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How to Write a Bibliography in APA and MLA styles With Examples
What is a bibliography.
Your bibliography should include a minimum of three written sources of information about your topic from books, encyclopedias, and periodicals. You may have additional information from the Web if appropriate.
But, you develop a bibliography only after first preparing a background research plan — a road map of the research questions you need to answer. Before you compose your bibliography, you will need to develop your background research plan.
With your background research plan in hand, you will find sources of information that will help you with your science fair project. As you find this information it will be important for you to write down where the sources are from. You can use the Bibliography Worksheet to help you, just print out a few copies and take them with you to the library. As you find a source, write in all of the necessary information. This way, when you are typing your bibliography you won't need to go back to the library and find any missing information. The more information you write down about your source, the easier it will be for you to find if you want to read it again.
When you are writing your report, you will use the sources in your bibliography to remind you of different facts and background information you used for your science fair project. Each time you use some information from a source, you will need to cite the source that it came from. To cite a source, simply put the author's name and the date of the publication in parentheses (Author, date) in your text. If the person reading your report wants to find the information and read more about it, they can look up the reference in your bibliography for more detail about the source. That is why each source you use must be listed in a detailed bibliography with enough information for someone to go and find it by themselves.
How to Write a Bibliography
- Make a list to keep track of ALL the books, magazines, and websites you read as you follow your background research plan . Later this list of sources will become your bibliography .
- Most teachers want you to have at least three written sources of information.
- Write down, photocopy, or print the following information for each source you find. You can use the Science Buddies Bibliography Worksheet to help you.
- the title page of a book, encyclopedia or dictionary
- the heading of an article
- the front, second, or editorial page of the newspaper
- the contents page of a journal or magazine
- the header (at the top) or footer (at the bottom) of a Web site
- the About or the Contact page of a Web site
- When it is time to turn in your Bibliography, type all of your sources into a list. Use the examples in MLA Format Examples or APA Format Examples as a template to insure that each source is formatted correctly.
- List the sources in alphabetical order using the author's last name. If a source has more than one author, alphabetize using the first one. If an author is unknown, alphabetize that source using the title instead.
Examples of Bibliography Format
Examples of bibliography formats.
There are standards for documenting sources of information in research papers. Even though different journals may use a slightly different format for the bibliography, they all contain the same basic information. The most basic information that each reference should have is the author's name, the title, the date, and the source.
Different types of sources have different formatting in the bibliography. In American schools, the two most commonly used guidelines for this formatting are published by the MLA (Modern Language Association) and the APA (American Psychological Association).
The MLA guidelines call for the bibliography to be called Works Cited. Science Buddies has summarized some of the most common MLA formats for your use: MLA Format Examples .
The APA guidelines call for the bibliography to be called the Reference List. Science Buddies has summarized some of the most common APA formats for your use: APA Format Examples .
Your teacher will probably tell you which set of guidelines to use.
On the Science Buddies website we use the following guidelines:
- APA format for online sources
- MLA format for all other sources
- APA (author, date, page) format for citations in our articles
Download and print the Science Buddies Bibliography Worksheet . Keep several copies with you and fill in the information as you do your research. When you are finished, type the information from the worksheet into a formatted bibliography using the examples listed above.
Bibliography checklist, explore our science videos.
How to Write a Bibliography: Referencing Styles Explained
- Distance Learning
Published: 13 July 2021
Author: Greg Robson
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,...
Continue reading (2 minutes)...
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.
How to Write a Bibliography, With Examples
You spent the past six hours grinding out your latest paper, but finally, it’s finished. It’s late, you’re exhausted, and all you want to do is click “Submit Assignment” and then get some sleep.
Not so fast. If your paper doesn’t have a properly formatted bibliography, it’s not finished.
A bibliography is a list of all the sources you consulted while writing your paper. Every book, article, and even video you used to gather information for your paper needs to be cited in your bibliography so your instructor (and any others reading your work) can trace the facts, statistics, and insights back to their original sources.
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What is the purpose of a bibliography?
A bibliography is the list of sources a work’s author used to create the work. It accompanies just about every type of academic writing , like essays , research papers , and reports . You might also find a brief, less formal bibliography at the end of a journalistic piece, presentation, or video when the author feels it’s necessary to cite their sources . In nearly all academic instances, a bibliography is required. Not including a bibliography (or including an incomplete, incorrect, or falsified bibliography) can be considered an act of plagiarism , which can lead to a failing grade, being dropped from your course or program, and even being suspended or expelled from your school.
A bibliography accomplishes a few things. These include:
- Showing your instructor that you conducted the necessary research for your assignment
- Crediting your sources’ authors for the research they conducted
- Making it easy for anybody who reads your work to find the sources you used and conduct their own research on the same or a similar topic
Additionally, future historians consulting your writing can use your bibliography to identify primary and secondary sources in your research field. Documenting the course information from its original source through later academic works can help researchers understand how that information has been cited and interpreted over time. It can also help them review the information in the face of competing—and possibly contradictory or revisionary—data.
In nearly all cases, a bibliography is found at the end of a book or paper.
What are the different kinds of bibliographies?
Different types of academic works call for different types of bibliographies. For example, your computer science professor might require you to submit an annotated bibliography along with your paper because this type of bibliography explains the why behind each source you chose to consult.
An analytical bibliography documents a work’s journey from manuscript to published book or article. This type of bibliography includes the physical characteristics of each cited source, like each work’s number of pages, type of binding used, and illustrations.
An annotated bibliography is a bibliography that includes annotations, which are short notes explaining why the author chose each of the sources. Generally a few sentences long, these notes might summarize or reflect on the source.
An annotated bibliography is not the same as a literature review . While a literature review discusses how you conducted your research and how your work fits into the overall body of established research in your field, an annotated bibliography simply explains how each source you used is relevant to your work.
An enumerative bibliography is the most basic type of bibliography. It’s a list of sources used to conduct research, often ordered according to specific characteristics, like alphabetically by authors’ last names or grouped according to topic or language.
Specific types of enumerative bibliographies used for research works include:
A national bibliography groups sources published in a specific region or nation. In many cases, these bibliographies also group works according to the time period during which they were published.
A personal bibliography lists multiple works by the same individual author or group of authors. Often, personal bibliographies include works that would be difficult to find elsewhere, like unpublished works.
In a corporate bibliography, the sources are grouped according to their relation to a specific organization. The sources can be about an organization, published by that organization, or owned by that organization.
Subject bibliographies group works according to the subjects they cover. Generally, these bibliographies list primary and secondary sources, whereas other types of enumerative bibliographies, like personal bibliographies, might not.
Other types of bibliographies
In some cases, it makes sense to use a bibliography format other than those listed here. These include:
This type of bibliography lists works by a single author. With certain assignments, like an essay comparing two of an author’s books, your bibliography is a single-author bibliography by default. In this case, you can choose how to order the sources, such as by publication date or alphabetically by title.
A selected bibliography is a bibliography that only lists some of the sources you consulted. Usually, these are the most important sources for your work. You might write a selected bibliography if you consulted a variety of minor sources that you didn’t end up citing directly in your work. A selected bibliography may also be an annotated bibliography.
How is a bibliography structured?
Although each style guide has its own formatting rules for bibliographies, all bibliographies follow a similar structure. Key points to keep in mind when you’re structuring a bibliography include:
- Every bibliography page has a header. Format this header according to the style guide you’re using.
- Every bibliography has a title, such as “Works Cited,” “References,” or simply “Bibliography.”
- Bibliographies are lists. List your sources alphabetically according to their authors’ last names or their titles—whichever is applicable according to the style guide you’re using. The exception is a single-author bibliography or one that groups sources according to a shared characteristic.
- Bibliographies are double-spaced.
- Bibliographies should be in legible fonts, typically the same font as the papers they accompany.
As noted above, different kinds of assignments require different kinds of bibliographies. For example, you might write an analytical bibliography for your art history paper because this type of bibliography gives you space to discuss how the construction methods used for your sources inform their content and vice-versa. If you aren’t sure which kind of bibliography to write, ask your instructor.
How do you write a bibliography?
The term “bibliography” is a catch-all for any list of sources cited at the end of an academic work. Certain style guides use different terminology to refer to bibliographies. For example, MLA format refers to a paper’s bibliography as its Works Cited page. APA refers to it as the References page. No matter which style guide you’re using, the process for writing a bibliography is generally the same. The primary difference between the different style guides is how the bibliography is formatted.
The first step in writing a bibliography is organizing all the relevant information about the sources you used in your research. Relevant information about a source can vary according to the type of media it is, the type of bibliography you’re writing, and your style guide. Determine which information you need to include about each source by consulting the style guide you’re using. If you aren’t sure what to include, or if you’re not sure which style guide to use, ask your instructor.
The next step is to format your sources according to the style guide you’re using. MLA , APA , and the Chicago Manual of Style are three of the most commonly used style guides in academic writing.
MLA Works Cited page
In MLA format , the bibliography is known as the Works Cited page. MLA is typically used for writing in the humanities, like English and History. Because of this, it includes guidelines for citing sources like plays, videos , and works of visual art —sources you’d find yourself consulting for these courses, but probably not in your science and business courses.
In MLA format, books are cited like this:
If the cited book was published prior to 1900, is from a publisher with offices in multiple countries, or is from a publisher that is largely unknown in the US, include the book’s city of publication. Otherwise, this can be left out.
Scholarly articles are cited in this format:
- Author(s). “Title of Article.” Title of Periodical, Day Month Year, pages.
APA References page
In APA format —the format typically used in psychology, nursing, business, and the social sciences—the bibliography page is titled References. This format includes citation instructions for technical papers and data-heavy research, the types of sources you’re likely to consult for academic writing in these fields.
In APA format, books are cited like this:
Digital object identifier (DOI).
(issue number) , article’s page range (i.e., 10-15). URL.
Chicago Manual of Style
The Chicago Manual of Style (CMoS) permits authors to format bibliographies in two different ways: the notes and bibliography system and the author-date system. The former is generally used in the humanities, whereas the latter is usually used in the sciences and social sciences.
Both systems include guidelines for citations on a paper’s body pages as well as a bibliographic list that follows the paper. This list is titled Bibliography.
In CMoS, books are cited like this:
number (year published): page numbers of the article (i.e., 10-15).
What is a bibliography.
A bibliography is the list of sources a work’s author used to create the work.
What are the different kinds of bibliographies?
There are many different kinds of bibliographies. These include:
- Enumerative bibliographies
- Annotated bibliographies
- Analytical bibliographies
How do you write a bibliography for different style guides?
Each style guide publishes its bibliography guidelines online. Locate the guidelines for the style guide you’re following ( Chicago Manual of Style , MLA , APA ), and using the examples provided, format and list the sources for your work.
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.
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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 636,414 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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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
- Block Quotes
- et al Usage
- In-text Citations
- Page Numbers
- Sample Paper
- Works Cited
- MLA 8 Updates
- MLA 9 Updates
- View MLA Guide
- Book Chapter
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- Website (no author)
- View all MLA Examples
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An MLA bibliography is similar to the Works Cited list that you include at the end of your paper. The only difference between a Works Cited list and a bibliography is that for the former, you need to include the entries for only the sources you cited in the text, whereas for the latter you can also include the sources you consulted to write your paper but didn’t directly cite in your writing. MLA generally prefers Works Cited lists to bibliographies.
If your instructor advises you to create an MLA bibliography, follow the same guidelines you would follow for creating an MLA Works Cited list.
The bibliography list appears at the end of the paper, after any endnotes if they are present.
All margins (top, bottom, left, and right) should be set at 1 inch.
Write the running head in the top right of the page at 0.5 inch from the top. Use the running head “Surname Page #.”
The font should be clear enough to read. Use Times New Roman font of size 12 points.
Entries should be double-spaced. If any entry runs over more than a line, indent the subsequent lines of the entry 0.5 inch from the left margin.
Bibliographic entries are arranged alphabetically according to the first item in each entry.
Title your bibliography as “Bibliography.”
Braidotti, Rosi. The Posthuman . Polity, 2013.
Brisini, Travis. “Phytomorphizing Performance: Plant Performance in an Expanded Field.” Text and Performance Quarterly , vol. 39, 2019, pp. 1–2.
Riccio, Thomas. “Reimagining Yup’ik and Inupiat Performance.” Northwest Theatre Review , vol. 12, no. 1, 1999, pp. 1–30.
General rules for creating an annotated bibliography
The annotation is given after the source entry and is generally about 100-150 words in length. The annotation should be indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the hanging indent within the citation entry.
The annotation, in general, should be written as short phrases. However, you may use full sentences as well.
The annotation for each source is usually no longer than one paragraph. However, if multiple paragraphs are included, indent the second and subsequent paragraphs without any extra line space between them.
The annotation provides basic information about the source, but does not include details about the source, quotes from the author, etc. The information can be descriptive (by generally describing what the source covers) or evaluative (by evaluating the source’s usefulness to the argument in your paper).
Example annotated bibliography
The below is an example of an annotated bibliography:
Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America . Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.
The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented, together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths; linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache; and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.
MLA Citation Examples
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Click here to download a Bibliography scaffold
Select the link below to access an online bibliography generator., easybib, bibliographies and referencing.
- confirm where you found your information
- demonstrate the range of resources you have used
- check useful resources to use another time
- check for plagiarism
- acknowledge the work of others.
General guidelines and information:
- keep a record of the sources you use as you go
- add your bibliography on a separately at end of your work with the heading Bibliography
- arrange items in alphabetical order according to author, or title when there is no author
- use italics for the main title
- take note of correct punctuation, as shown in examples
- include the date on which you viewed website pages and add the URL.
- p. stands for page; pp. for pages.
Information included in a bibliography:
- author's surname/s, then first name or initials
- year of publication
- title - in italics
- publication details – publisher and place of publication.
Books Edwards, Paul. 2006, 7 Keys to Successful Study. ACER, Hawthorn.
Marsden, J.B. 2003, Everything I know about writing. Allen and Unwin, Port Melbourne.
Books with more than one author Cameron, K., Lawless, J., and Young, C. 2000, Investigating Australia's 20th Century History . Nelson, Southbank.
‘Education' , Encyclopedia Britannica. 1998, Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., Chicago. Vol.4. p. 373.
‘Literature for Children,' World Book Online. viewed 4 June 2010, http://www.worldbookonline.com
Website (with author)
Credaro, Alex. Constructing Bibliographies. viewed June 14, 2010, http://www.geocities.com/koalakid_1999/loyola/biblio.html
Website (no author)
‘Origins of society: fact and myth', Skwirk. viewed 6 June, 2010, http://www.skwirk.com.
Journal and newspaper articles
Kluger, J. 2008, ‘ The battle to save your memory' , Time Magazine. 12 June, pp. 52-57.
Oaten, C. 2008, ‘ Open your house to the sun' , The Sydney Morning Herald. 6 September, p. 3.
Credaro, Alex. 2000 Constructing bibliographies . viewed June 14, 2010, http://www.geocities.com/koalakid_1999/loyola/biblio.html
Edwards, Paul. 2006, 7 Keys to Successful Study . ACER, Hawthorn.
‘Education' , Encyclopedia Britannica. 2008, Encyclopedia Britannica Inc., Chicago. Vol.4. p. 373.
Kluger, J. 2008, ‘ The battle to save your memory' , Time Magazine. 12 June, pp. 52-57.
‘Literature for children', World Book Online. Viewed 4 June 2010, http://www.worldbookonline.com
Marsden, J.B. 2003, Everything I know about writing . Allen and Unwin, Port Melbourne.
'Origins of the society: fact and myth' , Skwirk. Viewed 6 June, 2010, http://www.skwirk.com
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Word Tips - How to Create a Bibliography or Works Cited Page in Word
Word tips -, how to create a bibliography or works cited page in word, word tips how to create a bibliography or works cited page in word.
Word Tips: How to Create a Bibliography or Works Cited Page in Word
Lesson 16: how to create a bibliography or works cited page in word.
How to create a bibliography or works cited page in Word
If you need to write a research paper, chances are you'll also be required to include a bibliography . Or you might be asked to include a works cited page or a list of references . These are all just different names for the same thing: a list of sources —such as books, articles, or even websites—that you used to research and write your paper. A bibliography makes it easy for someone else to see where you found your information. A short bibliography might look something like this:
You could create a bibliography manually, but it would take a lot of work. And if you ever decide to add more sources or use a different reference style, you’ll have to update everything all over again. But if you take the time to input your sources into Word, it can create and update a bibliography automatically. This can save you a lot of time and help ensure your references are accurate and correct.
Step 1: Choose a reference style
When you're creating a bibliography, you'll need to follow the guidelines of the required style guide . Different academic disciplines use their own styles guides, such as MLA , APA , and Chicago . Fortunately, Word comes with several built-in style guides; all you need to do is select the one you want to use, and Word will help you format your bibliography correctly.
To do this, click the References tab, then select the desired style in the Citations & Bibliography group.
You can use this same method to change the reference style at any time.
Step 2: Add citations and sources
Whenever you use information from one of your sources, you'll need to give credit—or cite them. This is known as making a citation. You'll include citations whenever you use information from a source or when you quote a source directly.
To add a citation, select the desired location for the citation in your document, click the Insert Citation command on the References tab, and select Add New Source .
A dialog box will appear. Enter the requested information for the source—like the author name, title, and publication details—then click OK .
The citation will appear in the document, and the source will be saved. You can quickly add another citation for the source by clicking Insert Citation and selecting the source from the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Insert the bibliography
Time for the easy part! Once you've added all of your sources, you can create your bibliography in just a few clicks! Just select the Bibliography command, then choose the desired style.
The bibliography will appear at the end of your document. Your sources will already be formatted to match the selected style guide. You should still double-check each of your sources against your style guide to make sure they're correct. If you need a quick reference for MLA, APA, or Chicago formatting, we recommend the Purdue Online Writing Lab .
If you add more sources to your document, you can easily update your bibliography—just click it and select Update Citations and Bibliography .
No matter how many sources you include in your document, Word's built-in tools make it easy to create and organize a bibliography. If you want further guidance with the process, check out this tutorial from Microsoft on how to Create a Bibliography .