In essence, an annotated bibliography is a list of the sources you consulted while writing your article or research.

While you may have come across an example in the bibliography but not yet recognized it, here is what it usually contains:

Etymology of bibliography

The word bibliography began its use by Greek writers in approximately 300 BC, which meant the re-writing or copying of books by hand.

The development evolved over the centuries; wherein in the 17th century, before modernity appeared, and expanded as a field in itself. 

The bibliography began to include studies that saw the book as a physical/material object. It describes the way of extracting the materials in such a way as to understand the past and the present. 

The bibliographers are mainly focused on comparing elements of the two versions of the materials to understand and evaluate their importance.

Today, the bibliography is used quite a lot in writing documents, giving importance to the list of source materials and the respective authors.

How to write a bibliography?

To write a proper bibliography, you must keep a record of all the materials you have navigated during your search, whether books or internet articles.

Articles must be quoted starting with the author’s name and year of publication, then the part included in italics is the quote of the title of the work/article. Finally, you must quote the volume of the book (if any) and the number of pages.

The citation should make in this form: author (name), other authors (name), year, and so on.

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Each of your teachers asks you to have at least three sources where you get information.

Citations for sources from books and websites vary slightly. We will show you the citation forms which are required for books and which are required for websites.

Citations for published materials:
Citations for materials from the website:

You should consult with your professor or mentor about the style of the citation format. There are three styles through which sources are cited:

APA – is the format style through which sources are cited in scientific papers.

MLA – format style through which sources are cited in works of humanities and

CMS – is the Chicago style for citing sources in social science papers.

Making a bibliography involves, e.g., if you have more than one author, you should do an alphabetical order and if the author is not known, add the title of the source you got it from.

How to write a bibliography
How to write a bibliography

Types of bibliography

We have four types of bibliography which are usually used for research:


The national bibliography can be understood as a source that includes all the publications of a specific country in a certain period. Only some nations have a national bibliography; some do, while others are working to create one.

Nations that do not have a national bibliography but are probably in the process of creating one are nations such as AfghanistanAngolaBurkina FasoGuineaNorth Korea, etc.

While there are countries whose national bibliography dates back many centuries; for example, Poland has a national bibliography from the 19th century.


Personal bibliographies are formed in such a way that they represent a particular person or group of persons. It is usually created for people who were or are historically significant. 

Personal bibliography is helpful for primary sources that lack bibliographic control, which is supposed to be unpublished works or writings that have remained published in unreferenced journals.


Corporate bibliographies are somewhat similar to personal bibliographies, except corporate bibliographies are documents for, from, or about an organization.

An example of the corporate bibliography is the index Librorum prohibitory, which was published in many different periods by the Roman Catholic Church. This index is a bibliographic reflection of churches that people were not allowed to read.


Subject Bibliography includes the content of bibliographic information about all sources that have been written about a topic. It makes an effort to select the most valuable books/articles that could be used in your case.

An example includes, for example, the United Papers on Women 1800-1900 by author Mary E. Huls.

This type of bibliography is made up of two volumes. It offers you easy access to subjects in about 7,000 documents about social and employment issues that have a period of almost two centuries in a row.

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The sort of source

The sources of a paper are divided into three types, according to which your essay and bibliography are created. The bibliography is often a secondary or tertiary source.

The three types of sources are:

Primary sources 

Primary sources include theses, dissertations, government reports, symposium proceedings, original works, speeches, etc. 

These sources are evidence of events or creations by the person himself without being transmitted by second or third parties. In a few words, they are thoughts that show an original work, discoveries, or new works.

Secondary sources

Through secondary sources, the specific person summarizes the primary sources, explaining them in different ways. 

Secondary sources tend to add extra value to primary sources without harming them. Secondary sources examine an event/work and may also have reference lists. In most cases, the bibliography is included in the secondary sources.

Tertiary sources

Tertiary sources include lists of references and organization of sources of materials from which information was obtained.

The purpose of tertiary sources is to make the ranking as provided by the bibliography, so the bibliography, in most cases, is also ranked among the tertiary sources.

How to do an introduction in the bibliography

A bibliography should contain an introduction and a list of sources with notes about them attached. How to make a bibliographic entry? We will show you step by step.

The introduction is the basic process of a bibliography. In the introduction, the topic, the types of sources, and the research process should be developed. 

The introduction should be brief; a good summary in short points is required because the main focus of the bibliography is the sources and their listing.

Usually, the introduction to the bibliography includes critical elements such as:


List of resources

As we said above, the list of sources is the main point of the bibliography. 

Sources must have genuine and complete citations; citations must be listed alphabetically, starting with the author’s name, date of publication, and other points that include the bibliography we mentioned at the beginning of the article. 

You must remember to take notes and use proper citation style during the research process.

Bibliographic tools

Bibliographical tools help to form lists that include sources of existing creations/materials that will be part of your creation. 

Through these tools, writers create entries and lists of sources in the bibliography according to the bibliographic content that is expected to be created in a paper.

The functions of bibliographic tools are obtaining citations, their organization, and listing them according to the specified format.

Why is a bibliography important

A bibliography is essential to your paper because it gives credit to the authors whose work you have included in your research. 

It also allows readers who want more information on that topic to learn more about it. In this way, they can have deeper access to the sources that you have used to write your paper.

Creating a bibliography for your paper gives proper credit to relevant authors and sources. Stay away from accusations of plagiarism and maintain your academic and professional integrity by being accurate in your writing and citing sources.

And finally, the bibliography in some form is a good guide for you and your reader. Based on the citations you have made, the reader can expand his knowledge. This, for your writing, is a kind of recognition because it is considered reliable and valuable.

Standard styles of bibliography

Above, we mentioned the bibliography citation styles: APA style, MLA style, and Chicago style. 

These mentioned styles are the most used ones, so they are also divided into three main types that are used depending on the academic discipline of a country.

These three types are:

Parenthetical citations – which include the identifying details of the source, such as the author’s last name, a page number (if it is a source from books or encyclopedias), and the date of publication (which in some cases may not be included)

Numerical citations – begin with a sequence number corresponding to a specific source within the reference list in the bibliography.

Note citations – This type of citation is done through footnotes with numbers or any symbol above a particular sentence taken from a source (concrete example to understand we have the notes in Wikipedia).

Bibliography vs. References

References are a detailed list to cite sources that are actually used in your paper.

A primary difference is that references are the list of sources used in your paper and are known as primary sources. At the same time, the bibliography lists all the materials that have been contributed during the research process and is a secondary source.

References are made alphabetically and numerically and include only citations of sources that are actually used in your paper. While in the bibliography, the ranking is done numerically and includes both the materials within the text and those that have contributed to the expansion of the idea.

Reference can also be used as a support for an argument and is used for theses and dissertations. At the same time, the bibliography is not used to support the idea and is used for research papers.


The bibliography found its use in the first three centuries, before the birth of Christ, and was used by Greek writers. The bibliography has evolved over the years, finding meaningful use in human writings. So the bibliography is a list of sources used to create a paper.

A bibliography is essential in our writing because it gives credit to the authors of the sources and helps your readers expand their knowledge on a particular topic.

The bibliography is written using the styles mentioned above, such as APA, MLA, and Chicago, but consult your professor each time for your topic’s preferred style.

Often people can confuse bibliography with references because hearing about bibliography for the first time gives that impression, but in reality, they are different. 

The main difference is that the references list only the sources used, while the bibliography lists the sources that generated your ideas. And also, the bibliography is a secondary source, while the reference is a primary source.

When you create your papers, keep notes and create a bibliography that will help you with your writing and will be suitable for the audience where you are presenting your work because your paper will be listed as reliable and containing accurate and valuable information.