Bibliography Definition

Definition: Bibliography

Bibliography is a term used to describe the study of books, cultural objects with an intensive goal of achieving academic purposes. It is also described as a discipline that entails listing of books in an organized manner, also known as enumerative bibliography, or the systematic way of describing books similar to objects, descriptive bibliography which forms the literature of a subject under study.

Bibliography – FAQ

What is bibliography?
Bibliographies entail the listing of books, articles, journals, cultural objects among other study materials to build up a literature of a given study.
What is the difference between bibliographies and reference list?The two may seem to look alike since they share characteristics such as basic formation and alphabetical arrangement of entries. All the cited works of authors plus all other works consulted by the author, despite being mentioned in the text, is clearly contained in a bibliography. Since referencing specification is the main agenda, all the specific sources that you made reference have to be cited here. This means that if a learner did selective reading, then all the information captured should be referred to directly when writing assignments or coming up with a literature of a given study.
What information should be included in a bibliography?Good bibliographies should have:
• The authors' names
• Title of the books, works or objects referred to
• Date of publication
• Names of publishers and their locations
• If the source volume was multi, then page number must be included

Application Areas of Bibliographies

The commonly used areas for bibliographies include usage in a sentence. They are also used in projects and for answering the research question. While citing this bibliography, the writer needs to give all the references.

Different Kinds of Bibliographies

Bibliographies are classified according to the style or the way of listing the sources. There are three common types of bibliography:

  • analytical bibliography,
  • enumerative bibliography
  • annotated bibliography

Analytical bibliography:

Analytical bibliographies include information concerning the booksellers and printers, paper and binding descriptions, and any insights that unfold as a book evolved from manuscript to a published book. Under this, we can further subdivide it into descriptive bibliography concerned with the physical appearance and nature of a book, textual bibliography which compares the already published work to the author’s original manuscript, and lastly historical bibliography that shows the context of the production of the book.

Annotated bibliography:

Annotated bibliography shows the writer’s creation of alphabetical order. In this bibliography, a series of tasks are done by the writer involved. They provide an outline of the kind of research done on a given chapter, addition of notes about the source, commenting on the source and summarizing the source, assessment of the source by evaluating the usefulness of the source, and reflecting on the source by providing a perspective on the text usefulness towards the research question.

Enumerative bibliography:

Students writing research papers commonly use enumerative bibliography. Here, the writer lists all the references considering some specific arrangements. For example, an author starts with the subject then lastly dates items listed. They share common characteristics such as language, topic or period of time. Information concerning the source is then given by the writer so as to provide directions to the readers towards the source. An example of this bibliography is a card catalogue.

GOOD TO KNOW: Read our article about referencing & citation styles to write a perfect bibliography!

Bibliography: Examples

Monographs are books written addressing a particular topic. An example of a bibliography citing such books is as follows;

Danny Irvings, E.U. (2016). Diet and body control. Amsterdam: Mindset publishers.

When writing bibliographies of edited books, the writer should note that when highlighting a chapter, the word ‘in’ before the name of the editor. For example; In, Heisten D.Y. & Thompson G.E. (Eds.), (2014). Human biology of physical existence. Hurlingham, GN: University Of Califonia Press. On tackling bibliography citations on internet sources and scientific journals, the writer has to consider the steps highlighted earlier in the contents of a bibliography; John Saynard, Psychology For The Need, retrieved from sources/news and livelihood/psychology/words/2007/.

APA Bibliography Format

In writing bibliographies using APA format (APA Citation), the following steps need to be observed. It should be done at the end of the paper on a new page with the title ‘References’ being centrally located and listing the author’s name. If there is more than one author, the usage of an ampersand is applied. You should also show the publication date, the title of the source, the publisher’s location, and their name. For examples, Peterson, D. (1992). The creators: A history of the heroes of imagination. New York: Random House. When writing online sources, the author’s name begins, date of publication, the title of the article or journal, volume number, month, day, year of retrieval, and lastly the full URL. An example includes; Raids, g. (2007, July 3). Lightning injures four at music festivals. The why? Files. Retrieved February 23, 2007, 2006 from

MLA Bibliography Format

On writing monographs using MLA, the example shows a clear indication on the things that should be kept in mind during the citing process; On monographs, the bibliography appears in this format, Litfin, Karen. “Introduction to Political Economy.” Political Science 203. The University of Washington. Seattle, 16 October 2000. When citing on edited books, especially those with more than one author, the sample below is a clear indication of what is to be followed; Druin, Allison, and Solomon, Cynthia. Designing Multimedia Environments for Children. J. Wiley & Sons, 1996. Lastly, online sources or scientific articles under MLA bibliography citations have the below appearance, National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,

In a nutshell

• A bibliography is a series of activities involving the listing of books, sources, journals, or articles mainly with the aim of coming out with a clear literature review.
• The main application areas of the bibliography include academic writings such as research papers, proposals, reflection or even sentences.
• Bibliographies may be divided into two categories: the APA citation and MLA citations which further contain the types of bibliography. They include analytical bibliographies, enumerative bibliographies, and lastly annotated bibliographies.

Therefore, it is advisable for both college and university students to have a clear mind on what bibliographies entail and be able to apply the skills gained from this discipline so as to help encounter plagiarism when handling academic writings.


James B McMillan, Michael B Montgomery. Annotated Bibliography of Southern American English
University of Alabama Press, 2018
Marjorie Powell, Joseph W Beard. An annotated bibliography and guide to research
Routledge, 2018

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