Bibliography For Essay Format

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MLA Works Cited Page: Books

Summary:

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is most commonly used to write papers and cite sources within the liberal arts and humanities. This resource, updated to reflect the MLA Handbook (8th ed.), offers examples for the general format of MLA research papers, in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes, and the Works Cited page.

Contributors: Tony Russell, Allen Brizee, Elizabeth Angeli, Russell Keck, Joshua M. Paiz, Michelle Campbell, Rodrigo Rodríguez-Fuentes, Daniel P. Kenzie, Susan Wegener, Maryam Ghafoor, Purdue OWL Staff
Last Edited: 2018-01-09 11:20:41

When you are gathering book sources, be sure to make note of the following bibliographic items: the author name(s), other contributors such as translators or editors, the book’s title, editions of the book, the publication date, the publisher, and the pagination.

The 8th edition of the MLA handbook highlights principles over prescriptive practices. Essentially, a writer will need to take note of primary elements in every source, such as author, title, etc. and then assort them in a general format. Thus, in using this methodology, a writer will be able to source a specific item that may not be included in this list.

Remember these changes from previous editions:

  • Commas are used instead of periods between Publisher, Publication Date, and Pagination.
  • Medium is no longer necessary.
  • Containers are now a part of the MLA process, in light of technology. Periods should be used between Containers.
  • DOIs should be used instead of URLS when available.
  • Use the phrase, “Accessed” instead of listing the date or the abbreviation, “n.d.”

Below is the general format for any citation:

Author. Title. Title of container (self contained if book), Other contributors (translators or editors), Version (edition), Number (vol. and/or no.), Publisher, Publication Date, Location (pages, paragraphs URL or DOI). 2nd container’s title, Other contributors, Version, Number, Publisher, Publication date, Location, Date of Access (if applicable).

Basic Book Format

The author’s name or a book with a single author's name appears in last name, first name format. The basic form for a book citation is:

Last Name, First Name. Title of Book. Publisher, Publication Date.

Book with One Author

Gleick, James. Chaos: Making a New Science. Penguin, 1987.

Henley, Patricia. The Hummingbird House. MacMurray, 1999.

Book with More Than One Author

When a book has multiple authors, order the authors in the same way they are presented in the book. The first given name appears in last name, first name format; subsequent author names appear in first name last name format.

Gillespie, Paula, and Neal Lerner. The Allyn and Bacon Guide to Peer Tutoring. Allyn and Bacon, 2000.

If there are three or more authors, list only the first author followed by the phrase et al. (Latin for "and others") in place of the subsequent authors' names. (Note that there is a period after “al” in “et al.” Also note that there is never a period after the “et” in “et al.”).

Wysocki, Anne Frances, et al. Writing New Media: Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Utah State UP, 2004. 

Two or More Books by the Same Author

List works alphabetically by title. (Remember to ignore articles like A, An, and The.) Provide the author’s name in last name, first name format for the first entry only. For each subsequent entry by the same author, use three hyphens and a period.

Palmer, William J. Dickens and New Historicism. St. Martin's, 1997.

---. The Films of the Eighties: A Social History. Southern Illinois UP, 1993.

Book by a Corporate Author or Organization

A corporate author may include a commission, a committee, a government agency, or a group that does not identify individual members on the title page.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry.

American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. Random House, 1998.

When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985.

Book with No Author

List by title of the book. Incorporate these entries alphabetically just as you would with works that include an author name. For example, the following entry might appear between entries of works written by Dean, Shaun and Forsythe, Jonathan.

Encyclopedia of Indiana. Somerset, 1993.

Remember that for an in-text (parenthetical) citation of a book with no author, provide the name of the work in the signal phrase and the page number in parentheses. You may also use a shortened version of the title of the book accompanied by the page number. For more information see the In-text Citations for Print Sources with No Known Author section of In-text Citations: The Basics.

A Translated Book

If you want to emphasize the work rather than the translator, cite as you would any other book. Add “translated by” and follow with the name(s) of the translator(s).

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

If you want to focus on the translation, list the translator as the author. In place of the author’s name, the translator’s name appears. His or her name is followed by the label, “translator.” If the author of the book does not appear in the title of the book, include the name, with a “By” after the title of the book and before the publisher. Note that this type of citation is less common and should only be used for papers or writing in which translation plays a central role.

Howard, Richard, translator. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. By Michel Foucault, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

Republished Book

Books may be republished due to popularity without becoming a new edition. New editions are typically revisions of the original work. For books that originally appeared at an earlier date and that have been republished at a later one, insert the original publication date before the publication information.

For books that are new editions (i.e. different from the first or other editions of the book), see An Edition of a Book below.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. 1990. Routledge, 1999.

Erdrich, Louise. Love Medicine. 1984. Perennial-Harper, 1993.

An Edition of a Book

There are two types of editions in book publishing: a book that has been published more than once in different editions and a book that is prepared by someone other than the author (typically an editor).

A Subsequent Edition

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the number of the edition after the title.

Crowley, Sharon, and Debra Hawhee. Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students. 3rd ed., Pearson, 2004.

A Work Prepared by an Editor

Cite the book as you normally would, but add the editor after the title with the label, "Edited by"

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Edited by Margaret Smith, Oxford UP, 1998.

Anthology or Collection (e.g. Collection of Essays)

To cite the entire anthology or collection, list by editor(s) followed by a comma and "editor" or, for multiple editors, "editors." This sort of entry is somewhat rare. If you are citing a particular piece within an anthology or collection (more common), see A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection below.

Hill, Charles A., and Marguerite Helmers, editors. Defining Visual Rhetorics. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

Peterson, Nancy J., editor. Toni Morrison: Critical and Theoretical Approaches. Johns Hopkins UP, 1997.

A Work in an Anthology, Reference, or Collection

Works may include an essay in an edited collection or anthology, or a chapter of a book. The basic form is for this sort of citation is as follows:

Last name, First name. "Title of Essay." Title of Collection, edited by Editor's Name(s), Publisher, Year, Page range of entry.

Some examples:

Harris, Muriel. "Talk to Me: Engaging Reluctant Writers." A Tutor's Guide: Helping Writers One to One, edited by Ben Rafoth, Heinemann, 2000, pp. 24-34.

Swanson, Gunnar. "Graphic Design Education as a Liberal Art: Design and Knowledge in the University and The 'Real World.'" The Education of a Graphic Designer, edited by Steven Heller, Allworth Press, 1998, pp. 13-24.

Note on Cross-referencing Several Items from One Anthology: If you cite more than one essay from the same edited collection, MLA indicates you may cross-reference within your works cited list in order to avoid writing out the publishing information for each separate essay. You should consider this option if you have several references from a single text. To do so, include a separate entry for the entire collection listed by the editor's name as below:

Rose, Shirley K., and Irwin Weiser, editors. The Writing Program Administrator as Researcher. Heinemann, 1999.

Then, for each individual essay from the collection, list the author's name in last name, first name format, the title of the essay, the editor's last name, and the page range:

L'Eplattenier, Barbara. "Finding Ourselves in the Past: An Argument for Historical Work on WPAs." Rose and Weiser, pp. 131-40.

Peeples, Tim. "'Seeing' the WPA With/Through Postmodern Mapping." Rose and Weiser, pp. 153-67.

Please note: When cross-referencing items in the works cited list, alphabetical order should be maintained for the entire list. 

Poem or Short Story Examples:

Burns, Robert. "Red, Red Rose." 100 Best-Loved Poems, edited by Philip Smith, Dover, 1995, p. 26.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories, edited by Tobias Wolff, Vintage, 1994, pp. 306-07.

If the specific literary work is part of the author's own collection (all of the works have the same author), then there will be no editor to reference:

Whitman, Walt. "I Sing the Body Electric." Selected Poems. Dover, 1991, pp. 12-19. 

Carter, Angela. "The Tiger's Bride." Burning Your Boats: The Collected Stories. Penguin, 1995, pp. 154-69.

Article in a Reference Book (e.g. Encyclopedias, Dictionaries)

For entries in encyclopedias, dictionaries, and other reference works, cite the piece as you would any other work in a collection but do not include the publisher information. Also, if the reference book is organized alphabetically, as most are, do not list the volume or the page number of the article or item.

"Ideology." The American Heritage Dictionary. 3rd ed., 1997.

A Multivolume Work

When citing only one volume of a multivolume work, include the volume number after the work's title, or after the work's editor or translator.

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, vol. 2, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 

When citing more than one volume of a multivolume work, cite the total number of volumes in the work. Also, be sure in your in-text citation to provide both the volume number and page number(s). (See Citing Multivolume Works on the In-Text Citations – The Basics page, which you can access by following the appropriate link at the bottom of this page.)

Quintilian. Institutio Oratoria. Translated by H. E. Butler, Loeb-Harvard UP, 1980. 4 vols. 

If the volume you are using has its own title, cite the book without referring to the other volumes as if it were an independent publication.

Churchill, Winston S. The Age of Revolution. Dodd, 1957.

An Introduction, Preface, Foreword, or Afterword

When citing an introduction, a preface, a foreword, or an afterword, write the name of the author(s) of the piece you are citing. Then give the name of the part being cited, which should not be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks; in italics, provide the name of the work and the name of the author of the introduction/preface/foreword/afterword. Finish the citation with the details of publication and page range.

Farrell, Thomas B. Introduction. Norms of Rhetorical Culture, by Farrell, Yale UP, 1993, pp. 1-13.

If the writer of the piece is different from the author of the complete work, then write the full name of the principal work's author after the word "By." For example, if you were to cite Hugh Dalziel Duncan’s introduction of Kenneth Burke’s book Permanence and Change, you would write the entry as follows:

Duncan, Hugh Dalziel. Introduction. Permanence and Change: An Anatomy of Purpose, by Kenneth Burke, 1935, 3rd ed., U of California P, 1984, pp. xiii-xliv.

Other Print/Book Sources

Certain book sources are handled in a special way by MLA style.

Book Published Before 1900

Original copies of books published before 1900 are usually defined by their place of publication rather than the publisher. Unless you are using a newer edition, cite the city of publication where you would normally cite the publisher. 

Thoreau, Henry David. Excursions. Boston, 1863.

The Bible

Italicize “The Bible” and follow it with the version you are using. Remember that your in-text (parenthetical citation) should include the name of the specific edition of the Bible, followed by an abbreviation of the book, the chapter and verse(s). (See Citing the Bible at In-Text Citations: The Basics.)

The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.

 

The Bible. The New Oxford Annotated Version, 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2001.

 

The New Jerusalem Bible. Edited by Susan Jones, Doubleday, 1985. 

A Government Publication

Cite the author of the publication if the author is identified. Otherwise, start with the name of the national government, followed by the agency (including any subdivisions or agencies) that serves as the organizational author. For congressional documents, be sure to include the number of the Congress and the session when the hearing was held or resolution passed as well as the report number. US government documents are typically published by the Government Printing Office.

United States, Congress, Senate, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Hearing on the Geopolitics of Oil. Government Printing Office, 2007. 110th Congress, 1st session, Senate Report 111-8.

 

United States, Government Accountability Office. Climate Change: EPA and DOE Should Do More to Encourage Progress Under Two Voluntary Programs. Government Printing Office, 2006.

A Pamphlet

Cite the title and publication information for the pamphlet just as you would a book without an author. Pamphlets and promotional materials commonly feature corporate authors (commissions, committees, or other groups that does not provide individual group member names). If the pamphlet you are citing has no author, cite as directed below. If your pamphlet has an author or a corporate author, put the name of the author (last name, first name format) or corporate author in the place where the author name typically appears at the beginning of the entry. (See also Books by a Corporate Author or Organization above.)

Women's Health: Problems of the Digestive System. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2006.

Your Rights Under California Welfare Programs. California Department of Social Services, 2007.

Dissertations and Master's Theses

Dissertations and master's theses may be used as sources whether published or not. Cite the work as you would a book, but include the designation Dissertation (or MA/MS thesis) followed by the degree-granting school and the year the degree was awarded.

If the dissertation is published, italicize the title and include the publication date. You may also include the University Microfilms International (UMI) order number if you choose:

Bishop, Karen Lynn. Documenting Institutional Identity: Strategic Writing in the IUPUI Comprehensive Campaign. Dissertation, Purdue University, 2002. UMI, 2004.

Bile, Jeffrey. Ecology, Feminism, and a Revised Critical Rhetoric: Toward a Dialectical Partnership. Dissertation, Ohio University, 2005. UMI, 2006. AAT 3191701.

If the work is not published, put the title in quotation marks and end with the date the degree was awarded:

Graban, Tarez Samra. "Towards a Feminine Ironic: Understanding Irony in the Oppositional Discourse of Women from the Early Modern and Modern Periods." Dissertation, Purdue University, 2006.

Stolley, Karl. "Toward a Conception of Religion as a Discursive Formation: Implications for Postmodern Composition Theory." MA thesis, Purdue University, 2002.

List the names of corporate authors in the place where an author’s name typically appears at the beginning of the entry if the author and publisher are not the same.

    American Allergy Association. Allergies in Children. Random House, 1998.

When the author and publisher are the same, skip the author, and list the title first. Then, list the corporate author only as the publisher.

Fair Housing—Fair Lending. Aspen Law & Business, 1985. 

Once upon a time there was a hard-working student who paid close attention to lectures, studied hard, and learned how to cite properly in both MLA and APA format.

The sun shone brightly.

Then one day a dark cloud overshadowed the world. A professor asked the student to write an annotated bibliography. The student grew pale.

She thought she had mastered all things related to citation. She didn’t want to learn how to write anything so terrible sounding as an annotated bibliography.

She closed her eyes tightly and wished her fairy godmother would magically write the annotated bibliography for her.

POOF! Her fairy godmother appeared!

“I will grant your wish….well, sorta,” said the fairy godmother.  “I will not write the annotated bibliography for you, but I will teach you how to write one, thus enabling you to use the skill in your future courses.”

She wrote this blog post to teach all students how to write an annotated bibliography that works.

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is simply a bibliography with annotations. Okay, that doesn’t help much, does it?

Really, though, that’s all it is. You know how to write a Works Cited or Reference page, right? If you’ve mastered this, the next step is to simply add the annotations.

Annotations include a summary of the work, a critique of the author or credibility of the source, and a discussion of whether or not the source will be useful to your research.

Why Write an Annotated Bibliography?

I’m sure you’re saying, “Give me one good reason why I should write an annotated bibliography.” I’ll do better than that. I’ll give you three!

1. It’s a course assignment. If you want to do well in the course, you need to do it. Enough said.

2. An annotated bibliography helps you become a better researcher.

In order to write an annotated bibliography, you need to be able to summarize the source. This means you’ll need to take the time to read it carefully. You can’t just find a source and add it to the list without reading it.

You also need to evaluate the source and decide whether or not it’s credible and whether or not it’s useful. Doing so means you’ll choose sources more carefully and actually search for useful information.

No more picking the first few websites that show up on a Google search and trying to make them fit.

3. An annotated bibliography saves you time.

If you’re writing a research paper with three sources, it’s pretty easy to remember what you read in each source. If, on the other hand, you’re writing a longer research paper and using 10 or more sources, it’s not that easy.

Imagine you’re on page 5 of your research essay, and you remember reading the perfect quote about binge drinking in…um…well, you read it in one of your sources, somewhere.

Unless you have some magic fairy dust to help remember everything you’ve read, you’ll likely spend 25 minutes looking for that perfect quote.

Trust me, writing an annotated bibliography may seem like a major pain now, but once you see how much time it will save you, and once you see a good grade on your paper, you’ll be happy you wrote it.

Before You Begin Writing

wellnessblog.com

Do your research!

You can’t exactly write an annotated bibliography without sources, so start researching!

If you’re not sure where to find sources read 5 Best Resources to Help with Writing a Research Paper.

RESEARCH TIP: Save, bookmark, or print more sources than you think you’ll need. Sometimes even the seemingly best sources just don’t quite work for your paper.

Read and take notes.

You don’t have to spend hours taking notes on every little detail, but you should mark the following, as you’ll need them to write your annotations:

  • The main ideas of the source
  • Questions or comments about the argument’s or author’s credibility
  • Key points or quotes that you might include in your paper
  • Whether or not the source will be useful in your research paper

Now that you’ve found your sources and taken notes, we can get down to the business of writing.

Remember, there will be no waiving of fairy godmother wands to magically produce a completed annotated bibliography. You will need to write your own.

So let’s get started.

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography that Works

Not all annotated bibliographies are written in the same way. Some include primarily summary and informative annotations. Others include a critique of sources. Most annotated bibliographies contain some combination of elements and can vary in word count.

Don’t assume you know which type you should be writing. Ask your professor about the exact requirements for your assignment.

Follow these 3 steps to learn about the basics of how to write an annotated bibliography.

Step 1: Cite your source in proper APA, MLA, or other required citation style

Each of your entries will begin with a full bibliographic entry.

This entry looks just like the entry you’d include on a regular Works Cited or Reference page. Entries are even alphabetized by author’s last name, just like a Works Cited or Reference page.

Here’s an example I created to show you what the citation will look like.

APA format

Robertson, A. (2012). Why fairy tales are important. Psychology Today. (13)2, 210-222.

MLA format – 7th edition

Roberston, Ann. “Why Fairy Tales are Important.” Psychology Today. 13.2 (2012): 210-222.  Print.

MLA format – 8th edition

Roberston, Ann. “Why Fairy Tales Are Important.” Psychology Today, vol. 13, no. 2, 2012, pp. 210-222.

Need some help with APA or MLA?  Read How to Write APA Citations in 4 Easy Steps and How to Write MLA Citations Without Going Crazy.

Step 2: Summarize the source

A summary explains the main ideas of the source.

Someone else should be able to read your summary and know exactly what the source is about.

This isn’t the time to tell readers whether or not you like the source. Be objective. Just state what the source is about. No more, no less.

Here’s an example of what a summary of an article might look like.

Robertson’s article argues that fairy tales are important because they teach children moral tales of right and wrong and provide children an outlet for their emotions. Fairy tales also allow children to develop their imagination and critical thinking as they journey with characters to magical lands.

Step 3: Evaluate the source

Here’s your chance to write a brief paragraph or two to tell readers what you think of the source and how it fits into your own research. I’ve color coded the questions you should ask, so that you can clearly see what’s going on in my example below.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is the author credible?
  • What did I like or not like about the source?
  • Are the arguments effective?
  • Does the author support her arguments?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses?
  • How might I incorporate this source into my paper?

Answering these types of questions will help you formulate an effective critique and evaluation of each source.

Here’s an example of what your evaluation might look like.

Dr. Robertson is a well-known children’s psychologist who also has elementary education experience. Her articles are published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, and her work is considered credible.

The article will be an excellent source for my paper because it includes recent studies about children’s appreciation for fairy talesandfeatures a detailed discussion of why fairy tales are beneficial to children. Robertson even includes interviews with children that I may be able to use in my introduction.

That wasn’t as bad as you thought, was it? Just three quick steps and you have an annotated bibliography!

If you need a quick way to remember the steps in writing an annotated bibliography, just remember CSE: Cite, Summarize, Evaluate.

Putting It All Together

Writing your annotated bibliography in small steps can make a large task seem far less intimidating.

Now that you know how to write each part of an annotated bibliography, the final step is to put it all together and make sure it’s in proper format.

Follow these links to see a completed annotated bibliography.

Here’s a sample APA annotated bibliography and a sample MLA annotated bibliography.

They Lived Happily Ever After

At the end of the day, the student learned how to write an annotated bibliography.

She knew she needed to write an appropriate MLA or APA citation followed by a summary and evaluation of the source.

The student worked diligently to write an annotated bibliography then had a Kibin editor review her work.

Both the fairy godmother and the student were delighted when the student received her final grade.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Useful Resources to Help Write an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an Annotated Bibliography: This source includes a list of verbs to help you write about and summarize sources.

Annotated Bibliography: Tips for Writing: This source includes an overview of how to write an annotated bibliography and a template to help you write annotations.

Finally, this short video provides a basic overview of an annotated bibliography.

Good luck!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

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