Bibliography Vs Works Cited Differences

For the detailed information on citing sources using MLA style with many more examples, please use the official MLA Handbook:


All information relating to MLA style as presented on this Web site has been based on this authoritative publication from the Modern Language Association of America.

Gibaldi, Joseph. MLA Handbook. 6th ed. New York: MLA, 2003.

Works Cited is sometimes referred to as References. These terms mean the same thing. Each is an alphabetical list of works cited, or works to which you have made reference. Works Cited is generally used when citing sources using MLA (Modern Language Association) style, while the title References is used when citing sources using APA (American Psychological Association) style.

MLA Works Cited and Bibliography are not the same. In Works Cited you only list items you have actually cited. In a Bibliography you list all of the material you have consulted in preparing your essay whether or not you have actually cited the work.

Entries in Works Cited, References, or Bibliography are put in alphabetical order by last names of authors, editors, translators, etc. or by first words of titles.

Special info about MLA bibliography example.

If the first word of the title is “The“, “A“, or “An“, and the word is being used as an article, e.g., in the title: The Little Book of Irish Clans, the entry is placed under “Little” and the article “The” is ignored. In the title: A Is for Apple, however, the entry is placed under A since A is used as a noun and not as an article in this case.

Sometimes the article “The” is used as part of the name of a company or magazine or journal for emphasis, e.g., The Champ, or The Sports Network. For Internet sites, use the URL as a guide. If “theyellowpages” is used in the URL, treat “The” as part of the title, and list “The Yellow Pages” alphabetically under “The“. If “edge” and not “theedge” is used in the URL, list the magazine title “The Edge” under “Edge” and treat “The” as an article and ignore it.

Where appropriate, a cross reference may be used to direct readers to the proper location, e.g. Yellow Pages, The See The Yellow Pages.


1. DO NOT number entries.

2. DO NOT list citations separately by categories. All references are placed in ONE ALPHABETICAL LIST by first words of citations, regardless of where citations come from.

3. Begin on a new page. Start on the 6th line from the top (or 1″ down from the top of the paper), center, and type one of the following titles: Works Cited, References, or Bibliography. Double space after the title. List all entries in alphabetical order by the first word, taking into consideration the rules governing titles that begin with articles.

4. Begin the first line of each entry flush at the left margin. Keep typing until you run out of room at the end of the line. Indent 5 spaces for second and subsequent lines of the same entry. Double-space all lines, both within and between entries. Remember that this is only a guideline adapted from the MLA Handbook. You are advised to follow the style preferred by your instructor.

Work Cited Vs Works Cited

There is a mistake that students often tend to make. They name their reference page the Work Cited page, which is incorrect. The proper name for it should be Works Cited, as the works by multiple authors, not one, are cited. The Works Cited page is often used in the Humanities, the MLA Style and the APA Style.

Bibliography vs Works Cited

Difference between bibliography and works cited must be clearly understood if you are to produce a good research paper. Because, bibliography and works cited are sometimes confused as words that denote the same meaning when that is not so. In other words, bibliography and work cited are two terms used in research methodology which are to be understood with a difference. Usually, a research paper needs to have one list that contains the sources you have used. However, sometimes you may have to use a page for the works you have actually cited and also a list of all the sources you have cited, including even the ones you have not cited but have just read. It all depends on the guidelines you are given. However, you should first know the difference between bibliography and works cited.

What is a Bibliography?

Bibliography is the list of books referred by the writer of the thesis or dissertation or the researcher in writing the thesis. He might have referred to various books and journals to improve his knowledge about the topic of research. He might have even quoted from the books he referred in his thesis. Hence, bibliography is the listing of all the sources that he referred. These sources include journals, books, online websites, and the like. These sources included in the bibliography are a combination of the ones he actually cited or paraphrased in the text or just consulted without citing or paraphrasing in the text. The style in which you include the source depends on the style you are following throughout your research paper. For example, if your research paper is in MLA format then the bibliography should also follow the same format. Bibliography should also be organized alphabetically. The following is an example for bibliography following APA style.

This is an example for MLA style.

What is Works Cited?

On the other hand, works cited is an alphabetical list of the works cited in the thesis. It is interesting to note that works cited is a term used only in the case of the MLA or the Modern Language Association style of research paper writing. It is applicable in the case of research papers or dissertations that were written in the MLA style. If you take APA format (American Psychological Associate format), you will find the equivalent to work cited in that is known as ‘References’ or ‘Reference List.’ Here is the format you have to follow when you are arranging the works cited.

Surname of the author, first name. Name of the book (underlined). Place of publication: Name of the publisher, year of publication.

What is the difference between Bibliography and Works Cited?

It is important to know that you should put the books in alphabetical order while writing both the bibliography and works cited. It is very important to follow this rule. It is often considered a standard rule by the experts of research study. Both of them can be included towards the end of the thesis.

• One of the major differences between bibliography and works cited is that, in bibliography, you mention all the books and journals that you have referred while writing the thesis. On the other hand, in the case of works cited you mention ONLY the books and other sources of information that you cited in your dissertation or thesis.

• Works cited is the name used for the reference list that comes for MLA style. The format in which the resources are cited in works cited is as follows:

Surname of the author, first name. Name of the book (underlined). Place of publication: Name of the publisher, year of publication.

• The bibliography also has a format. However, that format depends on the format you are following when you are writing the research paper. If you are following MLA style, bibliography is also according to the MLA format.

These are the differences between bibliography and works cited. Bibliography and works cited are very important parts in a thesis or a research paper. You should include one or the other according to the instructions you get. However, make sure that you include one. Examiners look at your bibliography or work cited. Not having one of them can harm your grade. Be very careful in compiling that list.

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