Bibliography: Definition and Examples
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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)
- What Is a Bibliography?
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- Writing an Annotated Bibliography for a Paper
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- Definition of Appendix in a Book or Written Work
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- 1 Definition: Bibliography
- 4 In a Nutshell
Bibliography is a term used to describe the study of books and cultural objects with the intent of achieving an academic purpose. It is also described as a discipline that entails the listing of books in an organized manner, also known as enumerative bibliography, or the systematic manner of describing books similar to objects, a descriptive bibliography that forms the literature of a subject under study.
What is bibliography?
A bibliography (not to be confused with the works cited ) generally entails the listing of books, articles, journals, cultural objects and other study materials used to compose a piece of academic writing or literary work. It is essentially a list of sources used (both referenced in-text and otherwise) in writing a research paper.
What is the difference between bibliographies and a works cited page?
The two may seem similar since they share characteristics, such as the basic structure and the alphabetical arrangement of entries. All of the cited works of authors and all other works consulted by the author, despite not being directly mentioned in the text, are required in a bibliography. On the other hand, only the sources that you referred to have to be included in the works cited . This means that if the author did some selective reading, then all of the source information needs to be included in the bibliography, but not the works cited.
What information should be included in a bibliography?
Good bibliographies should include the following: • The authors’ names • Title of the books, works or objects referred to in the research paper or thesis. • Date of publication • Names of publishers and their locations • If there were multiple volumes in a given source volume, then page number(s) must be included
The exact method and formatting required, will depend on the referencing style that your institution uses.
What are the different types of bibliographies?
There are three main types of bibliographies. Check with your institution which method you’re required to use. This may depend on the referencing and citation style you’re using, as well as your field of research.
Analytical: Includes any information and new insights that come to light as the book or research paper progresses.
Annotated: Provides an outline of the research that was conducted and comments on individual sources.
Enumerative: A list of sources in a specific order.
Areas of Application for Bibliographies
Bibliographies are commonly used in a sentence. They are also used in projects and for answering the research question . While citing this bibliography, the writer needs to give all the references.
Different Kinds of Bibliographies
Bibliographies are classified according to the style or the way of listing the sources. There are three common types of bibliography:
- Analytical bibliography
- Enumerative bibliography
- Annotated bibliography
Analytical bibliographies include information concerning the booksellers and printers, paper and binding descriptions, and any insights that unfold as a book evolved from a manuscript to a published book. This can be further subdivided into a descriptive bibliography concerned with the physical appearance and nature of a book, a textual bibliography which compares the already published work to the author’s original manuscript, and lastly, a historical bibliography that shows the context of the production of the book.
Annotated bibliographies show the source of writer’s creation, in alphabetical order. This type of bibliography lists a series of tasks that were done by the author of the paper. They provide an outline of what kind of research was done on a given chapter, the addition of notes about the source, comments on and a summary of the source, an assessment of the source whereby the usefulness of the source is evaluated, and reflections on the source which provide a perspective on the usefulness of the text with respect to the research question .
Students writing research papers commonly use enumerative bibliography. Here, the writer lists all the references considering some specific arrangements. For example, an author starts with the subject then lastly dates items listed. They share common characteristics such as language, topic or period of time. Information concerning the source is then given by the writer so as to provide directions to the readers towards the source. An example of this bibliography is a card catalogue.
GOOD TO KNOW: Read our article about referencing & citation styles to find out how to write a perfect bibliography!
Monographs are books that address a particular topic. An example of a bibliography citing such books is as follows:
Danny Irvings, E.U. (2016). Diet and body control. Amsterdam: Mindset publishers.
When writing bibliographies of edited books, the writer should note that when highlighting a chapter, the word ‘in’ must be placed before the editor’s name. For example: In Heisten D.Y. & Thompson G.E. (Eds.), (2014). Human biology of physical existence. Hurlingham, GN: University Of California Press.
When tackling bibliography citations of internet sources and scientific journals, the writer has to consider the steps highlighted earlier when listing the contents of a bibliography: John Saynard, Psychology for The Need, retrieved from http://www.sharing.com/online sources/news and livelihood/psychology/words/2007/.
APA Bibliography Format
In writing bibliographies using APA format ( APA Citation ), the following steps need to be observed:
- It should be done at the end of the paper on a new page, entitled ‘References’ with center-alignment
- The author’s name must be listed; if there is more than one author, the names are separated with an ampersand.
- Show the publication date, the title of the source, the publisher’s location, and their name. For example: Peterson, D. (1992). The creators: A history of the heroes of imagination. New York: Random House.
- For online sources, start with the author’s name, followed by the publication date, the title of the article or journal, volume number, month, day, year of retrieval, and lastly the full URL. For example: Raids, g. (2007, July 3). Lightning injures at music festivals. The why? Files. Retrieved February 23, 2007, 2006 from http://whyfiles.org/137lighting/index.html.
MLA Bibliography Format
- When writing monographs using MLA, the bibliography appears in this format: Litfin, Karen. “Introduction to Political Economy.” Political Science 203. The University of Washington. Seattle, 16 October 2000.
- The following is an example of citing edited books, especially those with more than one author: Druin, Allison, and Solomon, Cynthia. Designing Multimedia Environments for Children. J. Wiley & Sons, 1996.
- Online sources or scientific articles using the MLA bibliography citation format are cited as follows: National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, http://www.weather.gov/.
In a Nutshell
- A bibliography is a series of activities involving the listing of books, sources, journals, or articles, with the primary objective of providing a concise literature review.
- The main areas in which a bibliography is used include academic works such as research papers, proposals, reflection or even sentences.
- Bibliographies may be divided into two categories: the APA citation and MLA citations, which in turn contain the different bibliography types. These include analytical bibliographies, enumerative bibliographies, and lastly, annotated bibliographies.
It is therefore advisable for both college and university students to be clear on what bibliographies entail and be able to apply the skills gained from this discipline so as to help avoid plagiarism.
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James B McMillan, Michael B Montgomery. Annotated Bibliography of Southern American English University of Alabama Press, 2018 Marjorie Powell, Joseph W Beard. An annotated bibliography and guide to research Routledge, 2018
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What is a Bibliography?
What is an annotated bibliography, introduction to the annotated bibliography.
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- the authors' names
- the titles of the works
- the names and locations of the companies that published your copies of the sources
- the dates your copies were published
- the page numbers of your sources (if they are part of multi-source volumes)
Ok, so what's an Annotated Bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is the same as a bibliography with one important difference: in an annotated bibliography, the bibliographic information is followed by a brief description of the content, quality, and usefulness of the source. For more, see the section at the bottom of this page.
What are Footnotes?
Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom of a page. They cite references or comment on a designated part of the text above it. For example, say you want to add an interesting comment to a sentence you have written, but the comment is not directly related to the argument of your paragraph. In this case, you could add the symbol for a footnote. Then, at the bottom of the page you could reprint the symbol and insert your comment. Here is an example:
This is an illustration of a footnote. 1 The number “1” at the end of the previous sentence corresponds with the note below. See how it fits in the body of the text? 1 At the bottom of the page you can insert your comments about the sentence preceding the footnote.
When your reader comes across the footnote in the main text of your paper, he or she could look down at your comments right away, or else continue reading the paragraph and read your comments at the end. Because this makes it convenient for your reader, most citation styles require that you use either footnotes or endnotes in your paper. Some, however, allow you to make parenthetical references (author, date) in the body of your work.
Footnotes are not just for interesting comments, however. Sometimes they simply refer to relevant sources -- they let your reader know where certain material came from, or where they can look for other sources on the subject. To decide whether you should cite your sources in footnotes or in the body of your paper, you should ask your instructor or see our section on citation styles.
Where does the little footnote mark go?
Whenever possible, put the footnote at the end of a sentence, immediately following the period or whatever punctuation mark completes that sentence. Skip two spaces after the footnote before you begin the next sentence. If you must include the footnote in the middle of a sentence for the sake of clarity, or because the sentence has more than one footnote (try to avoid this!), try to put it at the end of the most relevant phrase, after a comma or other punctuation mark. Otherwise, put it right at the end of the most relevant word. If the footnote is not at the end of a sentence, skip only one space after it.
What's the difference between Footnotes and Endnotes?
The only real difference is placement -- footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page, while endnotes all appear at the end of your document. If you want your reader to read your notes right away, footnotes are more likely to get your reader's attention. Endnotes, on the other hand, are less intrusive and will not interrupt the flow of your paper.
If I cite sources in the Footnotes (or Endnotes), how's that different from a Bibliography?
Sometimes you may be asked to include these -- especially if you have used a parenthetical style of citation. A "works cited" page is a list of all the works from which you have borrowed material. Your reader may find this more convenient than footnotes or endnotes because he or she will not have to wade through all of the comments and other information in order to see the sources from which you drew your material. A "works consulted" page is a complement to a "works cited" page, listing all of the works you used, whether they were useful or not.
Isn't a "works consulted" page the same as a "bibliography," then?
Well, yes. The title is different because "works consulted" pages are meant to complement "works cited" pages, and bibliographies may list other relevant sources in addition to those mentioned in footnotes or endnotes. Choosing to title your bibliography "Works Consulted" or "Selected Bibliography" may help specify the relevance of the sources listed.
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The Importance of an Annotated Bibliography
An Annotated Bibliography is a collection of annotated citations. These annotations contain your executive notes on a source. Use the annotated bibliography to help remind you of later of the important parts of an article or book. Putting the effort into making good notes will pay dividends when it comes to writing a paper!
Being an executive summary, the annotated citation should be fairly brief, usually no more than one page, double spaced.
- Focus on summarizing the source in your own words.
- Avoid direct quotations from the source, at least those longer than a few words. However, if you do quote, remember to use quotation marks. You don't want to forget later on what is your own summary and what is a direct quotation!
- If an author uses a particular term or phrase that is important to the article, use that phrase within quotation marks. Remember that whenever you quote, you must explain the meaning and context of the quoted word or text.
Common Elements of an Annotated Citation
- Summary of an Article or Book's thesis or most important points (Usually two to four sentences)
- Summary of a source's methodological approach. That is, what is the source? How does it go about proving its point(s)? Is it mostly opinion based? If it is a scholarly source, describe the research method (study, etc.) that the author used. (Usually two to five sentences)
- Your own notes and observations on the source beyond the summary. Include your initial analysis here. For example, how will you use this source? Perhaps you would write something like, "I will use this source to support my point about . . . "
- Formatting Annotated Bibliographies This guide from Purdue OWL provides examples of an annotated citation in MLA and APA formats.
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What is the difference between a reference list and a bibliography.
The Referencing Guide provided by the library provides examples of how to format references for in-text referencing and the bibilography.
A reference list contains only sources you have cited in-text in your assignment.
A bibliography is a list of all the sources you used to generate your ideas about the topic including those cited in your assignment as well as those you did not cite.
The terms reference list and bibliography are sometimes used interchangeably. However, consult the guide to the referencing style your lecturer has asked you to use to learn the correct terminology and what is required to reference resources for your assignments appropriately.
- For more information, see our Referencing guides .
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What is a bibliography?
A bibliography is a list of works on a subject or by an author that were used or consulted to write a research paper, book or article. It can also be referred to as a list of works cited. It is usually found at the end of a book, article or research paper.
Regardless of what citation style is being used, there are key pieces of information that need to be collected in order to create the citation.
For books and/or journals:
- Author name
- Title of publication
- Article title (if using a journal)
- Date of publication
- Place of publication
- Volume number of a journal, magazine or encyclopedia
- Page number(s)
- Author and/or editor name
- Title of the website
- Company or organization that owns or posts to the website
- URL (website address)
- Date of access
This section provides two examples of the most common cited sources: a print book and an online journal retrieved from a research database.
Book - Print
For print books, bibliographic information can be found on the TITLE PAGE . This page has the complete title of the book, author(s) and publication information.
The publisher information will vary according to the publisher - sometimes this page will include the name of the publisher, the place of publication and the date.
For this example : Book title: HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible Author: Steven M. Schafer Publisher: Wiley Publications, Inc.
If you cannot find the place or date of publication on the title page, refer to the COPYRIGHT PAGE for this information. The copyright page is the page behind the title page, usually written in a small font, it carries the copyright notice, edition information, publication information, printing history, cataloging data, and the ISBN number.
For this example : Place of publication: Indianapolis, IN Date of publication: 2010
Article - Academic OneFile Database
In the article view:
Bibliographic information can be found under the article title, at the top of the page. The information provided in this area is NOT formatted according to any style.
Citations can also be found at the bottom of the page; in an area titled SOURCE CITATION . The database does not specify which style is used in creating this citation, so be sure to double check it against the style rules for accuracy.
Article - ProQuest Database
Bibliographic information can be found under the article title, at the top of the page. The information provided in this area is NOT formatted according to any style.
Bibliographic information can also be found at the bottom of the page; in an area titled INDEXING . (Not all the information provided in this area is necessary for creating citations, refer to the rules of the style being used for what information is needed.)
Other databases have similar formats - look for bibliographic information under the article titles and below the article body, towards the bottom of the page.
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- Key Differences
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Difference Between Reference and Bibliography
Last updated on October 1, 2019 by Surbhi S
Reference and Bibliography is an important part of any project under study because it helps in acknowledging other’s work and also help the readers in finding the original sources of information. It not only prevents plagiarism but also indicates that the writer has done good research on the subject by using a variety of sources to gain information.
Read out the article to know the differences between reference and bibliography.
Content: Reference Vs Bibliography
Comparison chart, definition of reference.
Reference can be understood as the act of giving credit to or mentioning the name of, someone or something. In research methodology, it denotes the items which you have reviewed and referred to, in the text, in your research work. It is nothing but a way to acknowledge or indirectly showing gratitude, towards the sources from where the information is gathered.
While using references, one thing is to be noted that you go for reliable sources only, because it increases credence and also supports your arguments. It may include, books, research papers, or articles from magazines, journals, newspapers, etc., interview transcripts, internet sources such as websites, blogs, videos watched, and so forth.
These are used to inform the reader about the sources of direct quotations, tables, statistics, photos etc. that are included in the research work.
Definition of Bibliography
At the end of the research report, bibliography is added, which contains a list of books, magazines, journals, websites or other publications which are in some way relevant to the topic under study, that has been consulted by the researcher during the research. In finer terms, it comprises of all the references cited in the form of footnotes and other important works that the author has studied.
The bibliography is helpful to the reader in gaining information regarding the literature available on the topic and what influenced the author. For better presentation and convenient reading, the bibliography can be grouped into two parts, wherein the first part lists out the names of books and pamphlets consulted, and the other contains the names of magazines and newspapers considered.
Types of Bibliography
- Bibliography of works cited : It contains the name of those books whose content has been cited in the text of the research report.
- Selected Bibliography : As it is evident from the name itself, selected bibliography covers only those works which the author assumes that are of major interest to the reader.
- Annotated Bibliography : In this type of bibliography, a small description of the items covered is given by the author to ensure readability and also improve the usefulness of the book.
Key Differences Between Reference and Bibliography
The difference between reference and bibliography can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- Reference implies referring to someone or something, that means it provides the list of sources, whose text is used in the assignment or research work. Conversely, bibliography represents the list of all the sources, from which the research has gained some information about the topic, irrespective of the work cited or not.
- References are based on primary sources, whereas bibliography is created on the basis of primary and secondary sources.
- References used in the assignment can be arranged alphabetically or numerically. On the contrary, list of sources used in the bibliography is arranged numerically.
- The bibliography is used to list out everything you go through to obtain the information relating to the assignment, no matter if you specifically cite it in your assignment or not. Now coming to references, it only takes into account those sources which have been cited in the assignment.
- The main objective of adding a reference at the end of the document is to improve credence or support an idea or argument. As against, the bibliography is not used for supporting an argument.
- While reference is used in thesis and dissertation. On the other hand, bibliography is used in case of journal paper and research work.
To sum up, references and bibliography are almost same, but there are only subtle differences between the two, which lies in the items which are included in them. The primary use of references is to get recognition and authentication of the research work, whereas bibliography is appended with the aim of giving the reader the information on the sources relating to the topic.
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Tools for Effective Writing
- Academic Writing
- Step 1: Before You Start Writing
- Step 2: Writing the Literature Review
- Examples and Additional Resources
- Writing an Annotated Bibliography
- References vs Bibliography
- Citation Guide
- Writing for Nursing
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Citing Sources - References vs Bibliography
References and Bibliographies - What's the difference?
When you write academic papers, you will need to include a list of sources you used to write the paper. There are two main ways to list your sources, with a reference list or a bibliography.
References include sources that have been directly cited in your paper. For each source, you will have at least one in-text citation in the body of your paper. The citation styles that use reference lists include APA citations, AMA citations, and MLA citations.
Bibliographies, on the other hand, contain all the sources that you have used for your paper, whether they are directly cited or not. In a bibliography, you should include all of the materials you consulted in preparing your paper. Chicago citations and Oxford citations are two citation styles that use bibliographies.
Both reference lists and bibliographies appear at the end of a written work and are usually organized alphabetically. A paper can have both a reference list and a bibliography.
For more information on how to cite your sources, check out the De Paul Library's Citation Guide .
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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
- bibliographic control
- bibliographic utility
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
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.