How to Write a Bibliography

A bibliography is a list of resources used when compiling a research paper or book. This list is used by readers for a couple of reasons. It is used as a resource for other books on the same topic it is also used to verify the accuracy of the information either in your research paper or in a book. It is also used to give proper credit to the authors of your resources and to prove that you are not plagiarizing or stealing. This article will discuss the MLA method of how to do a bibliography properly.

When writing the author’s name only include the name and any indication of their status as Sr. or Jr. as well as I,II, III etc. Such as Beck, John Jr. Or Smith, Tom III. Do not include any titles that reference job positions such as Rev., MD, or Phd. The last name is always placed first with the first name and middle names afterwards: Smith, John Jr; Jones, David Thomas III.

Title/Subtitle of the Piece
1) Only use the title as it is listed on the title page.
2) Underline the titles and subtitles of publications: book, magazine, newspaper, encyclopedia, journal, or periodical
3) Should the name of a newspaper not include the city in its title, then place the name of the city in square brackets after the title: example The Independent [Colorado Springs].
4) Titles of articles should not be underlined, but should be put in quotation marks.
Example: “Great Campgrounds in Colorado” The Independent [Colorado Springs]
5) Capitalize the first word of both the title and subtitle and except for articles, prepositions and conjunctions the rest of the important words in the titles.
Example: The Law of Attraction: How to Get Everything You Want

Place of Publication
1) Don’t use places of countries, nations, counties, or states.
2) Only use city or town names
3) This is only necessary when using citing books, it is not necessary for any other resources.
4) The abbreviation n.p. when no place is provided.
5) When citing cities it is only necessary to cite the state or province when it will cause confusion or it is not well-known:
Examples: Pittsfield, Ma:, Sidney, Ne:, Medicine Hat, Ab:

1) Be sure to check and use only the location of the publisher, not the printer. If no printer is given, use, n. p. for this as well
2) If more than one publisher is given write them all down with the year for each publication.
Example: Uptown Riders 1920; New York: Doubleday; 1935; Provincetown, NJ: Smithhouse Publishing Co.
3) Shorten the name of the publisher, Macmillan, not Macmillan Publishing Co.
4) Publisher is only used for Books, not newspapers, magazines etc.

Date of Publication
1) If no date is found, then use, n. d. (no date). For several dates use the most recent date out of the list. Do not confuse printings or reprintings with publication dates.
2) For weekly publications use the format: date, month, year
Example: Newsweek 07 Sept 1962
3)For a seasonal publication or one that is quarterly use the month and year or season and year. Do not abbreviate May, June and July, only abbreviate all the other months. Use the period only for abbreviations, not after the other 3 months. Example: Jan., May, June, July
Example: Yoga Journal Winter 2007, Outfront May 2007, Mother Earth News March 1999
4) Do use only the date, do not use the copyright symbol or write out the word.
5) If you are unable to locate the actual publication date, but are able to get a reliable date from other sources use square brackets to indicate that you supplied the date.
Example: Mother Earth News [2005?] or [c. 2005] c. means Circa or around the date listed.

Page Numbers
1) Page numbers are necessary for books, only if it is a part of a book as in a collection of essays or other works. Also if you can’t find the page number listed the put “n. page.”
2) If page numbers are not in order, as in a page with an advertisement is in the article, then you are only required to put the first page of the article with a plus sign.
Example: Smith, John J. “How to Decorate Your Bedroom Better” Good Housekeeping Magazine July-August p12+

Standard MLA Style
1) It is common practice with the MLA style to indent either 5 spaces or ½ inch from the left margin. Put the data on one line and then continue on a second line indented again. So with MLA format the information for a book would look like this:
Author. Title: Subtitle. City or town: Publisher, Year of publication
When listing an citation of more than one book for one author, only list the author in the first citation.
2) For magazines and items than a book use this format:
Author. “Title: Subtitle of article.” Title of Magazine etc.
Day Month Year of publication: Page number(s).

by Jayashree Pakhare.

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