How to Create a Bibliography

A bibliography gives your readers a list of the sources you used to get information that helped you create your paper, document or other publication. Associations like the Modern Language Association, American Psychological Association and the Council of Biology Editors all have guidelines for creating bibliographies with certain rules and formats. The organization or publication you submit your paper to provide the formatting guidelines you should follow when creating your bibliography.

Open the document to which you want to add the bibliography. Click on “Insert” in the top menu choices of your word processing software program. Choose “Page Break” to add another full page to your document with the cursor at its beginning.

Type “Bibliography” at the top of the page in the center. Do not underline it.

List each reference you used in your document or presentation in alphabetical order according to the author or speaker's last name.

List each reference in the proper format according to the rules of the establishment, depending on if the source is a book, magazine article or website.

Type the last name of the author, followed by a comma, then the first name and then add a period. Type the year the resource was published and another period. Type the name of article or book in italics or underlined and another period.

Type the state the source was published in and then the name of the publisher. Each association has its own rules pertaining to the format and in which order you place these items. Because of this, magazine articles and web pages, for example, follow a slightly different order.

  • Inserting a page break ensures that the bibliography starts on its own page, regardless of any other editing you do in the rest of the document. After you finish the bibliography, wait and then give the document another look when you have a fresh pair of eyes. It is often difficult to spot small errors like the addition of an extra space or the omission of a comma when you've been working on the bibliography for long periods of time.
  • Double-check the formatting requirements of the establishment that will be reviewing your document or publication to make sure you've followed them correctly, not just for the bibliography but for the entire document as well, before submitting it.
Items you will need
Word processing software
Internet access (optional)
About the Author

Misty S. Bledsoe has been writing since 1995. She specializes in writing about religion, technology and solar concepts, and her articles appear on various websites. She holds a Bachelor of Science in information technology from American Intercontinental University.

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