bibliography (n.)

1670s, "the writing of books," from Greek bibliographia "the writing of books," from biblion "book" (see biblio- ) + graphos "(something) drawn or written" (see -graphy ).

The meaning "the study of books, authors, publications, etc.," is from 1803. The sense of "a list of books that form the literature of a subject" is attested by 1814. Related: Bibliographic .

Entries linking to bibliography

1650s, "one who writes or copies books," from Greek bibliographos "writer of books, transcriber, copyist," related to bibliographia (see bibliography ). From 1809 as "one who studies or writes about books."

"pertaining to bibliography," 1670s; see bibliography + -ical . Related: Bibliographic .

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Bibliography: Definition and Examples

Glossary of Grammatical and Rhetorical Terms

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

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

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

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

Examples and Observations

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

Conventions for Documenting Sources

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

APA vs MLA Styles

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Bibliographic Information for Online Sources

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

  • What Is a Bibliography?
  • What Is a Citation?
  • MLA Bibliography or Works Cited
  • What Is a Senior Thesis?
  • MLA Sample Pages
  • How to Write a Bibliography For a Science Fair Project
  • What Is a Style Guide and Which One Do You Need?
  • What Is an Annotated Bibliography?
  • Turabian Style Guide With Examples
  • APA In-Text Citations
  • Definition and Examples of Title Case and Headline Style
  • Tips for Typing an Academic Paper on a Computer
  • Documentation in Reports and Research Papers
  • 140 Key Copyediting Terms and What They Mean
  • Writing an Annotated Bibliography for a Paper
  • MLA Style Parenthetical Citations


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What is a Bibliography?

What is an annotated bibliography, introduction to the annotated bibliography.

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  • the authors' names
  • the titles of the works
  • the names and locations of the companies that published your copies of the sources
  • the dates your copies were published
  • the page numbers of your sources (if they are part of multi-source volumes)

Ok, so what's an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is the same as a bibliography with one important difference: in an annotated bibliography, the bibliographic information is followed by a brief description of the content, quality, and usefulness of the source. For more, see the section at the bottom of this page.

What are Footnotes?

Footnotes are notes placed at the bottom of a page. They cite references or comment on a designated part of the text above it. For example, say you want to add an interesting comment to a sentence you have written, but the comment is not directly related to the argument of your paragraph. In this case, you could add the symbol for a footnote. Then, at the bottom of the page you could reprint the symbol and insert your comment. Here is an example:

This is an illustration of a footnote. 1 The number “1” at the end of the previous sentence corresponds with the note below. See how it fits in the body of the text? 1 At the bottom of the page you can insert your comments about the sentence preceding the footnote.

When your reader comes across the footnote in the main text of your paper, he or she could look down at your comments right away, or else continue reading the paragraph and read your comments at the end. Because this makes it convenient for your reader, most citation styles require that you use either footnotes or endnotes in your paper. Some, however, allow you to make parenthetical references (author, date) in the body of your work.

Footnotes are not just for interesting comments, however. Sometimes they simply refer to relevant sources -- they let your reader know where certain material came from, or where they can look for other sources on the subject. To decide whether you should cite your sources in footnotes or in the body of your paper, you should ask your instructor or see our section on citation styles.

Where does the little footnote mark go?

Whenever possible, put the footnote at the end of a sentence, immediately following the period or whatever punctuation mark completes that sentence. Skip two spaces after the footnote before you begin the next sentence. If you must include the footnote in the middle of a sentence for the sake of clarity, or because the sentence has more than one footnote (try to avoid this!), try to put it at the end of the most relevant phrase, after a comma or other punctuation mark. Otherwise, put it right at the end of the most relevant word. If the footnote is not at the end of a sentence, skip only one space after it.

What's the difference between Footnotes and Endnotes?

The only real difference is placement -- footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page, while endnotes all appear at the end of your document. If you want your reader to read your notes right away, footnotes are more likely to get your reader's attention. Endnotes, on the other hand, are less intrusive and will not interrupt the flow of your paper.

If I cite sources in the Footnotes (or Endnotes), how's that different from a Bibliography?

Sometimes you may be asked to include these -- especially if you have used a parenthetical style of citation. A "works cited" page is a list of all the works from which you have borrowed material. Your reader may find this more convenient than footnotes or endnotes because he or she will not have to wade through all of the comments and other information in order to see the sources from which you drew your material. A "works consulted" page is a complement to a "works cited" page, listing all of the works you used, whether they were useful or not.

Isn't a "works consulted" page the same as a "bibliography," then?

Well, yes. The title is different because "works consulted" pages are meant to complement "works cited" pages, and bibliographies may list other relevant sources in addition to those mentioned in footnotes or endnotes. Choosing to title your bibliography "Works Consulted" or "Selected Bibliography" may help specify the relevance of the sources listed.

This information has been freely provided by and can be reproduced without the need to obtain any further permission as long as the URL of the original article/information is cited. 

How Do I Cite Sources? (n.d.) Retrieved October 19, 2009, from

The Importance of an Annotated Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography is a collection of annotated citations. These annotations contain your executive notes on a source. Use the annotated bibliography to help remind you of later of the important parts of an article or book. Putting the effort into making good notes will pay dividends when it comes to writing a paper!

Good Summary

Being an executive summary, the annotated citation should be fairly brief, usually no more than one page, double spaced.

  • Focus on summarizing the source in your own words.
  • Avoid direct quotations from the source, at least those longer than a few words. However, if you do quote, remember to use quotation marks. You don't want to forget later on what is your own summary and what is a direct quotation!
  • If an author uses a particular term or phrase that is important to the article, use that phrase within quotation marks. Remember that whenever you quote, you must explain the meaning and context of the quoted word or text. 

Common Elements of an Annotated Citation

  • Summary of an Article or Book's thesis or most important points (Usually two to four sentences)
  • Summary of a source's methodological approach. That is, what is the source? How does it go about proving its point(s)? Is it mostly opinion based? If it is a scholarly source, describe the research method (study, etc.) that the author used. (Usually two to five sentences)
  • Your own notes and observations on the source beyond the summary. Include your initial analysis here. For example, how will you use this source? Perhaps you would write something like, "I will use this source to support my point about . . . "
  • Formatting Annotated Bibliographies This guide from Purdue OWL provides examples of an annotated citation in MLA and APA formats.


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Finding Bibliographies

A bibliography is list of bibliographic citations, (also called Works Cited, Literature Cited, Reference List) at the end of a journal article or book that lists the sources used by an author.

Bibliographies can also be research tools that bring together in one location (either print or electronic) citations from articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, conference proceedings, primary materials, and other academic sources about a specific topic. That topic might be broad, such as "Medieval history" or very narrow, such as "Red-haired women mentioned in courtly literature."

Bibliographies can be useful for discovering additional sources for your research. Since they include many different types of sources, it is important to be able to identify the type of source from the citation, in order to locate it.

Do an Advanced Keyword search in the library catalog for your topic and combine it with bibliography in the subject field.  The term bibliography appears in multiple places in catalog records, looking for it in the subject field will limit your results to resources that have been identified as bibliographies.

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Examples of Bibliographies

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  • Core Historical Literature of Agriculture An online collection of agricultural texts published between the early 19th century and middle-to-late 20th century.
  • Environmental History Bibliography Contains over 45,000 annotated citations to books, articles, and dissertations published from 1633 to the present and is updated online quarterly. Approximately 1,000 citations are added each year.
  • Information sources in the history of science and medicine Call Number: Q125 .I53 Doe Reference
  • Medieval science and technology: a selected, annotated bibliography Call Number: Q124.97.A12 K73 1985 Doe Reference

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  • Science across cultures: an annotated bibliography of books on non-western science, technology, and medicine Call Number: Q175.5.A12 S4 1992 Main (Gardner) Stacks
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Harvard Guide to Using Sources 

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  • Bibliography

If you are using Chicago style footnotes or endnotes, you should include a bibliography at the end of your paper that provides complete citation information for all of the sources you cite in your paper. Bibliography entries are formatted differently from notes. For bibliography entries, you list the sources alphabetically by last name, so you will list the last name of the author or creator first in each entry. You should single-space within a bibliography entry and double-space between them. When an entry goes longer than one line, use a hanging indent of .5 inches for subsequent lines. Here’s a link to a sample bibliography that shows layout and spacing . You can find a sample of note format here .

Complete note vs. shortened note

Here’s an example of a complete note and a shortened version of a note for a book:

1. Karen Ho, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 27-35.

1. Karen Ho, Liquidated , 27-35.

Note vs. Bibliography entry

The bibliography entry that corresponds with each note is very similar to the longer version of the note, except that the author’s last and first name are reversed in the bibliography entry. To see differences between note and bibliography entries for different types of sources, check this section of the Chicago Manual of Style .

For Liquidated , the bibliography entry would look like this:

Ho, Karen, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street . Durham: Duke University Press, 2009.

Citing a source with two or three authors

If you are citing a source with two or three authors, list their names in your note in the order they appear in the original source. In the bibliography, invert only the name of the first author and use “and” before the last named author.

1. Melissa Borja and Jacob Gibson, “Internationalism with Evangelical Characteristics: The Case of Evangelical Responses to Southeast Asian Refugees,” The Review of Faith & International Affairs 17, no. 3 (2019): 80-81, .

Shortened note:

1. Borja and Gibson, “Internationalism with Evangelical Characteristics,” 80-81.


Borja, Melissa, and Jacob Gibson. “Internationalism with Evangelical Characteristics: The Case of Evangelical Responses to Southeast Asian Refugees.” The Review of Faith & International Affairs 17. no. 3 (2019): 80–93. .

Citing a source with more than three authors

If you are citing a source with more than three authors, include all of them in the bibliography, but only include the first one in the note, followed by et al. ( et al. is the shortened form of the Latin et alia , which means “and others”).

1. Justine M. Nagurney, et al., “Risk Factors for Disability After Emergency Department Discharge in Older Adults,” Academic Emergency Medicine 27, no. 12 (2020): 1271.

Short version of note:

1. Justine M. Nagurney, et al., “Risk Factors for Disability,” 1271.

Nagurney, Justine M., Ling Han, Linda Leo‐Summers, Heather G. Allore, Thomas M. Gill, and Ula Hwang. “Risk Factors for Disability After Emergency Department Discharge in Older Adults.” Academic Emergency Medicine 27, no. 12 (2020): 1270–78. .

Citing a book consulted online

If you are citing a book you consulted online, you should include a URL, DOI, or the name of the database where you found the book.

1. Karen Ho, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), 27-35, .

Bibliography entry:

Ho, Karen. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street . Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. .

Citing an e-book consulted outside of a database

If you are citing an e-book that you accessed outside of a database, you should indicate the format. If you read the book in a format without fixed page numbers (like Kindle, for example), you should not include the page numbers that you saw as you read. Instead, include chapter or section numbers, if possible.

1. Karen Ho, Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street (Durham: Duke University Press, 2009), chap. 2, Kindle.

Ho, Karen. Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street . Durham: Duke University Press, 2009. Kindle.

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This guide created by Geoffrey Ross, May 4, 2017.

A bibliography is a list of documents, usually published documents like books and articles. This type of bibliography is more accurately called "enumerative bibliography". An enumerative bibliography will attempt to be as comprehensive as possible, within whatever parameters established by the bibliographer.

Bibliographies will list both secondary and primary sources. They are perhaps most valuable to historians for identifying primary sources. (They are still useful for finding secondary sources, but increasingly historians rely on electronic resources, like article databases, to locate secondary sources.)

Think of a bibliography as a guide to the source base for a specific field of inquiry. A high quality bibliography will help you understand what kinds of sources are available, but also what kinds of sources are not available (either because they were never preserved, or because they were never created in the first place).

Take for example the following bibliography:

  • British Autobiographies: An Annotated Bibliography of British Autobiographies Published or Written before 1951 by William Matthews Call Number: 016.920041 M43BR Publication Date: 1955

Like many bibliographies, this one includes an introduction or prefatory essay that gives a bibliographic overview of the topic. If you were hoping to use autobiographies for a paper on medieval history, the following information from the preface would save you from wasting your time in a fruitless search:

what is bibliography derived from

The essay explains that autobiography does not become an important historical source until the early modern period:

what is bibliography derived from

Finally, the essay informs us that these early modern autobiographies are predominantly religious in nature--a useful piece of information if we were hoping to use them as evidence of, for example, the early modern textile trade:

what is bibliography derived from

All bibliographies are organized differently, but the best include indexes that help you pinpoint the most relevant entries.

A smart researcher will also use the index to obtain an overview of the entire source base: the index as a whole presents a broad outline of the available sources--the extent of available sources, as well as the the strengths and weaknesses of the source base. Browsing the subject index, if there is one, is often an excellent method of choosing a research topic because it enables you quickly to rule out topics that cannot be researched due to lack of primary sources.

The index to British Autobiographies , for example, tells me that I can find many autobiographies that document British social clubs (like White's and Boodle's), especially from the 19th century:

what is bibliography derived from

Unlike indexes you might be familiar with from non-fiction books, the indexes in bibliographies usually reference specific entries, not page numbers.

A bibliography's index will often help guide you systematically through the available sources, as in this entry which prompts you to look under related index entries for even more sources:

what is bibliography derived from

There are four main types of enumerative bibliography used for historical research:

Click here to learn more about bibliography as a discipline .

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  • Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples

Harvard Style Bibliography | Format & Examples

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

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

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

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

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

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Table of contents

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

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

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

Harvard bibliography

Prevent plagiarism, run a free check.

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

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

Journal articles

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

Newspapers and magazines

  • Newspaper article
  • Magazine article

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

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

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

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

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what is bibliography derived from

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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 May 2024, from

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What is Bibliography?: Meaning, Types, and Importance

Md. Ashikuzzaman

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

1.1 What is a Bibliography?

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

1.2 Types of Bibliography.

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

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

1. General bibliography, and 2. Special bibliography.

1.2.1. General Bibliography:

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

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

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

1.2.2. Special Bibliography:

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

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

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

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

1.3 Functions of Bibliography

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

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

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

1.4 Importance of Bibliographic Services

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Definition of bibliography

Examples of bibliography in a sentence.

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

Word History

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

1689, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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“Bibliography.” Dictionary , Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2024.

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[ bib-lee- og -r uh -fee ]

  • a complete or selective list of works compiled upon some common principle, as authorship, subject, place of publication, or printer.
  • a list of source materials that are used or consulted in the preparation of a work or that are referred to in the text.
  • a branch of library science dealing with the history, physical description, comparison, and classification of books and other works.

/ ˌbɪblɪəʊˈɡræfɪk; ˌbɪblɪˈɒɡrəfɪ /

  • a list of books or other material on a subject
  • a list of sources used in the preparation of a book, thesis, etc
  • a list of the works of a particular author or publisher
  • the study of the history, classification, etc, of literary material
  • a work on this subject
  • A list of the written sources of information on a subject. Bibliographies generally appear as a list at the end of a book or article. They may show what works the author used in writing the article or book, or they may list works that a reader might find useful.

Discover More

Derived forms.

  • ˌbiblioˈgraphically , adverb
  • ˌbibliˈographer , noun
  • bibliographic , adjective

Other Words From

  • bib·li·o·graph·ic [ bib-lee-, uh, -, graf, -ik ] , bibli·o·graphi·cal adjective
  • bibli·o·graphi·cal·ly adverb
  • mini·bibli·ogra·phy noun plural minibibliographies

Word History and Origins

Origin of bibliography 1

Example Sentences

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There is a very inadequate bibliography in the Introduction.

His ample bibliography leaves no point necessary for elucidation untouched.

Ask Any Difference

What is Bibliography? | Examples, Advantages vs Disadvantages

Derived from the Greek word ‘biblion,’ meaning ‘book,’ and ‘graphia,’ referring to ‘writing,’ the word bibliography is an amalgamation of the two. It is, as such, used in a slightly different context today. Originally, a bibliography implied a field of academia that studied the book as an object or a symbol and an integral part of cultural phenomena. It was concerned with the understanding of books through listing by chronology and devising new ways to describe them.

In the field of academia itself, the word bibliography has another related but vastly different meaning. You may find this at the end of any scholarly work, under the title ‘References,’ ‘Works Cited,’ or simply ‘Bibliography.’ It is a comprehensive list detailing all the books, articles, papers, and journals the author has referred to or used to compose the scholarly work.

Key Takeaways A bibliography lists sources for researching a particular topic or writing a book. A bibliography includes the author’s name, the working title, the publication date, and other relevant information. A bibliography is important for crediting the authors of the sources used and allowing readers to locate the sources themselves.

Quiche vs Souffle 76

What does a bibliography consist of?

Three broad ways to qualify bibliographies are attached at the end of any work.

1. Enumerative Bibliography – The most common type of bibliography is one in which all the work sources are listed one after another, sorted according to categories of publication or alphabetical order. This contains extensive publication dates, the publisher’s name, and other technical details.

2. Descriptive Bibliography – This contains a detailed description of the physical aspects of the book or works in question, such as details regarding the paper quality, illustrations within the book, the cover art, and binding, among others.

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3. Analytical Bibliography – This belongs more to the academic field of bibliography studies in which a book is analyzed by considering the physical traits of the object and the tradition of social and historical practices it is a product of.

Other examples

In modern times this term has lent itself to the creation of a host of other terms which are similar in meaning but used in fields other than written scholarly works. For instance, the term discography has been coined to refer to a particular artist’s recorded music list. Filmography and webography are other words that imply the same in other contexts.

Advantages of a Bibliography

  • It can be viewed as an essential component of any academic work that ensures transparency and better communication of intentions.
  • It helps build a coherent and holistic understanding of any work and the material on which the scholarly work is built.
  • It helps to create a taxonomy in any field, as the bibliography clearly shows how critical thought has progressed.

Disadvantages of Bibliography

  • It has also been viewed as disrupting the flow of thought in an academic work, where each citation has little or no link with the other and may break the continuity of the finished work.
  • Due to such fragmentation, it can draw excessive interest from the reader to unimportant areas while leaving large sections unreferenced.

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

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24 thoughts on “what is bibliography | examples, advantages vs disadvantages”.

I found this article to be quite ironic considering the disadvantages noted. While it can be true, there are ways to mitigate such issues.

You’re absolutely right. It’s ironic in that sense, yet it has many advantages.

Absolutely, and a thorough bibliography is indeed essential.

This article is very informative about the different types of bibliographies. The reference list is also quite complete.

Yes, I appreciate the comprehensive explanation given here.

Absolutely, this post provided great insights into the topic.

I find this article to be quite comical in its approach to the advantages and disadvantages of bibliographies, but in a good way.

I see what you mean – it’s a unique take on the matter.

Absolutely, its approach is somewhat refreshing.

A clear and concise explanation of the topic at hand. Nicely done.

The references provided are top-notch, adding significant value to the content. Great work!

Indeed, the references really bolster the information presented in the article.

The details provided about the different types of bibliographies are quite illuminating. It’s a great read.

Absolutely, very informative.

Indeed, it’s a valuable resource for those seeking clarity on the subject.

The advantages of bibliographies mentioned in the article are outstanding! It indeed does help in creating a taxonomy in any field.

I completely agree with you!

I disagree with the idea that bibliographies can be disruptive to an academic work. This may be true if it is not well structured, but a properly done bibliography tends to complete the text.

Yes, it all comes down to how it is executed. A well-done bibliography is more beneficial than disruptive.

A well-composed bibliography is of utmost importance in any scholarly work.

I couldn’t agree more.

I believe a bibliography is a very important resource, it helps a lot in the process of writing an academic text and also in understanding the field that surrounds the research. It is very good that this article mentions its benefits.

Absolutely, I agree with you on that. It is good to understand its advantages.

Yes, it is a useful tool that contributes to the academic integrity of any work.

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bibliography noun

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What does the noun bibliography mean?

There are six meanings listed in OED's entry for the noun bibliography , one of which is labelled obsolete. See ‘Meaning & use’ for definitions, usage, and quotation evidence.

bibliography has developed meanings and uses in subjects including

How common is the noun bibliography ?

How is the noun bibliography pronounced, british english, u.s. english, where does the noun bibliography come from.

Earliest known use

The earliest known use of the noun bibliography is in the mid 1600s.

OED's earliest evidence for bibliography is from 1664, in the writing of J. Winter.

bibliography is of multiple origins. Either (i) a borrowing from Latin. Or (ii) a borrowing from Greek.

Etymons: Latin bibliographia ; Greek βιβλιογραϕία .

Nearby entries

  • bibliognostic, adj. 1863–
  • bibliogony, n. 1835–
  • bibliograph, n. 1815–
  • bibliograph, v. 1896–
  • bibliographer, n. 1656–
  • bibliographic, adj. 1772–
  • bibliographical, adj. 1679–
  • bibliographically, adv. ?1719–
  • bibliographing, n. 1887–
  • bibliographize, v. 1824–
  • bibliography, n. 1664–
  • biblioklept, n. 1880–
  • bibliokleptomaniac, n. 1880–
  • bibliolater, n. 1820–
  • bibliolatrist, n. 1826–
  • bibliolatrous, adj. 1845–
  • bibliolatry, n. a1763–
  • bibliological, adj. 1807–
  • bibliologist, n. 1802–
  • bibliology, n. 1789–
  • bibliomancy, n. 1753–

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Meaning & use

Pronunciation, compounds & derived words, entry history for bibliography, n..

bibliography, n. was revised in March 2024. is a living text, updated every three months. Modifications may include:

  • further revisions to definitions, pronunciation, etymology, headwords, variant spellings, quotations, and dates;
  • new senses, phrases, and quotations.

Revisions and additions of this kind were last incorporated into bibliography, n. in March 2024.

Earlier versions of this entry were published in:

OED First Edition (1887)

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OED Second Edition (1989)

  • View bibliography in OED Second Edition

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Citation details

Factsheet for bibliography, n., browse entry.

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Meaning of bibliography in English

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bibliography noun ( LIST OF BOOKS )

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

bibliography noun ( STUDY OF BOOKS )

  • He catalogued books for the booksellers Pearson & Co. and lectured in bibliography at Cambridge University.
  • In the early 1930s he turned his attention towards bibliography, and became a lecturer at the London School of Librarianship.

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Bibliography | american dictionary, examples of bibliography, translations of bibliography.

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what is bibliography derived from

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Referencing AI-generated media

Referencing without formal citation, referring to sources in spoken communication, referring to sources in your slides, referring to forum posts (like moodle), acknowledgements sections.

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There is no standard for how to cite or describe AI-generated media...yet. In the meantime, best practice is to be as transparent as you can about what was generated, and how. Always follow the policies and guidance of the specific class you are in; policies may vary by professor and by class. Ask if you're not sure.

Other resources:

  • " AI-generated media - How should AI-generated media be handled? ," Wikimedia Commons. Accessed September 12, 2023.
  • Note there is a different license listed for the output, the prompt, and the watermark. You may want to take all these aspects into consideration when citing or describing AI-generated media.
  • If you create a derivative of another work, that original work and its creator should also be cited or referenced. 
  • Remember that LLMs are not resource-neutral, and using them can have an impact on the planet: " Artificial intelligence technology behind ChatGPT was built in Iowa — with a lot of water ," Matt O'Brien and Hannah Fingerhut (September 9, 2023)

While formal citation is the most visible form of attribution, there are variety of other ways to acknowledge other people's ideas and the products of other people's work. These show up in all kinds of contexts, including:

  • Presentations
  • Class discussions
  • Even informal conversations

The key thing to keep in mind is what your audience will want to know in order to understand your use of sources.

Remember : expectations around attribution can vary greatly from discipline to discipline and even from assignment to assignment. It's a good idea to clarify expectations with your professor if you aren't sure whether you should be using a formal citation style or these less formal (but still important) methods of acknowledging others' contributions to your work.

There are several common options that people use when referring to source material in their spoken presentations

Example 1: Formal Citation

Some scholars will build references to authors, source titles, etc, into their talk and then either give people either a handout or a slide that functions as the Works Cited or Bibliography.

"One of the key voices on this topic is Andrew Piper, who wrote an article in 2006 on Goethe and the Book of Everything. ....." [Handout] Works Cited Piper, Andrew. “Rethinking the Print Object: Goethe and the Book of Everything.” PMLA , vol. 121, no. 1,  Jan. 2006, pp. 124-38. JSTOR,

Example 2: Less formal attribution

Make sure that your listeners can glean enough information to be able to follow up and find the full citation if they're interested.

"One of the key voices on this topic is Andrew Piper, who published a 2006 PMLA article on Goethe and the Book of Everything. ....."

Example 3: Informal attribution

Often people's names or positions are the most important to reference in informal presentations and conversations.

"I read this one great article by a scholar named Piper, and it was especially useful because it highlighted....."

Of the many ways the people refer to other people's ideas and work in presentation slides, here are a few good options.

References to outside sources in your slides

As with the other examples on this page, people accomplish this task in a variety of ways depending on their audience and goals. Typically, attribution strategies fall into one or more of these options:

  • Formal : Include full citations on each relevant slide, plus a full bibliography slide and/or handout
  • Less formal : Include brief references on each relevant slide, plus a bibliography slide and/or handout.
  • Informal : Attribution alongside or even without formal citations (including image credits, acknowledgements slides, etc.)

References to Images in your slides

Depending on your audience there are various strategies.

  • Formal : The major citation styles give guidance on citing images (see our guides to MLA and Chicago )
  • Less formal : Include robust image captions
  • Informal : Provide the name (or username) of the person who created the image, perhaps a brief title, and a URL.

Option 1: Formal Citation

See our page on Citing Course Content for examples of formal citations of Moodle posts.

Option 2: Informal Attribution

Often, it's enough to give the name, URL if available, and either subject line or time stamp of a previous forum post when you refer back to something someone else has said.

"That last point that Zoe made in her Tuesday 10:52pm post about soil pH made me wonder if..."

An acknowledgements section is a great place to provide attribution for support, conversations that helped you think about your topic or refine your presentation, and anything else that helped you produce the work that you did.

Example 1: Thanks with explanation

I would like to thank my professor, Professor Plum, for his insights and the many office-hour conversations that helped hone my thinking. I also am grateful for my roommate's willingness to read drafts of this paper, and for the academic technology department for ...

Example 2: Thanks with less explanation

Many thanks to all who helped me throughout this project, especially Daamir, Claudia, and Chris.
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In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Interpretation and Hermeneutics


  • Advanced Introductions to Hermeneutics
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Interpretation and Hermeneutics by Stephen L. Cook LAST REVIEWED: 13 September 2010 LAST MODIFIED: 13 September 2010 DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393361-0057

The Bible is an all-time best-seller, but readers have always struggled to understand it, interpret it, and apply its teachings. Thus, there has been no end to the production of books on Bible study. Amid the overwhelming amount of resources available, this annotated bibliography limits itself to the modest goal of mapping out the area of biblical interpretation and hermeneutics, citing some of the most important aids and providing sample entries representing the best thinking currently available. Hermeneutics (from the Greek verb hermeneuein , “to explain, interpret, or translate”) is the technical term for the study of how one explains a text. It seems to have been first used in Strasbourg in 1654. The science of hermeneutics really applies to all literature, even to all human communication, since no texts (or communications) have one fixed, transparent meaning with a pristine link to an intended referent. This bibliography will cite some works of general hermeneutics, which of course are relevant to reading the Bible, but will concentrate on the literature pertaining more directly to biblical research. In a broad sense, biblical hermeneutics can mean the general principles and interpretive methods of biblical study. A whole “science” (or “art”) of biblical interpretation has arisen due to the complexity and richness of the biblical literature, and there is now a bewildering array biblical methods (stretching from philology to form-criticism to postmodern reading strategies). But more specifically, as biblical interpreters have studied hermeneutics they have basically focused their attention on two broad kinds of questions. The first area of questioning wrestles with the reader’s historical, conceptual, and, perhaps, “moral” distance from the Bible’s writings. Interpreters recognize a need for discipline in moving from investigations about what a Scripture meant early in its production to what it means now, when it lies in the hands of contemporary people. The “hermeneutical gap,” as it is called, is sometimes very challenging to span. Second, the more recent area of questioning seeks to unpack and clarify the broader philosophical underpinnings of interpretation. One must ask about such matters as: “How is understanding possible?” “How does meaning arise as a reader confronts a biblical text?” “Must we accept the possibility of a multiplicity of meanings?” In our self-conscious and methodologically reflective age this second area of inquiry has made itself very strongly felt. This annotated bibliography begins with a survey of introductory essays, guides to interpretation, and handbooks on biblical exegesis. It then moves to areas of key interest in late modern hermeneutics, such as “reader-centered approaches, deconstruction, and postmodernism,” “global and cross-cultural interpretive lenses,” and the “theological interpretation of Scripture.” Next, there are sections on criticism and faith in tension, on interpretation and constructive theology, and on hermeneutical approaches to controversial texts. The bibliography concludes with sections on inner-biblical interpretation and on the history of biblical interpretation and hermeneutics.

Introductory Works

Brettler 2007 and Sternberg 1987 , representing two rather different Jewish perspectives, provide great entrées into an informed reading of the Bible. Barton 1996 and Walsh 1998 are mainstream, modern introductions to biblical interpretation, both emphasizing the use of literary approaches. Tiffany and Ringe 1996 aims to help students develop an intuitive feel for interpretation. Rather than relying immediately on scholarly aids, readers are asked to “read, feel, question, react,” to “compare similar material,” “refine questions,” and “enter in dialogue with other readers and our communities.” Fee and Stuart 2003 , a broadly evangelical guide, presents two basic tasks of interpretation: “exegesis,” understood as discovering the text’s “original meaning,” the “then and there” of the text, and “hermeneutics,” understood as learning to hear that meaning in the present day, in the “here and now.” The volume provides a helpful discussion of Bible translations and an annotated bibliography. McCartney and Clayton 2002 and Klein, et al. 2004 are two other evangelical introductions to conservative biblical interpretation. Ferguson 1986 provides a good general introduction to biblical hermeneutics.

Barton, John. Reading the Old Testament: Method in Biblical Study . Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1996.

An authoritative, modernist introduction to both established methods of critical exegesis and to newer trends. There is a fine presentation of structuralism, but the volume is less helpful on deconstruction, canonical approaches, and theological interpretation.

Brettler, Marc Zvi. How to Read the Jewish Bible . Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

A comprehensive and accessible guide to reading the Hebrew Bible as first understood in its ancient setting where Israelite culture gave rise to it. Advocating historical criticism, Brettler emphasizes gaining familiarity with the texts’ literary conventions and ideological assumptions and he orients the reader to the historical and archaeological data that offer significant illumination.

Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth . 3d ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003.

An accessible and popular volume (over half a million copies sold) written for a general audience by two leading conservative exegetes, one a scholar of the Old Testament and one of the New Testament. It focuses on offering the reader general guidelines in interpretation and on explaining the variety of genres present in the biblical corpus.

Ferguson, Duncan S. Biblical Hermeneutics: An Introduction . Atlanta: John Knox, 1986.

Still in print after two decades, this volume introduces the history, method, and implementation of biblical hermeneutics. Though dated, the work presents a useful discussion of the role of preunderstanding and of the complexities of interpreting biblical literature in all its diversity.

Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard Jr. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation . Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2004.

A comprehensive, if wordy, evangelical introduction to the practice of conservative biblical interpretation. A notable strength of the book is its survey of conflicting positions, including interaction with mainline critical stances toward the text. There is focused attention on the various literary genres within the Scriptures. The volume does not engage the philosophy of understanding, that is, philosophical hermeneutics.

McCartney, Dan, and Charles Clayton. Let the Reader Understand: A Guide to Interpreting and Applying the Bible . 2d ed. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 2002.

An accessible, unabashedly evangelical guide to biblical interpretation. The authors pay special attention to being conscious of assumptions and hermeneutical presuppositions. They also provide a good critique of “word study” methods.

Sternberg, Meir. The Poetics of Biblical Narrative: Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading . Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987.

Sternberg shows how serious a literary work the Bible is and helps the reader begin to understand the strategies biblical narratives use in conveying meaning. One comes away from this work with a good grasp of the theoretical basis and artistry of Scripture’s narrative texts.

Tiffany, Frederick, and Sharon H. Ringe. Biblical Interpretation: A Roadmap . Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.

The authors emphasize the use of close reading in interpretation, while also encouraging the reader to take the context of the text and the context of reading seriously. Part 2 undertakes sample treatments of the following texts: Numbers 10:11–12:16; Jeremiah 22:24–23:8; Psalm 77; Mark 3:1–6; and 1 Corinthians 11:17–34. Part 3 engages issues and resources in interpretation.

Walsh, Richard G. Reading the Bible: An introduction . Notre Dame, IN: Cross Cultural Publications, 1998.

A mainstream college textbook introducing students to biblical literature, emphasizing a modern literary approach. Walsh introduces the reading of the biblical books with attention to plot, character, style, and implied reader. He makes connections to ancient, modern, and late-modern cultures, with many references to movies, literature, and historical figures. The format is easy to read, and includes numerous charts and insets.

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