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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 632,616 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.
Writing an APA Bibliography
- 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.
- 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."
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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."
Writing a MLA Bibliography
- 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.
- For example, a book citation might look like this: Butler, Olivia. Parable of the Flower. Sacramento: Seed Press, 1996.
- 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.
- 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.
Writing a CMS Bibliography
- Example: Skylar Marsh. "Walking on Water." Earth Magazine 4(2001): 23.
- For example, a book entry might look like this: Walter White. Space and Time . New York: London Press, 1982
- 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.
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- 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
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- ↑ 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
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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How to Write a Bibliography (MLA, APA Examples)
Learn how to easily write a bibliography by following the format outlined in this article.
This resource will help your students properly cite different resources in the bibliography of a research paper, and how to format those citations, for books, encyclopedias, films, websites, and people.
What is a bibliography?
According to Infoplease.com, A bibliography is a list of the types of sources you used to get information for your report. It is included at the end of your report, on the last page (or last few pages).
What are the types of bibliography styles (MLA, APA, etc.)?
The 3 most common bibliography/citation styles are:
- MLA Style: The Modern Language Association works cited page style
- APA Style: The American Psychological Association style
- Chicago Style: The bibliography style defined by the Chicago Manual of Style
We’ll give examples of how to create bibliography entries in various styles further down in this article.
What sources do you put in a bibliography?
An annotated bibliography should include a reference list of any sources you use in writing a research paper. Any printed sources from which you use a text citation, including books, websites, newspaper articles, journal articles, academic writing, online sources (such as PDFs), and magazines should be included in a reference list. In some cases, you may need or want to cite conversations or interviews, works of art, visual works such as movies, television shows, or documentaries - these (and many others) can also be included in a reference list.
How to get started writing your bibliography
You will find it easier to prepare your MLA, APA, or Chicago annotated bibliography if you keep track of each book, encyclopedia, journal article, webpage or online source you use as you are reading and taking notes. Start a preliminary, or draft, bibliography by listing on a separate sheet of paper all your sources. Note down the full title, author’s last name, place of publication, web address, publisher, and date of publication for each source.
Haven't started your paper yet and need an outline? These sample essay outlines include a research paper outline from an actual student paper.
How to write a bibliography step-by-step (with examples)
General Format: Author (last name first). Title of the book. Publisher, Date of publication.
MLA Style: Sibley, David Allen. What It’s Like to Be a Bird. From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing, What Birds Are Doing, and Why. Alfred A. Knopf, 2020.
APA Style: Sibley, D.A. (2020). What It’s Like to Be a Bird. From Flying to Nesting, Eating to Singing, What Birds Are Doing, and Why . Alfred A. Knopf.
Notes: Use periods, not commas, to separate the data in the entry. Use a hanging indent if the entry is longer than one line. For APA style, do not use the full author’s first name.
Websites or webpages:
MLA Style: The SB Nation Family of Sites. Pension Plan Puppets: A Toronto Maple Leafs Blog, 2022, www.pensionplanpuppets.com. Accessed 15 Feb. 2022.
APA Style: American Heart Association. (2022, April 11). How to keep your dog’s heart healthy. https://www.heart.org/en/news/2022/04/11/how-to-keep-your-dogs-heart-healthy
Online news article from a newspaper site:
APA Style: Duehren, A. (2022, April 9). Janet Yellen faces challenge to keep pressure on Russia. Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/janet-yellen-faces-challenge-to-keep-pressure-on-russia-while-addressing-global-consequences-11650366000
Print journal articles:
MLA Style: Booch, Grady. "Patterns in Object-Oriented Design." IEEE Software Engineering, vol. 6, no. 6, 2006, pp. 31-50.
APA Style: Booch, G. (2006). Patterns in object-oriented design. IEEE Software Engineering, 6(6), 31–50.
Note: It is suggested that you include a DOI and a webpage address when referencing either a printed journal article, and electronic journal article, or an journal article that appears in both formats.
MLA Style: Gamma, Eric, and Peter A. Coad. “Exceptions to the Unified Modeling Language in Python Patterns.” IEEE Software Engineering, vol. 2, no. 6, 8 Mar. 2006, pp. 190-194. O’Reilly Software Engineering Library, https://doi.org/10.1006/se.20061. Accessed 26 May 2009.
APA Style: Masters, H., Barron, J., & Chanda, L. (2017). Motivational interviewing techniques for adolescent populations in substance abuse counseling. NAADAC Notes, 7(8), 7–13. https://www.naadac.com/notes/adolescent-techniques
ML:A Style: @Grady_Booch. “That’s a bold leap over plain old battery power cars.” Twitter, 13 Mar. 2013, 12:06 p.m., https://twitter.com/Grady_Booch/status/1516379006727188483.
APA Style: Westborough Library [@WestboroughLib]. (2022, April 12). Calling all 3rd through 5th grade kids! Join us for the Epic Writing Showdown! Winner receives a prize! Space is limited so register, today. loom.ly/ypaTG9Q [Tweet; thumbnail link to article]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/WestboroughLib/status/1516373550415896588.
Print magazine articles:
General format: Author (last name first), "Article Title." Name of magazine. Volume number, (Date): page numbers.
MLA Style: Stiteler, Sharon. "Tracking Red-Breasted Grosbeak Migration." Minnesota Bird Journal, 7 Sept. 2019, pp. 7-11.
APA Style: Jordan, Jennifer, "Filming at the Top of the World." Museum of Science Magazine. Volume 47, No. 1, (Winter 1998): p. 11.
Print newspaper articles:
General format: Author (last name first), "Article Title." Name of newspaper, city, state of publication. (date): edition if available, section, page number(s).
MLA Style: Adelman, Martin. "Augustus Announces Departure from City Manager Post." New York Times, late ed., 15 February 2020, p. A1
APA Style: Adelman, M. (2020, February 15). Augustus announced departure from city manager post. New York Times, A1.
General Format: Encyclopedia Title, Edition Date. Volume Number, "Article Title," page numbers.
MLA Style: “Gorillas.” The Encyclopedia Brittanica. 15th ed. 2010.
APA Style: Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc. (1997.) Gorillas. In The Encyclopedia Brittanica (15th ed., pp. 50-51). Encyclopedia Brittanica, Inc.
General format: Full name (last name first). Personal Interview. (Occupation.) Date of interview.
MLA Style: Smithfield, Joseph. Personal interview. 19 May 2014.
APA Style: APA does not require a formal citation for a personal interview. Published interviews from other sources should be cited accordingly.
Films and movies:
General format: Title, Director, Distributor, Year.
MLA Style: Fury. Directed by David Ayer, performances by Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, Sony Pictures, 2014.
APA Style: Ayer, D. (Director). (2014). Fury [Film]. Sony Pictures.
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How To Write a Bibliography (Three Styles, Plus Examples)
Give credit where credit is due.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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If you are using Chicago style footnotes or endnotes, you should include a bibliography at the end of your paper that provides complete citation information for all of the sources you cite in your paper. Bibliography entries are formatted differently from notes. For bibliography entries, you list the sources alphabetically by last name, so you will list the last name of the author or creator first in each entry. You should single-space within a bibliography entry and double-space between them. When an entry goes longer than one line, use a hanging indent of .5 inches for subsequent lines. Here’s a link to a sample bibliography that shows layout and spacing . You can find a sample of note format here .
Complete note vs. shortened note
Here’s an example of a complete note and a shortened version of a note for a book:
1. Karen Ho, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 27-35.
1. Karen Ho, Liquidated , 27-35.
Note vs. Bibliography entry
The bibliography entry that corresponds with each note is very similar to the longer version of the note, except that the author’s last and first name are reversed in the bibliography entry. To see differences between note and bibliography entries for different types of sources, check this section of the Chicago Manual of Style .
For Liquidated , the bibliography entry would look like this:
Ho, Karen, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street . Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.
Citing a source with two or three authors
If you are citing a source with two or three authors, list their names in your note in the order they appear in the original source. In the bibliography, invert only the name of the first author and use “and” before the last named author.
1. Melissa Borja and Jacob Gibson, “Internationalism with Evangelical Characteristics: The Case of Evangelical Responses to Southeast Asian Refugees,” The Review of Faith & International Affairs 17, no. 3 (2019): 80-81, https://doi.org/10.1080/15570274.2019.1643983 .
1. Borja and Gibson, “Internationalism with Evangelical Characteristics,” 80-81.
Borja, Melissa, and Jacob Gibson. “Internationalism with Evangelical Characteristics: The Case of Evangelical Responses to Southeast Asian Refugees.” The Review of Faith & International Affairs 17. no. 3 (2019): 80–93. https://doi.org/10.1080/15570274.2019.1643983 .
Citing a source with more than three authors
If you are citing a source with more than three authors, include all of them in the bibliography, but only include the first one in the note, followed by et al. ( et al. is the shortened form of the Latin et alia , which means “and others”).
1. Justine M. Nagurney, et al., “Risk Factors for Disability After Emergency Department Discharge in Older Adults,” Academic Emergency Medicine 27, no. 12 (2020): 1271.
Short version of note:
1. Justine M. Nagurney, et al., “Risk Factors for Disability,” 1271.
Nagurney, Justine M., Ling Han, Linda Leo‐Summers, Heather G. Allore, Thomas M. Gill, and Ula Hwang. “Risk Factors for Disability After Emergency Department Discharge in Older Adults.” Academic Emergency Medicine 27, no. 12 (2020): 1270–78. https://doi.org/10.1111/acem.14088 .
Citing a book consulted online
If you are citing a book you consulted online, you should include a URL, DOI, or the name of the database where you found the book.
1. Karen Ho, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 27-35, https://doi-org.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/10.1215/9780822391371 .
Ho, Karen. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street . Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. https://doi-org.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/10.1215/9780822391371 .
Citing an e-book consulted outside of a database
If you are citing an e-book that you accessed outside of a database, you should indicate the format. If you read the book in a format without fixed page numbers (like Kindle, for example), you should not include the page numbers that you saw as you read. Instead, include chapter or section numbers, if possible.
1. Karen Ho, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), chap. 2, Kindle.
Ho, Karen. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street . Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. Kindle.
- Citation Management Tools
- In-Text Citations
- Examples of Commonly Cited Sources
- Frequently Asked Questions about Citing Sources in Chicago Format
- Sample Bibliography
PDFs for This Section
- Citing Sources
- Online Library and Citation Tools
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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).
An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.
For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.
For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources .
- Reflect : Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?
Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.
Why should I write an annotated bibliography?
To learn about your topic : Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you're forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So, a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you'll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you'll then be able to develop your own point of view.
To help other researchers : Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.
The format of an annotated bibliography can vary, so if you're doing one for a class, it's important to ask for specific guidelines.
The bibliographic information : Generally, though, the bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) is written in either MLA or APA format. For more help with formatting, see our MLA handout . For APA, go here: APA handout .
The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages. The length will depend on the purpose. If you're just writing summaries of your sources, the annotations may not be very long. However, if you are writing an extensive analysis of each source, you'll need more space.
You can focus your annotations for your own needs. A few sentences of general summary followed by several sentences of how you can fit the work into your larger paper or project can serve you well when you go to draft.
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:
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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- Sample Paper
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- MLA 8 Updates
- MLA 9 Updates
- View MLA Guide
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- 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.
MLA Citation Examples
Other Citation Styles
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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 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.
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.
- Write an equation or formula Article
- Indent the first line of a paragraph Article
- Double-space the lines in a document Article
- Create a bibliography, citations, and references Article
- Insert footnotes and endnotes Article
Create a bibliography, citations, and references
Put your cursor at the end of the text you want to cite.
Go to References > Style , and choose a citation style.
Select Insert Citation .
Choose Add New Source and fill out the information about your source.
Once you've added a source to your list, you can cite it again:
Go to References > Insert Citation , and choose the source you are citing.
To add details, like page numbers if you're citing a book, select Citation Options , and then Edit Citation .
Create a bibliography
With cited sources in your document, you're ready to create a bibliography.
Put your cursor where you want the bibliography.
Go to References > Bibliography , and choose a format.
Tip: If you cite a new source, add it to the bibliography by clicking anywhere in the bibliography and selecting Update Citations and Bibliography .
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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:
Harvard Reference Generator
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:
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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
- 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’.
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the ‘Cite this Scribbr article’ button to automatically add the citation to our free Reference Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2022, November 07). Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved 3 November 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/referencing/harvard-bibliography/
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How to Write a Bibliography: Referencing Styles Explained
If you aren't familiar with writing bibliographies as part of your assignments, it can feel pretty confusing. Often, bibliographies are an afterthought or something left to the last minute. However, if you collect the information as you study, bibliographies can be a hassle-free part of your project.
In this guide, we explain exactly what a bibliography is, the different referencing styles and where to find the necessary information.
What is a bibliography?
A bibliography is the list of sources you used to build your assignment. You should include anything you actively referenced in your work and anything you read as part of your project's research and learning phase, even if you don't explicitly cite them within your project.
What are primary and secondary sources?
Your course teacher may request you order your bibliography using primary and secondary sources. This is much more simple than it sounds.
A primary source refers to works created by people directly connected with the topic you are writing about. For example, if you are discussing a psychological study , a primary source would be a psychologist who was actively involved in the study.
On the other hand, secondary sources refer to any authors that discuss the topic you are studying but have no direct association.
What should you include in a bibliography?
We recommend compiling your bibliography as you study. Whether or not you directly reference sources, if you use them as part of your studies, they should be included. By collecting this information and building your bibliography as you go, you’ll find it far less stressful and one less thing to worry about.
Information required for referencing printed sources:
- The name of the author.
- The title of the publication or article.
- The date of publication.
- The page number in the book where the citation can be found.
- The name of the publishing company.
- If you’re referencing a magazine or printed encyclopedia, record the volume number.
Information required for referencing web sources:
- The name of the author or editor.
- The title of the webpage.
- The company that created the webpage.
- The URL of the piece.
- The last date you visited the webpage.
Where to find this information
The information you need to include in your bibliography will be located in different places, which can be pretty frustrating, particularly if you’ve left your referencing to the last minute. However, there are a few specific places where this information is likely to be found:
- The contents page (for magazine or journal articles).
- The first, second or editorial page (for newspapers).
- The header or footer of the webpage.
- The contact, or about, page of the website.
What are the different bibliography styles?
In addition to structuring your bibliography correctly, depending on whether your source is a book, magazine, newspaper or webpage, you need to find out what bibliographic style is required.
Different course tutors will ask for a specific referencing style. This means that you simply present your source information in a different order.
There are four main styles that you might be asked to follow: MLA, APA, Harvard or MHRA, and the chosen style will change your reference order:
MRL reference order
- Full name of the author (last name first).
- The title of the book.
- Publication place.
- The name of the book publisher.
- The publication date.
APA/Harvard reference order
- If using Harvard referencing, title your bibliography as ‘References’.
- Author’s last name.
- Author's first initial.
- The publication date (in brackets).
- The book title.
- The publication place.
MHRA reference order
- Author’s first and last name
- The title of the book
- The publication date
Points three to five should all be included in the same bracket.
How to write a bibliography
Whatever the style needed for your bibliography, there are some simple rules to follow for success:
- Collect citation information as you go.
- All citations must be listed alphabetically using the author's last name (if using the MHRA style, use the author’s first name).
- If you can’t source the author's name, alphabetise using the book or article title.
- If there are multiple authors of an article or book, alphabetise by the first author.
- Consistency is key. All the information must be listed in exactly the same way.
- Each source should begin on a new line.
- Bibliographies should be placed at the end of your assignment.
If you’re unsure about constructing your bibliography, get in touch with your tutor , who will be able to help.
We hope this handy guide clears up any confusion you have about referencing styles. If you’re looking to level up your learning, our experienced learning advisers are here to help. For more information, browse our complete range of courses or give us a call on 0121 630 3000.
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How to Write a Bibliography in APA Format
Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
Emily is a board-certified science editor who has worked with top digital publishing brands like Voices for Biodiversity, Study.com, GoodTherapy, Vox, and Verywell.
- APA Bibliography
- How to Create One
- Why You Need It
What is an apa format bibliography.
An APA format bibliography is an alphabetical listing of all sources that might be used to write an academic paper, essay, article, or research paper—particularly work that is covering psychology or psychology-related topics. APA format is the official style of the American Psychological Association (APA). This format is used by many psychology professors, students, and researchers.
Even if it is not a required part of your assignment, writing a bibliography can help you keep track of your sources and make it much easier to create your final reference page in proper APA format.
Creating an APA Bibliography
A bibliography is similar in many ways to a reference section , but there are some important differences. While a reference section includes every source that was actually used in your paper, a bibliography may include sources that you considered using but may have dismissed because they were irrelevant or outdated.
Bibliographies can be a great way to keep track of information you might want to use in your paper and to organize the information that you find in different sources. The following are four steps you can follow to create your APA format bibliography.
Start on a New Page
Your working bibliography should be kept separate from the rest of your paper. Start it on a new page, with the title “Bibliography” centered at the top and in bold text. Some people use the title "References" instead, so it's best to check with your professor or instructor which they prefer you use.
Gather Your Sources
Compile all the sources you might possibly use in your paper. While you might not use all of these sources in your paper, having a complete list will make it easier later on when you prepare your reference section.
Gathering your sources can be particularly helpful when outlining and writing your paper.
By quickly glancing through your working bibliography, you will be able to get a better idea of which sources will be the most appropriate to support your thesis and main points.
Reference Each Source
Your references should be listed alphabetically by the author’s last name, and they should be double-spaced. The first line of each reference should be flush left, while each additional line of a single reference should be a few spaces to the right of the left margin, which is known as a hanging indent.
The format of each source is as follows for academic journals:
- Last name of first author (followed by their first initial)
- The year the source was published in parentheses
- The title of the source
- The journal that published the source (in italics)
- The volume number, if applicable (in italics)
- The issue number, if applicable
- Page numbers (in parentheses)
- The URL or "doi" in lowercase letters followed by a colon and the doi number, if applicable
The following examples are scholarly articles in academic journals, cited in APA format:
- Kulacaoglu, F., & Kose, S. (2018). Borderline personality disorder (BPD): In the midst of vulnerability, chaos, and awe. Brain sciences , 8 (11), 201. doi:10.3390/brainsci8110201
- Cattane, N., Rossi, R., & Lanfredi, M. (2017). Borderline personality disorder and childhood trauma: exploring the affected biological systems and mechanisms. BMC Psychiatry, 18 (221). doi:10.1186/s12888-017-1383-2
Visit the American Psychological Association's website for more information on citing other types of sources including online media, audiovisual media, and more.
Create an Annotation for Each Source
Normally a bibliography contains only references' information, but in some cases you might decide to create an annotated bibliography. An annotation is a summary or evaluation of the source.
An annotation is a brief description of approximately 150 words describing the information in the source, your evaluation of its credibility, and how it pertains to your topic. Writing one of these for each piece of research will make your writing process faster and easier.
This step helpful in determining which sources to ultimately use in your paper. Your instructor may also require it as part of the assignment so they can assess your thought process and understanding of your topic.
Reasons to Write a Bibliography
One of the biggest reasons to create an APA format bibliography is simply to make the research and writing process easier.
If you do not have a comprehensive list of all of your references, you might find yourself scrambling to figure out where you found certain bits of information that you included in your paper.
A bibliography is also an important tool that your readers can use to access your sources.
While writing an annotated bibliography might not be required for your assignment, it can be a very useful step. The process of writing an annotation helps you learn more about your topic, develop a deeper understanding of the subject, and become better at evaluating various sources of information.
The following is an example of an APA format bibliography by the website EasyBib:
There are many online resources that demonstrate different formats of bibliographies, including the American Psychological Association website . Purdue University's Online Writing Lab also has examples of formatting an APA format bibliography. Check out this video on their YouTube channel which provides detailed instructions on formatting an APA style bibliography in Microsoft Word.
You can check out the Purdue site for more information on writing an annotated APA bibliography as well.
A Word From Verywell
If you are taking a psychology class, you may be asked at some point to create a bibliography as part of the research paper writing process. Even if your instructor does not expressly require a bibliography, creating one can be a useful way to help structure your research and make the writing process easier.
For psychology majors , it can be helpful to save any bibliographies you have written over the course of your studies so that you can refer back to them later when studying for exams or writing papers for other psychology courses.
Masic I. The importance of proper citation of references in biomedical articles. Acta Inform Med . 2013;21(3):148–155. doi:10.5455/aim.2013.21.148-155
Cornell University Library. How to prepare an annotated bibliography: The annotated bibliography .
American Psychological Association. How do you format a bibliography in APA Style?
American Psychological Association. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association . 7th Edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association; 2020.
By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."
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How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)
What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.
An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?
While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, website, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.
An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.
Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:
- Provide a literature review on a particular subject
- Help to formulate a thesis on a subject
- Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
- Provide examples of major sources of information available on a topic
- Describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic
There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:
A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.
McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business. Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting , 30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.
An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.
Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.
McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business. Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting , 30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.
Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.
- Choose your sources - Before writing your annotated bibliography, you must choose your sources. This involves doing research much like for any other project. Locate records to materials that may apply to your topic.
- Review the items - Then review the actual items and choose those that provide a wide variety of perspectives on your topic. Article abstracts are helpful in this process.
- The purpose of the work
- A summary of its content
- Information about the author(s)
- For what type of audience the work is written
- Its relevance to the topic
- Any special or unique features about the material
- Research methodology
- The strengths, weaknesses or biases in the material
Annotated bibliographies may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.
Please see the APA Examples page for more information on citing in APA style.
- Last Updated: Aug 8, 2023 11:27 AM
- URL: https://libguides.umgc.edu/annotated-bibliography-apa
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- How to create an MLA style annotated bibliography
MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples
Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 14, 2022.
An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.
You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment.
MLA provides guidelines for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. An example of a typical annotation is shown below.
Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts . Oxford UP, 2010.
You can create and manage your annotated bibliography with Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator. Choose your source type, retrieve the details, and click “Add annotation.”
Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr
Table of contents, mla format for annotated bibliographies, length and content of annotations, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.
The list should be titled either “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” You may be told which title to use; “bibliography” is normally used for a list that also includes sources you didn’t cite in your paper or that isn’t connected to a paper at all.
Sources are usually organized alphabetically , like in a normal Works Cited list, but can instead be organized chronologically or by subject depending on the purpose of the assignment.
The source information is presented and formatted in the same way as in a normal Works Cited entry:
- 0.5 inch hanging indent
The annotation follows on the next line, also double-spaced and left-aligned. The whole annotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the 0.5 inch hanging indent of the source entry.
- If the annotation is only one paragraph long, there’s no additional indent for the start of the paragraph.
- If there are two or more paragraphs, indent the first line of each paragraph , including the first, an additional half-inch (so those lines are indented 1.5 inches in total).
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MLA gives some guidelines for writing the annotations themselves. They cover how concise you need to be and what exactly you should write about your sources.
Phrases or full sentences?
MLA states that it’s acceptable to use concise phrases rather than grammatically complete sentences in your annotations.
While you shouldn’t write this way in your main text, it’s acceptable in annotations because the subject of the phrase is clear from the context. It’s also fine to use full sentences instead, if you prefer.
- Broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
- Kenny presents a broad history of Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks to the present day.
Always use full sentences if your instructor requires you to do so, though.
How many paragraphs?
MLA states that annotations usually aim to be concise and thus are only one paragraph long. However, it’s acceptable to write multiple-paragraph annotations if you need to.
If in doubt, aim to keep your annotations short, but use multiple paragraphs if longer annotations are required for your assignment.
Descriptive, evaluative, or reflective annotations?
MLA states that annotations can describe or evaluate sources, or do both. They shouldn’t go into too much depth quoting or discussing minor details from the source, but aim to write about it in broad terms.
You’ll usually write either descriptive , evaluative , or reflective annotations . If you’re not sure what kind of annotations you need, consult your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.
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 .
No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.
Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .
Cite this Scribbr article
If you want to cite this source, you can copy and paste the citation or click the “Cite this Scribbr article” button to automatically add the citation to our free Citation Generator.
Caulfield, J. (2022, June 14). MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved November 3, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/mla-annotated-bibliography/
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