly refer to in your paper. Usually, this is all that is needed. If your instructor wants you to also include the works you consulted but did not include in your paper (more like a bibliography), then add Works Consulted or Additional Resources page for these sources.

  • Your MLA Works Cited (and Works Consulted or Additional Resources pages) should begin on a separate page or pages at the end of your essay.
  • Your essay should have a header on every page that includes your last name and the page number.
  • The last name/page number header should be on the top right of each page with a ½ inch margin from the top of the page.
  • One-inch margins.
  • Title the page Works Cited (no italicization or quotation marks) unless otherwise instructed. Center the title. The top should look like this:

bibliography meaning simple

  • Only center the Works Cited title; all citations should be left-justified.
  • Double-space citations.
  • Do not add an additional space between citations.
  • After the first line, use a hanging indent of ½ inch on all additional lines of a citation. The hanging indent should look like this:

MLA works cited indent

  • Typically, this is the author’s last name, but sometimes it could be the title of the source if the author’s name is not available.

MLA bibliography works cited page

If you have a Works Consulted or Additional Resources page after your Works Cited page, format it in the same way, but with the title of Works Consulted or Additional Resources instead of Works Cited. Alternatively, your instructor may require a bibliography. If this is the case, all your sources, whether they are cited in your paper are not, are listed on the same page.

MLA citation guidelines

These are the rules you need to follow to create citations for an MLA bibliography. This section contains information on how to correctly use author names, punctuation, capitalization, fonts, page numbers, DOIs, and URLS in the citations on your MLA bibliography.

Author names

After the title Works Cited, the last name of the author of a source should be the first thing to appear on your page.

List the author’s last name followed by a comma, then the first name followed by the middle name or middle initial if applicable, without a comma separating the first and middle names. Add a period after the name.

Rowling, J.K.

Smith, Alexander McCall.

  • Do not include titles such as Dr., Mrs., etc. or professional qualifications such as PhD, M.S., etc. with author names.
  • Include suffixes such as Jr. or III after the author’s first name. Separate the first name and the suffix by a comma unless the suffix is a numeral. For example, to cite an author named John Smith, Jr., you would type Smith, John, Jr.

Sources with two authors

For a source with two authors, list the author names in your citation in the order they appear on the source, not alphabetically.

Type the last name of the first author listed on the source followed by a comma, then the first author’s first name followed by a comma. Then type the word “and” then list the second author’s first name and last name in the standard order. Follow the second name with a period.

Include middle names or initials and suffixes when applicable according to the guidelines for one author as listed above.

1st Author’s Last Name, First Name, and 2nd Author’s First Name Last Name.

Lutz, Lisa, and David Hayward.

Clark, Mary Higgins, and Alafair Burke.

Sources with three or more authors

For a source with three or more authors, only type the last and first name of the first author listed in the source, followed by a comma and the phrase et al., which is Latin for “and others.” Be sure to always place a period after the al in et al. but never after the et.

1st Author’s Last Name, First Name, et al.

Charaipotra, Sona, et al.

Williams, Beatriz, et al. All the Ways We Said Goodbye . HarperLuxe, 2020.

Organizations and corporations as authors

For sources with organizations or corporations listed as the author, type the name of the corporation in place of an author’s name. If the organization begins with an article like a, an, or the, it should be excluded in the Works Cited entry.

Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook . 2016.

*Note: If the organization is listed as both the author and the publisher, begin the citation with the title and include the organization’s name within the publisher field instead. 

For a source with no author listed, simply omit the author’s name and begin the citation with the title of the source. Use the first letter of the title when considering alphabetical order in your MLA bibliography.

Capitalization

Use MLA title case when citing titles of sources.

  • Nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, and subordinating conjunctions should be capitalized.
  • Articles, prepositions, and coordinating conjunctions should not be capitalized.

Font formatting

  • Italicize the titles of larger works such as magazines and books. Also, italicize database and website names.
  • Instead of italicization, use quotation marks around titles of shorter works such as poems, short stories, and articles.
  • End all bibliography citations with a period.

Page numbers

Include page numbers in your full citations whenever possible. This helps the reader find the information you cited more quickly than if you just cited the entire source and lends more credibility to your argument. If you cite different pages from the same source within your paper, you should cite the entire source on your MLA bibliography instead of listing all of the page numbers you used.

When including page numbers in a citation, use the abbreviation p. to cite one page and the abbreviation pp. to cite multiple pages with a hyphen between the page numbers.

p. 25 or pp. 16-37

When citing page numbers in MLA, omit the first set of repeated digits.

pp. 365-69, not pp. 365-369

DOIs and URLs

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) is used to locate and identify an online source. While URLs may change or web pages might be edited or updated, a DOI is permanent and therefore more useful in a source citation.

  • Use a DOI (digital object identifier) whenever possible. Otherwise use a permalink or URL.
  • DOIs should be formatted with “https://doi.org/” before the DOI number.
  • Do not include “http://” or “https://” in your URLs.
  • As either one will be the last part of your citation, place a period after the DOI or URL. (Note that this period is not part of the DOI or URL.)

Butarbutar, R, et al. “Analyzing of Puzzle Local Culture-Based in Teaching English for Young Learners.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science , vol. 343, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/343/1/012208.

Accessed dates

Since the previous 8th edition of the MLA Handbook was published, you do NOT need to list an accessed date for a stable source (e.g., online newspaper article, journal article, photograph, etc.). However, including an access date is good to include when a source does not have a publishing date, and some instructors will request that accessed dates be included for all sources.

If you do include an access date, here’s how to format it:

  • Place it at the end of the citation without “http://” or “https://”.
  • Write “Accessed” first, followed by the date accessed.
  • The date accessed should be formatted as Day Month (abbreviated) Year.

Butarbutar, R, et al. “IOPscience.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science , IOP Publishing, 1 Oct. 2019, iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1755-1315/343/1/012208/meta. Accessed 8 Oct. 2020.

Note: If you choose to list an accessed date after a DOI, the accessed date part of the citation will follow the period after the DOI and will end with a period at the end of the citation

Butarbutar, R, et al. “Analyzing of Puzzle Local Culture-Based in Teaching English for Young Learners.” IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science , vol. 343, 2019, https://doi.org/10.1088/1755-1315/343/1/012208. Accessed 8 Oct. 2020.

MLA 8 th edition vs MLA 9 th edition

The 9 th edition of the MLA handbook re-introduces guidelines regarding paper formatting (which were not present in the 8 th edition). The guidance in the 9 th addition is consistent with the guidance in previous editions and expands on the formatting of tables, figures/illustrations, and lists. The 9 th edition also offers new guidance in areas like annotated bibliographies, inclusive language, and footnotes/endnotes.

Many of the differences between the 8 th edition and 9 th edition have to do with the formatting of the core elements in reference list entries. Some of the main changes include:

Written by Grace Turney , freelance writer and artist. Grace is a former librarian and has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Technology. 

MLA Formatting Guide

MLA Formatting

Annotated Bibliography

Bibliography

  • Block Quotes
  • et al Usage
  • In-text Citations
  • Paraphrasing
  • Page Numbers
  • Sample Paper
  • Works Cited
  • MLA 8 Updates
  • MLA 9 Updates
  • View MLA Guide

Citation Examples

  • Book Chapter
  • Journal Article
  • Magazine Article
  • Newspaper Article
  • Website (no author)
  • View all MLA Examples

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An MLA bibliography is similar to the Works Cited list that you include at the end of your paper. The only difference between a Works Cited list and a bibliography is that for the former, you need to include the entries for only the sources you cited in the text, whereas for the latter you can also include the sources you consulted to write your paper but didn’t directly cite in your writing. MLA generally prefers Works Cited lists to bibliographies.

If your instructor advises you to create an MLA bibliography, follow the same guidelines you would follow for creating an MLA Works Cited list.

The bibliography list appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes if they are present.

All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.

Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inch from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”

The font should be clear enough to read. Use Times New Roman font of size 12 points.

Entries should be double-spaced. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines of the entry 0.5 inch from the left margin.

Bibliographic entries are arranged alphabetically according to the first item in each entry.

Title your bibliography as “Bibliography.”

Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman . Polity, 2013.

Brisini, Travis. “Phytomorphizing Performance: Plant Performance in an Expanded Field.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 39, 2019,            pp. 1–2.

Riccio, Thomas. “Reimagining Yup’ik and Inupiat Performance.” Northwest Theatre Review , vol. 12, no. 1, 1999, pp. 1–30.

General rules for creating an annotated bibliography

The annotation is given after the source entry and is generally about 100-150 words in length. The annotation should be indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the hanging indent within the citation entry.

The annotation, in general, should be written as short phrases. However, you may use full sentences as well.

The annotation for each source is usually no longer than one paragraph. However, if multiple paragraphs are included, indent the second and subsequent paragraphs without any extra line space between them.

The annotation provides basic information about the source, but does not include details about the source, quotes from the author, etc. The information can be descriptive (by generally describing what the source covers) or evaluative (by evaluating the source’s usefulness to the argument in your paper).

Example annotated bibliography

The below is an example of an annotated bibliography:

Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America . Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.

The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented, together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths; linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache; and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.

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  • What Is an Annotated Bibliography? | Examples & Format

What Is an Annotated Bibliography? | Examples & Format

Published on March 9, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022.

An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic.

Scribbr’s free Citation Generator allows you to easily create and manage your annotated bibliography in APA or MLA style. To generate a perfectly formatted annotated bibliography, select the source type, fill out the relevant fields, and add your annotation.

An example of an annotated source is shown below:

Annotated source example

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Table of contents

Annotated bibliography format: apa, mla, chicago, how to write an annotated bibliography, descriptive annotation example, evaluative annotation example, reflective annotation example, finding sources for your annotated bibliography, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.

Make sure your annotated bibliography is formatted according to the guidelines of the style guide you’re working with. Three common styles are covered below:

In APA Style , both the reference entry and the annotation should be double-spaced and left-aligned.

The reference entry itself should have a hanging indent . The annotation follows on the next line, and the whole annotation should be indented to match the hanging indent. The first line of any additional paragraphs should be indented an additional time.

APA annotated bibliography

In an MLA style annotated bibliography , the Works Cited entry and the annotation are both double-spaced and left-aligned.

The Works Cited entry has a hanging indent. The annotation itself is indented 1 inch (twice as far as the hanging indent). If there are two or more paragraphs in the annotation, the first line of each paragraph is indented an additional half-inch, but not if there is only one paragraph.

MLA annotated bibliography

Chicago style

In a  Chicago style annotated bibliography , the bibliography entry itself should be single-spaced and feature a hanging indent.

The annotation should be indented, double-spaced, and left-aligned. The first line of any additional paragraphs should be indented an additional time.

Chicago annotated bibliography

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For each source, start by writing (or generating ) a full reference entry that gives the author, title, date, and other information. The annotated bibliography format varies based on the citation style you’re using.

The annotations themselves are usually between 50 and 200 words in length, typically formatted as a single paragraph. This can vary depending on the word count of the assignment, the relative length and importance of different sources, and the number of sources you include.

Consider the instructions you’ve been given or consult your instructor to determine what kind of annotations they’re looking for:

  • Descriptive annotations : When the assignment is just about gathering and summarizing information, focus on the key arguments and methods of each source.
  • Evaluative annotations : When the assignment is about evaluating the sources , you should also assess the validity and effectiveness of these arguments and methods.
  • Reflective annotations : When the assignment is part of a larger research process, you need to consider the relevance and usefulness of the sources to your own research.

These specific terms won’t necessarily be used. The important thing is to understand the purpose of your assignment and pick the approach that matches it best. Interactive examples of the different styles of annotation are shown below.

A descriptive annotation summarizes the approach and arguments of a source in an objective way, without attempting to assess their validity.

In this way, it resembles an abstract , but you should never just copy text from a source’s abstract, as this would be considered plagiarism . You’ll naturally cover similar ground, but you should also consider whether the abstract omits any important points from the full text.

The interactive example shown below describes an article about the relationship between business regulations and CO 2 emissions.

Rieger, A. (2019). Doing business and increasing emissions? An exploratory analysis of the impact of business regulation on CO 2 emissions. Human Ecology Review , 25 (1), 69–86. https://www.jstor.org/stable/26964340

An evaluative annotation also describes the content of a source, but it goes on to evaluate elements like the validity of the source’s arguments and the appropriateness of its methods .

For example, the following annotation describes, and evaluates the effectiveness of, a book about the history of Western philosophy.

Kenny, A. (2010). A new history of Western philosophy: In four parts . Oxford University Press.

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bibliography meaning simple

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A reflective annotation is similar to an evaluative one, but it focuses on the source’s usefulness or relevance to your own research.

Reflective annotations are often required when the point is to gather sources for a future research project, or to assess how they were used in a project you already completed.

The annotation below assesses the usefulness of a particular article for the author’s own research in the field of media studies.

Manovich, Lev. (2009). The practice of everyday (media) life: From mass consumption to mass cultural production? Critical Inquiry , 35 (2), 319–331. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/596645

Manovich’s article assesses the shift from a consumption-based media culture (in which media content is produced by a small number of professionals and consumed by a mass audience) to a production-based media culture (in which this mass audience is just as active in producing content as in consuming it). He is skeptical of some of the claims made about this cultural shift; specifically, he argues that the shift towards user-made content must be regarded as more reliant upon commercial media production than it is typically acknowledged to be. However, he regards web 2.0 as an exciting ongoing development for art and media production, citing its innovation and unpredictability.

The article is outdated in certain ways (it dates from 2009, before the launch of Instagram, to give just one example). Nevertheless, its critical engagement with the possibilities opened up for media production by the growth of social media is valuable in a general sense, and its conceptualization of these changes frequently applies just as well to more current social media platforms as it does to Myspace. Conceptually, I intend to draw on this article in my own analysis of the social dynamics of Twitter and Instagram.

Before you can write your annotations, you’ll need to find sources . If the annotated bibliography is part of the research process for a paper, your sources will be those you consult and cite as you prepare the paper. Otherwise, your assignment and your choice of topic will guide you in what kind of sources to look for.

Make sure that you’ve clearly defined your topic , and then consider what keywords are relevant to it, including variants of the terms. Use these keywords to search databases (e.g., Google Scholar ), using Boolean operators to refine your search.

Sources can include journal articles, books, and other source types , depending on the scope of the assignment. Read the abstracts or blurbs of the sources you find to see whether they’re relevant, and try exploring their bibliographies to discover more. If a particular source keeps showing up, it’s probably important.

Once you’ve selected an appropriate range of sources, read through them, taking notes that you can use to build up your annotations. You may even prefer to write your annotations as you go, while each source is fresh in your mind.

An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.

Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !

Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .

The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .

A source annotation in an annotated bibliography fulfills a similar purpose to an abstract : they’re both intended to summarize the approach and key points of a source.

However, an annotation may also evaluate the source , discussing the validity and effectiveness of its arguments. Even if your annotation is purely descriptive , you may have a different perspective on the source from the author and highlight different key points.

You should never just copy text from the abstract for your annotation, as doing so constitutes plagiarism .

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COMMENTS

  1. Bibliography Definition & Meaning

    : the works or a list of the works referred to in a text or consulted by the author in its production The book's bibliography contains over 400 items. bibliographic ˌbi-blē-ə-ˈgra-fik adjective or less commonly bibliographical ˌbi-blē-ə-ˈgra-fi-kəl bibliographically ˌbi-blē-ə-ˈgra-fi-k (ə-)lē adverb Examples of bibliography in a Sentence

  2. How to Write a Bibliography, With Examples

    Write with Grammarly What is the purpose of a bibliography? A bibliography is the list of sources a work's author used to create the work. It accompanies just about every type of academic writing, like essays, research papers, and reports.

  3. BIBLIOGRAPHY

    a list of the books from a particular writer or publisher, or written about a particular subject: At the end of the interview is a good bibliography of the writer's work. He's only 46, and his bibliography already includes almost 100 novels. This book is an indispensable addition to the Beatles bibliography. Fewer examples

  4. Bibliography: Definition and Examples

    A bibliography is a list of works (such as books and articles) written on a particular subject or by a particular author. Adjective: bibliographic. Also known as a list of works cited, a bibliography may appear at the end of a book, report, online presentation, or research paper.

  5. Bibliography Definition and Examples

    Updated May 23, 2022 Image Credits A bibliography is an alphabetized list of all the sources used in an academic paper. You should compile a bibliography when writing an essay, article or research paper that relies heavily on source material.

  6. BIBLIOGRAPHY definition

    a list of the books and articles that have been used by someone when writing a book or article (Definition of bibliography from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press) Examples of bibliography

  7. Bibliography

    Bibliography ( Greek βίβλος = book γραφή = write) is the arrangement of printed books and articles according to author or subject, and the publication of lists of titles. Bibliographies are of many different kinds and may be annotated with information about their contents.

  8. BIBLIOGRAPHY Definition & Usage Examples

    a complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer. a list of source materials that are used or consulted in the preparation of a work or that are referred to in the text.

  9. Bibliography

    /ˈbɪbliˌɑgrəfi/ /bɪbliˈɒgrəfi/ IPA guide Other forms: bibliographies A bibliography is a list of writings by an author, such as the lengthy bibliography of Joyce Carol Oates, or a list of writings someone uses in a project, like the bibliography at the end of a research paper.

  10. bibliography noun

    /ˌbɪbliˈɒɡrəfi/ /ˌbɪbliˈɑːɡrəfi/ (plural bibliographies) [countable] a list of books or articles about a particular subject or by a particular author; the list of books, etc. that have been used by somebody writing an article, etc. There is a useful bibliography at the end of each chapter. Extra Examples Oxford Collocations Dictionary

  11. Bibliography

    Bibliography (from Ancient Greek: βιβλίον, romanized : biblion, lit. 'book' and -γραφία, -graphía, 'writing'), as a discipline, is traditionally the academic study of books as physical, cultural objects; in this sense, it is also known as bibliology [1] (from Ancient Greek: -λογία, romanized : -logía ).

  12. Writing a Bibliography

    A bibliography is a detailed list of all the sources consulted and cited in a research paper or project. The bibliography structure always includes citing the author's name, the title of the...

  13. How to write a bibliography

    Books. Books are the bibliography format with which you're probably most familiar. Books follow this pattern: Author Last Name, Author First Name. (Publication Year) Title. Publisher's City: Publisher. Page numbers. Alexander, Carol. (2001) Market Models: A Guide to Financial Data Analysis. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 200-220.

  14. Bibliography

    bibliography, the systematic cataloging, study, and description of written and printed works, especially books.. Bibliography is either (1) the listing of works according to some system (descriptive, or enumerative, bibliography) or (2) the study of works as tangible objects (critical, or analytical, bibliography).The word bibliography is also used to describe the product of those activities ...

  15. How To Write a Bibliography Plus Examples

    Here are some general notes on writing an APA reference list: Title your bibliography section "References" and center the title on the top line of the page. Do not center your references; they should be left-aligned. For longer items, subsequent lines should use a hanging indent of 1/2 inch.

  16. 4 Ways to Write a Bibliography

    6. Cite books. Include the author's last name and first name, separated by a comma and ending with a period. Then the book title comes in italics with a period at the end of the title. The place of publication and the name of the publishing company are separated by a colon, and then a comma and the publication date.

  17. Harvard Style Bibliography

    Formatting a Harvard style bibliography. Sources are alphabetised by author last name. The heading 'Reference list' or 'Bibliography' appears at the top. Each new source appears on a new line, and when an entry for a single source extends onto a second line, a hanging indent is used: Harvard bibliography example.

  18. How to Write a Bibliography in APA and MLA styles With Examples

    When it is time to turn in your Bibliography, type all of your sources into a list. Use the examples in MLA Format Examples or APA Format Examples as a template to insure that each source is formatted correctly. List the sources in alphabetical order using the author's last name.

  19. Citation Styles Guide

    APA Style is the most popular citation style, widely used in the social and behavioral sciences. MLA style is the second most popular, used mainly in the humanities. Chicago notes and bibliography style is also popular in the humanities, especially history. Chicago author-date style tends to be used in the sciences.

  20. What is Bibliography?: Meaning, Types, and Importance

    A bibliography is a fundamental component of academic research and writing that serves as a comprehensive list of sources consulted and referenced in a particular work. It plays a crucial role in validating the credibility and reliability of the information presented by providing readers with the necessary information to locate and explore the cited sources.

  21. Creating an MLA Bibliography

    A bibliography in MLA format may also refer to a Works Consulted page. If you used other sources that you did not directly quote or paraphrase within the paper, you will need to create a Works Consulted/Additional Resources page. A Works Consulted page starts on a separate page and follows the Works Cited page.

  22. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper, or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic.

  23. Creating a Bibliography: Lesson for Kids

    A bibliography is a descriptive list of sources used in preparing written work. In fact, the word comes from ancient Greek: biblion, meaning 'book,' and -graphia, meaning 'to write.'. This tool is ...