How to Write a Bibliography Summary

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An essay’s bibliography section lists all the books and articles you used to complete your research. There are several formats you can use to cite documents in the text of your essay and in your bibliography. The Chicago Manual of Style format is widely used by scholars studying the humanities, including history, art and literature. When using the Chicago Manual format to create a bibliography, separate every major section inside the entry (i.e. author’s name, title, and publishing information) with a period and one space.

Write Individual Bibliography Entries

Begin each entry with the author’s last name followed by a comma and then the first name.

Write the title of the document you used for your research after the author’s name. Underline or italicize book titles. Use quotation marks around article titles.

Make note of the document’s publishing information after the title. For books, include the city where the title was published followed by a colon, the name of the publisher followed by a comma and the year of publication. For magazine articles, write the magazine name underlined followed by the edition number and or the publication date in parentheses.

For article entries only, record the page numbers on which the article appears without using “p” or “pp” or “pg.”

Create Your Bibliography Summary

Type the word “Bibliography” center aligned at the top of a new page. The bibliography belongs at the end of your report.

List all the entries you created in Section 1 alphabetically.

Insert an indentation before each line except the first one, if an entry requires two, three or more lines. This makes it easier to find the beginning of each record.

Check for errors. Since you’re dealing with names it’s easy for typos to fall through the cracks.


  • Make sure your teacher accepts Chicago Manual formatting. There are several different systems in use and your professor may have a preference.


  • For books without a named author omit step 2 when writing individual entities.
  • If a book has more than one author, only invert the first author’s name. List the other writers’ names with first name then last name.
  • Here’s a sample entry for a book with two authors;
  • Doe, Jane, and John Doe. Book Title. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
  • Here’s an example of an article entry
  • GO
  • Doe, John L. “Article Title.” Magazine Title. 44 (2010): 18-22.