How to write a bibliography

What is a bibliography?

A bibliography is a collection of sources relating to the contents of a book, article, essay, etc. When information is gained from another source other than personal knowledge the specific source should be duly credited.

Any list should be in alphabetical order. Italics should be utilized for titles, i.e. books, newspapers, magazines, films. Co-authors should also be included in any listing. Whenever any listing stretches to a second line then indentation should be used. This will become particularly important if a bibliography is very extensive, as indentation will make large blocks of text easier to read.

There are subtle differences concerning the formatting of different sources, as sources can range from a book to a CD-ROM. The following 10 tips when putting together a bibliography explain these differences.

1. Book

Use as a guide to compiling book credits the following: The last name of the author should appear first. Then their forenames or initials, followed by the title of the book. The city/town the book was first published in should be listed next, followed by the name of the publishers and the year of publication.

An example:

Smith, John. My Story. London: Z, z and z, 1979.

2. Encyclopedia

For an encyclopedia the title of the encyclopedia should be named first, with the edition date next, then the volume number, article title and page numbers.

An example:

The Interesting Encyclopedia, 1967. Volume 4, “Cats,” pp. 25-27.

3. Magazine

When listing a magazine source, the author’s surname should figure first, with their forenames or initials subsequently. The article title should follow next, then the title of the magazine, its volume number and date. Lastly, the page where the information was sourced should be included.

An example:

Taylor, Jane, “Old Films .” Tanzanian Movies Journal Volume 17, No. 2, (Spring 1992): p. 9.

4. Magazine Article

The author’s name should appear first, then the title of the article and the name of the magazine. The medium should also be specified, i.e. whether print or online. The volume number, date, and page numbers should follow next. Subsequently, in the listing, should be the publisher’s name, the version, and finally the issue date.

An example:

Jackson, Tom. “The Planet Min.” Science Lessons (CD-ROM). Number 5, (March 1999): pp. 18-19. QVV, Mac version, Summer 1999.

5. Newspaper

Again the author’s name should appear first when listing a newspaper reference (with the surname up first). Next, should be the title of the article, and then the name of the newspaper, the town or city’s it’s based in, the state or county of publication, together with the date the article was originally published. The number of the edition (if applicable) should be listed next, then the section and the pages the source can be located.

An example:

Clark, Martin, “Old Paris.” The Nowhere Guardian, Nowhere, Nowhereshire. (4/6/08): Strange Region, Section 3, p. 19.

6. Newspaper Article

The last name of the author should appear first, followed by their forenames/initials. The title of the article, the title of the newspaper, and the relevant medium should precede location info such as the town and city the newspaper is published in, as well as the county or state. If available, the date should then follow this information. The last items of information in this type of listing should be the page number(s), publisher information, the version, and issue date.

An example:

Turner, Ron. “Keeping Fit.” 100 Years Young News (CD-ROM), Healthy, Healthyshire. (Jan 2009): pp. A6-7. C100+, Mac. version, Spring 2009.

7. Person

This will typically be information gained after a person has been interviewed. Their full name, with their surname then other names, should appear first. Next should be the name of their occupation and then date that they were interviewed.

An example:

Carpenter, Joan. Secretary. June 15, 2008.

8. Film

This is another short entry, with just the title of the film, its director and distributor, together with the date the film was made necessary to include in a listing.

An example:

Toasted Apples, Dir. Michael Yates, K1KXZ Productions, 2005.


The title of the disc should be included first, its version, the date it was published, the title of the article, and page numbers (if applicable). Last in the listing should be the name of the publisher of the specific CD-ROM.

An example:

Layfielder’s Multimedia Encyclopedia: Macintosh version, 1996. “Renaissance art ,” p.39. Layfielder Newsmedia.

10. Internet – Email and World Wide Web

The author of the sourced message, together with the date, the subject of the message, where the original information came from, and any available e-mail address.


An example:

Elizabeth Jones, (October 13, 2007). Whoplun Poetry Contest Winners (Online).

World Wide Web

The URL, from which the piece of information was gleaned, is the first item that needs to be listed. After the URL comes the author, or the name of the item if specified. Finally, include the date when it first appeared on the web.

An example: Weather Report, August 11, 2001.