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What is a Bibliography?

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Whenever you quote, paraphrase, or take notes on someone else’s work, you should keep track of the sources the information came from. This will help you avoid plagiarism when you begin writing.

You can keep track of your sources in a few different ways:

  • Place the author’s name in parentheses after quoted or paraphrased text.
  • Organize your notes under headings with the source information.
  • If using note cards to keep track of information, write the source of the information on the back of each card.

In addition to the above, you should also create a bibliography.

What is a Bibliography?
Let’s begin with a brief definition. A bibliography is a list of sources that an author used to write their piece. It is usually included at the end of a project or paper, and includes information about each source like the title, author, publication date, and website if the source is digital. Each set of source information is called a citation.

For example, here is a website citation in MLA format:

Joyce, Christopher. “Plastic Is Everywhere And Recycling Isn’t The End Of It.” NPR, 19 July 2017, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/19/538166682/plastic-is-everywhere-and-recycling-isnt-the-end-of-it.

A bibliography usually has several citations. Here is an example of a bibliography (unformatted):

Works Cited

Azzarello, Marie Y., and Edward S. Van Vleet. “Marine Birds and Plastic Pollution.” Marine Ecology Progress Series, vol. 37, no. 2/3, 1987, pp. 295–303. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/24824704.

Hall, Eleanor J. Recycling. KidHaven, 2005.

Hopewell, Jefferson, et al. “Plastics Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities.” Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, vol. 364, no. 1526, 2009, pp. 2115–2126. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/40485985.

“How Much Plastic is in the Ocean?” It’s Okay to Be Smart. YouTube, 28 Mar. 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFZS3Vh4lfI.

Joyce, Christopher. “Plastic Is Everywhere And Recycling Isn’t The End Of It.” NPR. 19 July 2017, www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/07/19/538166682/plastic-is-everywhere-and-recycling-isnt-the-end-of-it.

Manrich, Sati, and Amélia S. F. Santos. Plastic Recycling. Nova Science Publishers, 2009.

Why Have a Bibliography?
​There are many benefits to creating a bibliography. Listen to the sound clip below:

In summary, bibliographies serve many purposes:

  • They help you keep track of your own research.
  • They can help your readers find more information on the topic.
  • They prove that the information in your research came from trustworthy sources.
  • They give credit to the original sources and authors.
  • It is a central location for all of your citations.

How Do I Create a Bibliography?
What your bibliography looks like will depend on a few different things, including what information you want/need to keep track of and what citation style you are using.

There are several different citation styles. Each requires slightly different information and formatting. The most popular styles used are MLA format and APA format. You can follow a citation guide, use a citation generator like BibMe, or see your teacher to help you structure your bibliography.

There are also plagiarism checker services that can assist you with identifying text that may need a citation, and then helping you create citations.

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