How To Write a Bibliography

Doing homework

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a bibliography is "the works or a list of the works referred to in a text or consulted by the author in its production."  In other words, it's a list of the sources you use in preparing a term paper or other scholarly work.

Most high school teachers and college professors ask that bibliographies be prepared using the Modern Language Association (MLA) Style. The format is slightly different, depending on what type of source you are using. 

Below are the formats for the most commonly-used sources.

  1. Writing Citations for BooksBooks are the most commonly-used resources for papers.  To cite these sources, use the following format:
  2. Author. Title of Book. City of publication: Publisher, year.

    Example: Condon, Richard. West of the Cuyahoga. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 2006.

    Most of this information may be found on the title and copyright pages of the book.  If the book has multiple authors, separate them by a comma.  The title may be written in italics or underlined.

  3. Writing Citations for Magazine ArticlesUse this formula when citing magazine resources:
  4. Author. "Title of Article." Title of Magazine Date: pages

    Example: Frishman, Rick. "A Dozen Don'ts." Writer's Digest Mar 2006: 44-47.

    If the article starts in one section and is continued at the end of the periodical, use the format 44+ for the page number.  Abbreviate months that have five or more letters.  For weekly or bi-weekly periodicals, add the day to the date, as Writers Digest 30 Mar 2006.

  5. Writing Citations for Newspaper ArticlesHere is the approved way to cite newspaper resources.
  6. Author. "Title of Article." Name of Newspaper Date, edition: section and page.

    Example: Townsend, Angela. "Art Show Offers a Different Vision." Cleveland Plain Dealer 21 February 2007, home edition: B1.

    If the paper has only one edition, you may omit mention of the edition.  Omit any beginning articles (such as "a" or "the") when listing the name of the newspaper.

  7. Writing Citations for Internet Articles Internet article citations are formatted slightly differently from magazine and newspaper articles.  Follow these guidelines:
  8. Author. "Title of Article." Name of website. Publication date <URL>. Date you accessed the page.

    Example: Mitchell, Sandy. "How to Write a Resignation Letter." How to Do Things. 03 Feb 2007. 21 Feb 2007

    Some websites do not offer a publication date.  Omit this if it is not available.  Make sure to cite the date that you accessed the page, as Internet sites change frequently.


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