The term bibliography means, literally, “writing about books,” though bibliographies often include a wide range of resource materials -films, recordings, information services, and many others. Bibliography is generally understood to refer to any list of resource materials that includes the title or a description of the work, the author’s name, an indication of the resource type (e.g., journal article, book, manuscript, film), and publication information, in a consistent and recognizable form, and this term is often interchanged with "Reference List."

In some style guides, though, these terms are used to differentiate between different types of lists of source works. Bibliography is often used to indicate that the list is a comprehensive or in-depth survey of works available on a particular subject or research area, with annotations, or, a list of all materials that have been consulted during the course of conducting research for a project or a paper, including those not actually cited in the text.

A Reference List or a List of Works Cited, on the other hand, usually includes only those works actually referenced in a paper or manuscript.

Although it is quite common in academic writing to see a listing of the sources cited for a paper titled "Bibliography," Citation, in order to distinguish between different functions of the program, uses the more strict definition of these terms.

If you generate a Bibliography, using Citation, you will write citations for all the source works in a datafile.

If you generate a Reference List, using Citation, you will write citations for the source works actually cited in a paper.

For more information on bibliographies, reference lists, and publishing styles, see the Writing Resources for Graduate Students page at citationonline.net.


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