How to Write a Bibliography

Heather Long
Young female student with laptop

A bibliography is included at the end of a written piece to document the sources used within the paper. The easiest way to compile a bibliography is to keep track of your resources as you use them.

Compiling Resource Material

While doing research, make a note of where each piece of information you wish to use came from. Write down:

  • Full title
  • Author
  • Publication
  • Publisher
  • Location of Publisher
  • Date
  • Page number or URL

Listing this data with each fact you record or plan to cite allows you the opportunity to fact check when you are reviewing your final draft.

Formatting Your Bibliography

When finalizing your bibliography, you need to list the materials in alphabetical order by the last name. Sources without authors are organized by the title of the work. Multiple formats for bibliographies exist; always check which format your instructor prefers.

How to Write a Bibliography

For a book:

Author (last name first). Title of the book. City: Publisher, Date of publication.

Example: Lee, Nathan. Presidents of the United States Biographies in Brief: Seedbox Brief, LLC, 2011.

For an encyclopedia:

Encyclopedia Title, Edition Date. Volume Number, "Article Title," page numbers.

Example: Britannica Encyclopedia of World Religions, 2006. Volume 1, "Christianity," pp. 50-51.

For a print magazine:

Author (last name first), "Article Title." Name of magazine. Volume number, (Date): page numbers.

Example: Valby, Karen, "The Hunger Games Catching Fire." Entertainment Weekly. Issue No. 1242, (January 18, 2013): p. 26.

For a print newspaper:

Author (last name first), "Article Title." Name of newspaper, city, state of publication. (date): edition if available, section, page number(s).

Example: Pace, Julie, "Obama unveils $500 million gun violence package." Dallas Morning News, Dallas, TX. (1/16/13): National News, Section 1, p. 1.

For an interview:

Full name (last name first). Occupation. Date of interview. How interview conducted. (i.e. Email, personal, telephone)

Example: Long, Heather. Author. January 15, 2013. Email interview.

For a film:

Title, Director, Distributor, Year.

Example: The Hunger Games, Dir. Gary Ross, Lionsgate, 2012.

For an Internet magazine article:

Author (last name first). "Article title." Name of magazine. Volume number, (Date): url.

Example: Hibberd, James. "CBS defends 'Criminal Minds' against violence slam." Entertainment Weekly Online. (January 13, 2013): http://insidetv.ew.com/2013/01/12/cbs-defends-criminal-minds/

For an Internet newspaper article:

Author (last name first). "Article title." Name of newspaper, city and state of publication. (Date): url.

Example: Weiner, Rachel. "White House NRA ad 'repugnant'." Washington Post Online, Washington D.C. (January 16, 2013). http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/01/16/white-house-nra-ad-repugnant/

For message board or email loop:

Author of message, (Date). Subject of message. Electronic conference or bulletin board (Online). Available e-mail: LISTSERV@ e-mail address

Example: Gia, Connor, (January 1, 2013). Best Books of 2012. YA Readers List (Online). Connor_Gia@hermail.com.

General Internet resource:

URL (Uniform Resource Locator or WWW address). author (or item's name, if mentioned), date.

Example: http://www.complex.com/pop-culture/2012/12/2012-year-in-review-25-best-tv-shows/. The Best TV Shows of 2012, December 10, 2012.

Verify Expectations

Before compiling your final bibliography, verify your teacher's required style and format if it's for an academic paper, or the publisher's required style if it is for something else. Final academic grades will often take into account whether the bibliography is correctly formatted, so ask before submitting your final piece.

How to Write a Bibliography