The importance of citing sources of information cannot be overemphasized. The citation of a source provides the reader with the background necessary to validate (or invalidate) the value and accuracy of the information. Additionally, citation rightfully gives credit to the authors, editors, and others who contributed to the publishing or dissemination of the information.
There are a large number of styles to choose from in establishing a proper bibliography. Submissions to journals typically must adhere to specific rules for the given journal. Requirements in an academic coursework setting are usually established by the instructor. The following example paragraph and its bibliography are based on the style required by the Journal of the American Chemical Society (The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information, Third Edition, edited by Anne M. Coghill and Lorrin R. Garson, Oxford University Press: New York, 2006). This style is identical or very similar to the style used for most physical science and engineering papers.
[body of document] A proper bibliography (the list of references, usually found at the end of a paper) should allow the reader to easily associate each reference with specific information within the body of the paper. For example, Buchheit’s work on corrosion potentials for intermetallic particles 1 is an example of a Journal Article with a Single Author. In the case of a Journal Article with More Than One Author, such as Frankel and co-workers’ paper related to corrosion inhibition by vanadates,2 all authors should be specifically listed in the bibliography (unless there are more than ~15 authors). It is perfectly acceptable to cite a source without specifically using the name(s) of the authors within the text. For example, the same reference used in the preceding sentence can be used to support the idea that the speciation of vanadates is an important factor in determining its corrosion inhibition properties.2 Often, a resource is a Book Chapter or several Pages from a Book; Puls and Saake discussed industrially isolated hemicelluloses3 in a book entitled Hemicelluloses: Science. This book was edited by Gatenholm and Tenkanen. When references are numbered (such as in this example), the bibliography lists the references in the order they appear in the paper (not in alphabetical order). For example, Cole’s book about corrosion4 would be listed last in this bibliography, because it is the last reference mentioned in this example. These examples are the most frequently encountered resources, but the list of possible resources is long.
Bibliography[placed at end of document]
(1) Buchheit, R. G. J. Electrochem. Soc. 1995, 142, 3994-6.
(2) Iannuzzi, M.; Young, T.; Frankel, G. S. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2006, 153, B533-B541.
(3) Puls, J.; Saake, B. In Hemicelluloses: Science and Technology; Gatenholm, P., Tenkanen, M., Eds.; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2004, p 24–37.
(4) Cole, H. G. Corrosion; 2nd ed.; Butterworth: London, 1976.
You should compile a bibliography when writing an essay, article, or research paper that relies heavily on source material. A bibliography is an alphabetized list of sources that have been used to compile data, typically in an article, essay, or research paper. This list is found at the end of the work and allows the person reviewing the data to verify the veracity of the statements and/or figures presented in the data itself. It also allows a writer to give proper credit for quotes or key phrases that have been written and presented in a source that they may have referenced in their paper so as to avoid plagiarism.
Bibliography for Books
The basic information you should cite when referencing a book includes; the author (surname first, followed by their given name or initials), the book title (in italics), the publisher, as well as the place and date of publication. Each section should be followed by a full stop. Your citation should look like this:
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer. Wu Xia and the Art of Scooter
Maintenance. New York: Springer, 2003.
Note how the first line is not indented, but subsequent lines are. This is the format for all multiple line citations, regardless of the source of the information.
Should the source have more than one author, your citation should appear as follows:
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer, and Cindy Lu. Wu Xia and the Art of
Scooter Maintenance. New York: Springer, 2003.
If there are more than two authors for your source, note your citation as follows:
Smith, John Jacob Jingleheimer et. al. Wu Xia and the Art of
Scooter Maintenance. New York: Springer, 2003.
Occasionally, you will come across a source without a listed author; this is especially common when citing newspaper articles and articles from the internet. When this happens, you should simply move to the next step of your citation.
Bibliography for Newspaper & Magazine Articles
For newspapers and magazines you should include the author, the article title (in quotation marks), the title of the newspaper or publication (in italics), the year of publication and the page numbers from which the information was gathered.
Doe, John. “How Do You Measure a Year in the Life?” The Sun Times.
2 July 2010: 1-3.
Bibliography for Online Resources
When you are citing an online source, do your best to include the following: the author, the title of the article or page, the web address or URL (in italics), and the date of publication.
Johnson, Mary Anne. “How to Bake the Perfect Souffle.”
http://www.foodnetwork.com/article/perfect_souffle. 20 February 2013.
Types of Bibliographies
There are two main types of bibliography formats: MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association).
- MLA format is typically used by those writing in the liberal arts or humanities community. It focuses on the author of the cited source material, in order to help the reader place him or her in the appropriate historical and philosophical context.
- APA format, on the other hand, is used more often in the social sciences and is useful for citing from journals and other such publications. Its focus is more on the research presented in the source and when it was released, rather than the individuals who conducted it.
Regardless of the format used, every bibliography citation has to have a minimum amount of identifying information. The source matters when it comes to formatting the entry — book titles are underlined, article titles are in quotation marks — and determines what information is needed (for example: a book's publisher vs. a web page's URL).
Write down the citation information for each source as you review it, whether or not you think you will actually use it; it will keep your notes more organized and help you find information quickly when you're doing your actual writing. Plus, it is good practice! The more you practice citation, the less of a chore it will be at the end of a hard paper.