Bibliography Examples, Definition and Types Made Simple

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A bibliography is an alphabetized list of all the sources used in an academic paper. You should compile a bibliography when writing an essay, article or research paper that relies heavily on source material. Learning how to write a bibliography with different types of sources may seem tricky, but when you see examples of each type, it’s easier than you think.

How To Write a Bibliography

So what is a bibliography — and what do you need to include? There are nine core elements to create bibliography entries, each with specific punctuation. They include (with their punctuation):

  1. Author.
  2. “Title of source.” (piece of work)
  3. Title of container or main work,
  4. Other contributors,
  5. Version,
  6. Number,
  7. Publisher,
  8. Publication date,
  9. Location.

When written in a bibliography, it looks like this:

Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Title of Source.” Title of Container, edited by Other Contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication Date, Location.

If you don’t have every element in your source, choose the ones you have and include them in the citation. For example:

Author Last Name, Author First Name. Title of Container, Publisher, Publication date, Location.

 

Bibliography Examples for Books

When quoting a book, the book itself is the title of the container. For example:

Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer. Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance, Springer, 2003.

Should the source have more than one author, your citation should appear as follows:

Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer, and Cindy Lu. Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance, Springer, 2003.

If there are more than two authors for your source, add et al. (a Latin abbreviation meaning “and others.”)

Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer et al. Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance, Springer, 2003.

Bibliography Examples for Newspaper and Magazine Articles

For newspapers and magazines, you should include the author, the article title (in quotation marks), the title of the newspaper or publication (in italics), the date of publication, and the page numbers from which the information was gathered.

Doe, John. "How Do You Measure a Year in the Life?" The Sun Times. 2 July 2010: 1-3.

Occasionally, you will come across a source without a listed author. This is especially common when citing newspaper articles and online articles. When this happens, you should simply move to the next step of your citation.

"Review: Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter Maintenance." Arts Review. 8 October 2003.

Bibliography Examples for Online Resources

When you are citing an online source, do your best to include the following: the author, the title of the article or page, the name of the website, the website publisher (if available), the date of publication, and the specific web address or URL.

Johnson, Mary Anne. "How to Bake the Perfect Souffle." Food Network, Television Food Network, 20 February 2013, www.foodnetwork.com/article/perfect_souffle.

Bibliography Examples for Interviews

If you are citing a personal interview that you conducted yourself, include the name of the interviewee, last name first. Then add “Personal interview,” who conducted the interview, and the date the interview was conducted. For example:

Johnson, Anne. Personal interview with Mary Smith. Aug 22 2019.

If you are citing an interview performed by someone else, your citation should begin with the interviewee’s name, last name first, just like the personal interview. What follows depends on the format of the interview. If it appears in a printed publication like a book or magazine, the title of the publication in italics comes next, followed by any volume or issue numbers in plain text, followed by the year, followed by the page numbers in which the interview appears. For example:

Johnson, Anne. Interview with Mary Smith. Amazing Interviews Magazine, vol. 4, no. 2, 2019, pp. 100-105.

If the interview has a title of its own, independent of the work it’s published in, be sure to include it in quotations in place of “Interview with Mary Smith.” For example:

Johnson, Anne. “Reflections on Being an Interview Subject.” Amazing Interviews Magazine, vol. 4, no. 2, 2019, pp. 100-105.

If the interview is one part of a television program or other broadcast medium, follow the same pattern above, but omit reference to volume, issue and page number. Instead, include the interviewer’s name as “By [name]” after the show’s title, along with year of broadcast.

Johnson, Anne. “Reflections on Being an Interview Subject.” TV’s Most Amazing Interviews, By Mary Smith, 2019.

Bibliography Examples for Films

When citing a film, the format starts with the film title in italics, followed by “Directed by [name of director or directors],” then the film studio and release year. You can include noteworthy performances just after the directors if you choose. Here’s one without performers:

A Citable Film. Directed by John Smith and Jane Doe, Moviemaking Studios, 2019.

And here’s one with performers:

A Citable Film II. Directed by John Smith and Jane Doe, performances by Anne Johnson and Mark Smith, Moviemaking Studios, 2019.

Bibliography Examples for Television

Citing a television show follows the same format as films, but includes the episode title and ideally a specific airing date. The format should be: title of episode in quotation marks; title of show in italics; any season or episode information that would help readers locate the episode; “written by” and “directed by” with names for each; production company; date of broadcast. For example:

“Episode Name.” Show Name season 1, episode 1, written by John Smith and Jane Doe, directed by Mark Johnson, Distribution Distributors, 1 Aug 2019.

If you watched the episode through a streaming service, you should include the service name in italics and a link after the date:

“Episode Name.” Show Name season 1, episode 2, written by John Smith and Jane Doe, directed by Mark Johnson, Distribution Distributors, 7 Aug 2019. TVFlix, www.notareallink.com/watch/67584974.

Bibliography for Speeches, Presentations, and Conferences

Citing speeches, lectures, conferences, and other spoken material is only slightly different from citing interviews and print material. The entry should follow this pattern: name of speaker, last name first; title of speech in quotation marks; name of event at which speech was given; date in day-month-year order; location. For example:

Smith, Anne. “The Many Wonders of Speaking at Conferences.” Conference on Speaking Conferences, 1 Aug 2019, Turkeyfoot Hotel, Rabbit Hash, KY.

If you want to cite conference proceedings rather than a specific speech or event, your citation should follow the pattern of: proceedings editor, last name first; conference title in italics; conference date and location, publisher, date of publication. Note that the date will often be in the title of the proceedings; if that is the case, there’s no need to include it at the end. Here’s an example:

Smith, Anne. Conference on Speaking Conferences Proceedings, August 2019. Turkeyfoot Hotel, Rabbit Hash KY: Publication Publishing.

And an example without the date in the title:

Smith, Anne. Conference on Speaking Conferences Proceedings. 1 Aug 2019, Turkeyfoot Hotel, Rabbit Hash, KY: Publication Publishing, 22 Aug 2019.

Note that the italics end with the title. That helps separate a date that is part of the title from a date you have included yourself. Also, note that when citing the published proceedings of a conference, two dates are called for: the date of the conference itself and the date the proceedings were published.

Other Types of Bibliographies

The above examples follow MLA citation format, but you may need more specific instructions if you’re using a different style guide. These guides include the APA style (for social sciences) and the Chicago Manual of Style (for fine arts and business). If you’re writing a journalistic article, you may want to use the AP Stylebook for your citations.

Bibliography, Annotated Bibliography or Works Cited?

Despite the varying terms, the difference between a bibliography, an annotated bibliography and a works cited page is simple.

  • A works cited page is a list of every work cited in the text of your paper.
  • A bibliography is a list of every work you used while writing your paper, whether or not it was specifically cited.
  • An annotated bibliography is a bibliography with a short note by the author explaining the significance of the source.

A Bibliography Doesn’t Need to Be Hard Work

Regardless of the format used, every bibliography citation has to have a minimum amount of identifying information. Write down the citation information for each source as you review it, whether or not you think you will actually use it; it will keep your notes more organized and help you find information quickly when you're actually writing. The more you practice citations, the less of a chore they will be at the end of a lengthy paper.

For further help with formatting and style, refer to these resources: