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What Is a Bibliography?

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A bibliography is a list of books, scholarly articles, and other sources you use when researching a topic and writing a paper. The bibliography will appear at the end of your paper.

The bibliography is sometimes called Works Cited or Works Consulted.

Bibliography entries must be written in a very specific format, but that format will depend you the particular style of writing you use. Your teacher will tell you which style to use, and for most school papers these will be either MLA, APA, or Turabian style.

Bibliography entries will include:

  • Author
  • Title of your source
  • Publication information
  • Date

Your entries should be listed in alphabetical order by the last name of the author. If you are using two publications that are written by the same author, the order and format will depend on the style of writing.

In MLA and Turabian style of writing, you should list the entries in alphabetical order according to the title of the work. The author's name is written as normal for the first entry, but for the second entry you will replace the author's name with three hyphens. 

In APA style, you list the entries in chronological order of publication, placing the earliest first. The full name of the author is used for all entries.

The main purpose of a bibliography entry is to give credit to other authors whose work you've consulted in your research. Another purpose of a bibliography is to make it easy for a curious reader to find the source you've used.

Bibliography entries are usually written in a hanging indent style. This means that the first line of each citation is not indented, but subsequent lines of each citation are indented.

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