How to Write Bibliography Cards for an MLA Style Report

Bibliography cards are used to quickly record resources for a research paper. Write these cards in the same format as you use on the works cited page. This will make it easy to transfer the information and help ensure that you record all of the needed information when you have the book or resource in front of you. Bibliography cards make it easy to organize your resources alphabetically. Do not include any resources that you do not cite in your report on your works cited page.

Citation Format

Your bibliography cards include the full citation, including the author’s first and last name, the title of the book or article, the title of the chapter you used and the publisher’s name, city and publication date. Your works cited page needs to be double spaced, using a hanging indent -- where you indent the line five spaces. The works cited page is alphabetized by the author’s last name. Capitalize all names and book titles. Do not capitalize small words like the, and, of or to. For example:

Last Name, First Name. “Article or Chapter Title.” Title of Book, Magazine or Newspaper: Subtitle. Publication city: Publisher, publication date.

Author's Name

When writing bibliography cards, start with the author’s last name at the edge of the card. Put a coma after the last name and then write the author’s first name with a period after it. Place the first line of your citation at the left margin of the page, and use a hanging indent for the next line. The hanging indent makes it easier to see the author’s names on your citation list and makes it clear when you are starting a new citation. For example:

Lowry, Lois. The Giver. New York: Random House, 1993.


List the chapter or article title followed by a period in quotation marks. The period is inside the quotation mark. If you use information from throughout the book, do not list a chapter title. List the title of the book, magazine or newspaper and underline it. When you type your citations into your works cited page, italicize the title instead of underlining it. For example:

Mc Devitt, Teresa and Jeanne Ormrod. “Language Development.” Child Development. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson-Merrill Prentice Hall, 2004.

Publication Information

Write the name of the city where the book/resource was published. Publication information is found on the back of the book’s title page, on the copyright page. After the publication city put a colon, list the publishing company with a coma followed by the publication date. The date is usually a year, but for articles, you also need to include the month and day if they are available. For Web pages, record the day that you accessed the page. For example:

Wells, Jaclyn. Purdue OWL Engagement. 26 Feb. 2009. The Writing Lab, Purdue University. 8 May 2013.

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