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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
Now that you know how to write a bibliography, take a look at the Best Websites for Teaching & Learning Writing .
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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
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 634,368 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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- Knowledge Base
- 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:
Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.
Reference list or bibliography entries always start with the author’s last name and initial, the publication date and the title of the source. The other information required varies depending on the source type. Formats and examples for the most common source types are given below.
- Entire book
- Book chapter
- Translated book
- Edition of a book
- 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 14 November 2023, from https://www.scribbr.co.uk/referencing/harvard-bibliography/
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Research Process: Bibliographic Information
- Selecting a Topic
- Background Information
- Narrowing the Topic
- Library Terms
- Generating Keywords
- Boolean Operators
- Search Engine Strategies
- Google Searching
- Basic Internet Terms
- Research & The Web
- Search Engines
- Evaluating Books
- Evaluating Articles
- Evaluating Websites
- Off Campus Access
- Periodical Locator
- Basic Search
- Advanced, Subject, Author & Course Reserve Search
- Understanding the Search Results
- Call Numbers
What is a bibliography?
A bibliography is a list of works on a subject or by an author that were used or consulted to write a research paper, book or article. It can also be referred to as a list of works cited. It is usually found at the end of a book, article or research paper.
Regardless of what citation style is being used, there are key pieces of information that need to be collected in order to create the citation.
For books and/or journals:
- Author name
- Title of publication
- Article title (if using a journal)
- Date of publication
- Place of publication
- Volume number of a journal, magazine or encyclopedia
- Page number(s)
- Author and/or editor name
- Title of the website
- Company or organization that owns or posts to the website
- URL (website address)
- Date of access
This section provides two examples of the most common cited sources: a print book and an online journal retrieved from a research database.
Book - Print
For print books, bibliographic information can be found on the TITLE PAGE . This page has the complete title of the book, author(s) and publication information.
The publisher information will vary according to the publisher - sometimes this page will include the name of the publisher, the place of publication and the date.
For this example : Book title: HTML, XHTML, and CSS Bible Author: Steven M. Schafer Publisher: Wiley Publications, Inc.
If you cannot find the place or date of publication on the title page, refer to the COPYRIGHT PAGE for this information. The copyright page is the page behind the title page, usually written in a small font, it carries the copyright notice, edition information, publication information, printing history, cataloging data, and the ISBN number.
For this example : Place of publication: Indianapolis, IN Date of publication: 2010
Article - Academic OneFile Database
In the article view:
Bibliographic information can be found under the article title, at the top of the page. The information provided in this area is NOT formatted according to any style.
Citations can also be found at the bottom of the page; in an area titled SOURCE CITATION . The database does not specify which style is used in creating this citation, so be sure to double check it against the style rules for accuracy.
Article - ProQuest Database
Bibliographic information can be found under the article title, at the top of the page. The information provided in this area is NOT formatted according to any style.
Bibliographic information can also be found at the bottom of the page; in an area titled INDEXING . (Not all the information provided in this area is necessary for creating citations, refer to the rules of the style being used for what information is needed.)
Other databases have similar formats - look for bibliographic information under the article titles and below the article body, towards the bottom of the page.
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- Last Updated: Jun 6, 2022 9:32 AM
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Chicago Referencing Guide
- Notes - basic patterns
- Bibliography - basic patterns
Types of bibliographies
Bibliography formatting guide, multiple works by the same author or editor, location of online works, secondary source - in bibliography, sources that can be omitted, bibliography example.
- Chapters and other parts of a book
- Journal articles
- Magazine articles
- Newspaper articles
- Reference works
- Theses and dissertations
- Social media
- Graphic arts
- Live performances
- Exhibition catalogues
- Television and radio
- Online videos
- Sound recordings
- Legal resources
- Lectures and paper presentations
- Personal communications, unpublished interviews and AI content
- Tables - Examples
- Figures - Examples
Your bibliography should include every work that you cite in your text, as well as works that were important to your thinking, even if you did not mention them in your text. Label this standard type Bibliography or Sources Consulted .
There are other types of bibliography which you may be asked to create:
If a bibliography only includes some of the sources you have used, it should be labelled Selected Bibliography . If you choose to create this type of biblography, make sure your lecturer or supervisor knows that you are only citing selected sources, and give a good reason for this.
This is a list of works by a single author. Label it Works of [Author's Name] . You can arrange it chronologically or alphabetically by title.
This is a bibliography with added annotations - descriptions of each work's content and/or its relevance to your research. Check with your lecturer or supervisor to see what their requirements are in regards to the length and purpose of the annotations. Brief annotations (usually a single phrase) can be added in brackets after the publication data.
Longer annotations can be added on a new line, without brackets.
Foreign language titles (not in English) are the exception - they should be formatted sentence style (capitalise only the first word of the title and subtitle, and any proper nouns).
This is the city where the publisher's main editorial offices are listed. Look for it on the title page or with the copyright information. Where two or more cities are listed, use only the first. If the city of publication might be confused with another city of the same name, add a state abbreviation, province or country as necessary.
For more details on formatting individual elements of a bibliographic reference, see the examples of each source type in the left-hand menu, and the detailed notes below.
- When you reference more than one work by an author (or editor) in your paper, list them alphabetically by title (ignoring words such as a or the ).
- For all references after the first, a group of three em dashes and a period should replace the author’s name. You can insert an em dash in Microsoft Word 2016 by choosing Insert > Symbol > Special Character > Em Dash . Alternatively, you can use six small dashes.
List all these works before any that the individual co-authored or co-edited.
For a work that you found online, choose the appropriate location information to include:
- If there is a DOI (Digital Object Identifier) listed with the work, use that.
- If no DOI is available, use a stable URL.
- If you found the work by searching a library or commercial database, you can use the database name instead of a URL.
DOI stands for Digital Object Identifier.
- A DOI is a string of characters that commonly identifies a journal article, but can also be found on other publication types, including books.
- All DOIs start with 10 . and include numbers and letters. For example: doi:10.1016/j.addbeh.2009.08.001
- The DOI provides a permanent internet address for the item, making it easy to locate.
- You may search by DOI numbers in Library Search or at http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.aut.ac.nz , to locate articles.
Always use the DOI in your citation, if available.
To cite a DOI, append the DOI number (starting with 10.) to https://doi.org/
If there is no DOI for an online work, include a URL in your reference.If a URL is listed along with the work, use that one rather than the one in your browser's address bar (which may not be a stable URL).
If you found the work by searching a library or commercial database, you may give the name of the database instead of a URL.
If a source that you are using includes a useful quotation from another source, you should try to obtain the original and cite that, in order to verify that the quotation is accurate and quoted in context. However, if the original source is unavailable, you can cite it as quoted in the secondary source.
By convention, you can leave references to the following source types out of your bibliography. Cite them in your notes only, unless they are critical to your argument or frequently cited , in which case you should include them:
- newspaper articles
- classical, medieval, and early English literary works
- the Bible and other sacred works
- well-known reference works, such as major dictionaries and encyclopedias
- unpublished interviews and personal communications
- online videos and podcasts
- social media posts
- some sources in the visual and performing arts, including artworks and live performances (but note that for Art & Design writing, these sources are likely to be critical to your argument, and in this case they should be included)
- cartoons, maps, and print advertisements
- the US Constitution, legal cases, and some other public documents
If you are unsure about which of these you should include in your bibliography, consult Turabian's A Manual for Writers , or contact your Liaison Librarian for advice.
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- Last Updated: May 15, 2023 7:22 PM
- URL: https://aut.ac.nz.libguides.com/turabian