What is Bibliography – Meaning and 3 popular forms

What is Bibliography – Meaning and 3 popular forms

A bibliography is a list of sources you utilize to compile your assignment, even if you don’t specifically mention them inside your project, you should still include anything you actively referenced in your work and anything you read as part of the research and learning phase.

A bibliography should not be confused with works cited, it often includes a list of books, papers, journals, cultural artefacts, and other research resources utilized to create an academic work, it is a list of the sources that were used to create a research paper both those that were cited in-text and those that weren’t.

The term bibliography also refers to the study of books and other cultural artefacts used for academic purposes, it is also referred to as a field that calls for the systematic description of books in an organized manner, bibliographies are often used in sentence projects and for answering research questions.

Note that when citing a bibliography, the writer needs to list all the references that were used for the research work. The major purpose of a bibliography is to give acknowledgement to authors whose work you’ve used as a source and also it makes it easier for a reader to go deeper into your research work to learn more about what he or she is reading.

Additionally, you should create a bibliography whenever you research a subject for which you may need to conduct an additional study in the future and also when there are numerous sources or a sizable body of work to draw from when creating a biography of a well-known or historical person.

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Bibliographies are categorized based on the format or method used to list the sources, there are three popular forms of bibliography which include:

  • Analytical bibliography
  • Enumerative bibliography
  • Annotated bibliography


  • Analytical bibliography

They are employed by an author of analytical bibliographies to evaluate books. In an analytical bibliography, the author may mention printers and booksellers, details on the paper and binding, or discussions of problems that arose as the book was being converted from a draft to a published work.

Descriptive, historical, and textual bibliographies are the three categories of analytical bibliographies In the descriptive bibliography the physical characteristics of the book are carefully examined in a detailed form and the historical context of the book’s production is discussed in a bibliography.

While the textual bibliography contrasts the author’s original manuscript with the work that has been published, it can also be explained as the study of the physical properties of books and the book-making process with a focus on how production and materials affect the text.

In particular, it is a list of works emphasizing the material nature of the work, including format, pagination, typographical details, illustrations, and other characteristics like the type of paper and binding, and indicating in precise detail the author’s name, the precise title of the work, and publication information.

  • Enumerative bibliography

In an enumerative bibliography which can also be called systematic bibliography, the sources are listed in a certain order, this kind of bibliography is the one that research paper writers utilize most frequently, in enumerative bibliographies they are organized by author, subject, date, or another criterion by these academic writers.

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They also feature objects that are related by topic, language, or historical era and the author of the bibliography provides enough details about the source for readers to be directed to it, in an enumerative bibliography the author would not add descriptive material, such as specifics about the physical characteristics of the book.

Examples of enumerative bibliographies include a card catalogue which is a list of sources used in a research paper, or the works cited section at the end of a history book.

The creation of lists of books is also known as systematic or enumerative bibliographies which can be summed up as the collection of bibliographies that list, characterize, and arrange all graphic materials according to their affinity with one another for reference or study and depending on the qualities utilized.

The field of systematic bibliography can be divided in a variety of ways, each book assessment with the goal of “assembling the resulting entries, simple or complicated as the case may need into logical and useful groupings for reference and study.

  • Annotated bibliography

In this kind of bibliography, the sources are listed alphabetically by the author, here the author of an annotated bibliography describes the kind of research that was conducted on a particular subject,

An annotated bibliography offers a summary or a succinct description of the study that has been done on a particular subject. It is a list of references to research materials that consists of a citation for each reference followed by an annotation which is a brief analysis and summary of the reference. A stand-alone assignment or a part of a bigger assignment can both include an annotated bibliography.

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When set as an assignment, an annotated bibliography allows you to get acquainted with the material available on a particular topic and depending on your specific assignment, an annotated bibliography might help you;

  • Examine the literature on a certain topic.
  • Provide evidence of the quality and depth of reading that you have done
  • Demonstrate the variety of available sources, including books, websites, journals, and magazine articles.
  • Emphasize sources that other readers and researchers could find useful.
  • Explore and organize sources for further research.

There are a few easy principles to follow for success regardless of the style required for your bibliography, these are a few steps on how to write a bibliography;

  • As you proceed, gather adequate citation information.
  • If using the MHRA style, the author’s first name should be used. The final name of the author must be used to alphabetically order all citations.
  • Use the book or article title to alphabetize if you are unable to find the author’s name.
  • If a book or article has numerous authors, list them in alphabetical order starting with the first.
  • Consistency is vital and so the order of all the information must be identical.
  • Each source needs to start on a fresh line.
  • Your assignment’s bibliography should be included at the end.

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