How to Write a Simple Bibliography
Cite the sources of the information in your paper or project with a bibliography. This is a list of books, websites and magazines used in the research. There are different styles for bibliographies, including the "Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association" (Sixth Edition), "Modern Language Association Handbook for Writers of Research Papers" (Seventh Edition) and "Chicago Manual of Style." The styles present similar information, but the presentation is different.
Include the author’s name, the title of the book, the publisher and the city, and the date of publication.
If writing in APA style, list the author’s last name first, followed by a comma and the author’s first initial. List the publication year in parenthesis, followed by the book title in italics. Add the city where the book was published, a colon and the publishing company.
Collins, S. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic.
MLA style is similar, but uses the entire first name of the author and the publication date is placed after the publisher.
Collins, Suzanne. The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic, 2008.
CMS is identical to the MLA style when referencing books.
When citing articles found in newspapers, magazines and other periodicals, show the author’s name, the title of the article, title of the newspaper or magazine, the volume or issue and the pages on which the article appears.
APA style lists the author’s last name, followed by the first initial. Publication date is listed in parenthesis followed by the title of the article and the title of the periodical, volume number and page numbers. The title of the periodical and volume number are italicized, but not the title of the article.
Lipton, L. (2013, April). Blood, Sweat, Tears and Liposuction. Ladies’ Home Journal, 130, 78-83.
MLA style lists the author’s first name, puts quotation marks around the article title and places the date of publication after the name and volume number of the periodical. The volume number is not italicized.
Lipton, Lauren. “Blood, Sweat, Tears and Liposuction.” Ladies’ Home Journal 130 April 2013: 78-83.
CMS is similar to MLA, but the date of publication is set apart by parenthesis. Lipton, Lauren. “Blood, Sweat, Tears and Liposuction.” Ladies’ Home Journal 130 (April 2013): 78-83.
APA style of referencing online resources in a bibliography is similar to the style for periodicals. List the author’s name, followed by the date of publication in parenthesis. The title of the article is italicized if not part of a larger periodical.
If it is part of a periodical, that title is put in italics followed by the volume number. Include the month, day and year it was retrieved and include the entire URL.
Hershenhorn, E. (2013). The ABC’s of a Successful Author/Illustrator Visit. Retrieved Mar. 15, 2013 from http://www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/The-ABC-s-of-a-Successful-Author-Illustrator-Visit
MLA style puts the title of the article in quotation marks. The website, project or database where it was found is italicized, followed by the name of the editor, if available, and electronic publishing information including the date published, last updated and any sponsoring institutions. The date of access is given as date, month, year.
MLA style no longer requires the URL be included, but if the publisher chooses to include it, put it in brackets.
Hershenhorn, Esther. “The ABC’s of a Successful Author/Illustrator Visit.” SCBWI. 2013. 15 March 2013 http://www.scbwi.org/Pages.aspx/The-ABC-s-of-a-Successful-Author-Illustrator-Visit
According to the Chicago Manual of Style, articles from online journals follow the same format as print periodicals, with the addition of an accessed date and URL. Website content can be attributed in the text of the report.
(In a 2013 article posted on the SCBWI website, author Esther Hershenhorn gave the following tips for authors and illustrators visiting schools.)
When writing a bibliography, choose one style and stick with it throughout the document. Ask your teacher which style is preferred before writing the bibliography. Pay attention to punctuation, capital letters and italicized words. If there is a question about a citation, check the APA, MLA and CMO websites listed in the resources.
- Science Buddies: Writing a Bibliography: MLA Style
- Science Buddies: Writing a Bibliography: APA Format
- Chicago Manual of Style: Chicago Style Citation Guide
- Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, Sixth Edition; American Psychological Association; 2010
- MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Seventh edition); Modern Language Association; 2009
Alice Drinkworth has been a writer and journalist since 1995. She has written for community newspapers, college magazines and Salon.com. Drinkworth earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Wisconsin and won a media award for her in-depth coverage of local politics. She is also a certified master gardener.