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13.5: Formatting of Reference Pages, Bibliographies, and Annotated Bibliographies

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    Whenever you include quotes and paraphrases in your research essays, you must note the bibliographic information about where you found this evidence. In APA style, this is called a “Reference” page. A Reference page is a list of citations which is alphabetized based on author’s last names (or, if a piece of evidence doesn’t have an author, on the title of the evidence, not counting the words “A,” “An,” or “The”) that explains where you found your research.

    Reference pages include only the evidence that you quoted in your essay. A “bibliography” is a list of all of the works that you consulted but that you didn’t necessarily quote. Unlike an annotated bibliography (like the project I describe in Chapter Six), a reference pages include only a citation and not an annotation.

    APA style calls for reference pages to be double-spaced with a hanging indent of a half inch, as you can see in the examples here. The specific format for each of your entries on your reference page will vary according to the type of evidence. But in general, each of your entries should include enough information about the research you are quoting or paraphrasing so that the reader could find this research themselves if they wanted to find it.


    Reference page entries for a book always include:

    • The Author or authors. List all of the authors last name first and only the initials of the first and middle names. Separate multiple authors with a comma and separate the last author from the list with an ampersand.
    • Publication date. Enclose the date in parentheses.
    • Title of the book. You should underline the title or put it in italics. Capitalize only the first letter of the first word of the title and the first letter of the first word after a colon, unless the word is a proper noun.
    • Publication information. This includes the name of the publisher and the city of publication.

    Book, single author

    Example \(\PageIndex{1}\):

    Brackett, V. (2002). F. Scott Fitzgerald : writer of the jazz age. Greensboro, N.C. : Morgan Reynolds Publishers.

    Book, two or more authors

    With multiple authors, list all of the authors last name first followed by the writer’s first initial. List the authors as they appear on the book, and end the list with an ampersand.

    Example \(\PageIndex{2}\):

    Jennings, S., Kaiser, M. & Reynolds, J. (2001). Marine fisheries ecology. Oxford: Blackwell Science.

    Book, corporate or group author

    Example \(\PageIndex{3}\):

    National Research Council. (2001). Inland navigation system planning: The upper Mississippi river—Illinois waterway. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press.

    Selection from an anthology or a chapter from a book that is edited

    Example \(\PageIndex{4}\):

    Lehan, R. (2000). The Great Gatsby--The text as construct: narrative knots and narrative unfolding. in Bryer, J., Margolies, A., & Prigozy, R. (Eds). F. Scott Fitzgerald : New perspectives. Athens, GA: U Georgia P, pp. 78-89.

    In APA style, repeat this style of citation if you cite multiple chapters from the same book or anthology. Note also that in APA style, titles of chapters or entries are not in quotes and the page numbers of a chapter are indicated with the abbreviation “pp.”

    Book, translation

    Example \(\PageIndex{5}\):

    Derrida, J. (1978). Writing and difference. (A. Bass, Trans.). Chicago: U of Chicago P.

    Book, edition other than the first

    Example \(\PageIndex{6}\):

    Baase, S. (2003). Gift of fire : Social, legal, and ethical issues for computers and the Internet. (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ : Prentice Hall.

    Entry from a reference work

    If there is a specific author for the entry, list it. Otherwise, begin with the title of the entry.

    Example \(\PageIndex{7}\):

    Gale, R. (1998). Nick Carraway. An F. Scott Fitzgerald Encyclopedia. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

    Crime. (1987). The random house dictionary of the English language. (2nd ed.). New York: Random House.


    Reference page entries for magazines, journals, newspapers, and other periodicals include:

    • The Author or authors. Last name first and the first initial of each author.
    • Date of publication. Following the author in parentheses, as was the case with books.
    • Article Title. Followed by a period, though not in quotes.
    • Publication information. This includes the periodical title, underlined or italicized, the volume and issue number in parentheses (when they are available), and page numbers. In newspapers, precede page numbers with “p.” if it is a single page or “pp” if it is more than one.

    Article in a weekly magazine

    Example \(\PageIndex{8}\):

    Wood, C. (2000, June 12). Fighting net crime. Macleans, pp. 38-40.

    Article in a monthly magazine

    Example \(\PageIndex{9}\):

    Canby, P. (2002, July). The forest primeval: A month in Congo’s wildest jungle. Harper’s Magazine, pp. 41-56.

    Article in a newspaper

    Example \(\PageIndex{10}\):

    Markoff, J. (1999, October 1). New center will combat computer security hreats. The New York Times, p. C2.

    Editorial or Letter to the Editor

    After the title, indicate if the selection is an editorial or a letter as indicated in the examples below.

    Example \(\PageIndex{11}\):

    McLoughlin, M. (2002, August 5). Rethinking hormone therapy. [Letter to Editor]. Newsweek, p. 12.

    Hauptman, Timmer, Carlberg for council. (2002, October 22) [Editorial]. The Ann Arbor News, p. A8.

    Article in a journal paginated by volume

    Some academic journals number the pages according to the volume instead of the issue. Note the volume number in italics or underlined after the title.

    Example \(\PageIndex{12}\):

    Vann, I., & Garson, G. (2001). Crime mapping and its extension to social science analysis. Social Science Computer Review, 19, pp. 471-479.

    Article in a journal paginated by issue

    Some academic journals number the pages of each issue. When this is the case, note the volume number (underlined or in italics) and the issue number in parentheses though not underlined or in italics.

    Example \(\PageIndex{13}\):

    Mansfield, P. (2002). The cancer industry. The Ecologist,32 (3), p. 23.

    Unsigned article in a periodical

    When no author’s name is available in any type of periodic publication, begin with the name of the article. When alphabetizing it on your references page, exclude “A,” “An,” and “The.” For example, an unsigned article in a magazine would look like this:

    Example \(\PageIndex{14}\):

    An overdose on drug advertising. Is it driving up costs? (2000, May 22). Business Week, p. 52.

    Electronic and Internet-based Sources

    Properly citing things from electronic and Internet-based sources like the World Wide Web, email, newsgroups, CD-ROMs, and so forth can be confusing. Because these resources are still relatively “new” to the academic community (at least relative to things like books and paper journals), there is still some debate about the precise method of citing some of these sources. What I offer here are my interpretations of the APA rules for citing electronic and internet-based sources; when in doubt about these guidelines, I would encourage you to ask your teacher and to consult the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association or the APA web site.

    Even though electronic and internet-based sources may look different from traditional journals and books, the basic elements and goals of citation remain the same. Entries should include:

    • Author or Authors, which again, should be last name first followed by first initial for each author. Unlike traditional books and periodicals, the names of authors of electronic resources (especially Web sites) are often located at the end of the article or another location.
    • Date of publication. Following the author in parentheses, as was the case with books and periodicals.
    • Title of the article or selection. For an online journal or periodical, a selection from a database, a scholarly project, or similar resource, indicate the title of the article or selection. Capitalize only the first word in the title and subtitle and any proper nouns.
    • Publishing information. This might be the title of the online journal or periodical, or the name of the database, scholarly project, or similar resource. This information should appear underlined or in italics.

    There are two other elements that are generally common to electronic and internet-based sources:

    • The date of access. Quite literally, this means the date that you found the research. This is important because, as most “Web surfers” have experienced, electronic resources can change and be unavailable without warning.
    • The “address” of whatever it is you are citing. Indicate the URL of a web site, a message from a newsgroup, a reference to an email, and so forth.

    A periodical available via an electronic database

    As I discussed in chapter two, most community college, college, and university libraries nowadays offer their patrons access to electronic versions of some traditional print resources. These databases, such as Wilson Select and Articles First, include “full text” of articles that appeared originally as an article in the print publication as part of the entries.

    Now, on the one hand, these sorts of electronically available resources are just as credible as print resources because they are essentially one in the same. The electronic version of an article from Time magazine is just as credible as the same article from the “paper version” of Time magazine. On the other hand, you need to indicate to your readers that you are citing the electronic version because this version isn’t exactly the same as the print version. Since the “full text” available electronically is just text, periodicals available electronically don’t include page numbers and they don’t include any illustrations or graphics.

    To properly cite an article from a periodical available via an electronic database, first note all of the relevant information you would in a print version of the article. Following this, write “Retrieved” followed by the date you found the article, and then “from” followed by the name of the database.

    Example \(\PageIndex{15}\):

    Wechsler, J. (2002). Minority docs see DTC ads as way to address ‘race gap.’ Pharmaceutical Executive, 27 (5), pp. 32, 34. Retrieved October 20, 2002 from WilsonSelect Database.

    Article in a Periodical Published on the World Wide Web

    To cite an article from a periodical that is published on the World Wide Web, adapt as closely as possible the rules for citing articles that appear in print. Following this, write “Retrieved” followed by the date you found the article, and then “from” followed by the address of the Web site.

    Example \(\PageIndex{16}\):

    Sauer, G. (1996, February). Hackers, order, and control. Bad Subjects. Retrieved August 15, 2002, from

    Goozner, M., & Sullivan, A. (2001, January 13). The pharmaceutical industry. Slate. Retrieved January 13, 2002, from

    Article in a Web Version of a Print Periodical or Other Media Outlet

    Many newspapers and popular magazines release a “web version” of the publication. Cite these sorts of documents as you would articles from a periodical published on the Web.

    Example \(\PageIndex{17}\):

    Pear, R. (1999, March 28). Drug companies getting F.D.A. reprimands for false or misleading advertising. New York Times. Retrieved August 15, 2002, from

    World cybercrime experts see need for laws, ties. (2002, October 16) Retrieved October 24, 2002, from

    Book Being Accessed Electronically Through a Database or The Web

    As is the case with periodicals, include the same information you would with a traditional print book, along with the date of access and the information about the database of the Web site.

    Example \(\PageIndex{18}\):

    Icove, D., Seger, K. & VonStorch, W. (1995). Computer crime: A crimefighter’s handbook. Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly and Associates, 1995. Retrieved October 27, 2002 from Net Library E-Book.

    Scholarly or Reference Web-based Database

    Example \(\PageIndex{19}\):

    F. Scott Fitzgerald centenary homepage. (2002, January 7). University of South Carolina. Retrieved July, 16 2002, from

    General Web Page or Web Site

    Include the author or authors of the Web page or site, the title, and the date of publication.

    Example \(\PageIndex{20}\):

    Stanger, K. (2002, September 7). “Library guy” Keith Stanger’s home port. Retrieved October 24, 2002, from

    When you are missing information about the web site, cite based on the information that you have available.

    Posting to a emailing list, online group, or newsgroup

    Begin with the author’s name (even if the name is obviously a pseudonym), followed by the date, and the title or subject of the post. Include the phrase “Message posted to” and then the name of the mailing list, online group, or newsgroup, followed by the phrase “archived at” and the location of the group’s archives, if available.

    Example \(\PageIndex{21}\):

    Denkinger, T. (2000, February 1). Re: [SLE] very newbie network quest. English SuSE Linux Discussion, archived at

    Email message

    The APA Publications Manual discourages the inclusion of any “personal communication” like email messages, letters, memos, or personal interviews in a Reference page because personal communications “do not provide recoverable data.”

    The APA Publications Manual goes on to say that you should “Use your judgment” about including personal communications like email in a Reference page. Here is an example of how you might do this:

    Example \(\PageIndex{22}\):

    Poe, M. (2002, June 5). Re: reflections/questions about your JEP article. Personal Communication, electronic mail.

    Synchronous communication message

    For MOOs, MUDs, Chat room, IRCs, etc. Be sure to include information about a message archive, if available.

    Example \(\PageIndex{23}\):

    Spehar, D. (2001, April 16). Researching who done it: building online research skills for composition II students. C&W Online 2001/Connections MOO, archived at

    CD-ROM, diskette, or similar medium

    Cite this kind of source like you were citing the print version of the resource, but indicate in brackets the nature of the source.

    Example \(\PageIndex{24}\):

    Johns Hopkins University and the Annenberg/CPB Project. (1997). [CD-ROM]. A doll house: Based on the play by Henrik Ibesn. South Burlington, VT: The Annenberg/CPB Multimedia Collection.

    Other Kinds of Sources


    List the person interviewed as if they were the author. If the interview came from another source (radio or television, for example), indicate that with the citation information.

    Example \(\PageIndex{25}\):

    Jeffrey, P. (2002 March). “A conversation with Paul L. Jeffrey: Runaway prescription drug costs.” [Interview with journal]. Policy and Practice of Public Human Services 60(1), 10-13.

    In APA, the rules for interviews that you conduct (personal interview, telephone interview, email interview, etc.) are different. The APA Publications Manual discourages the inclusion of any “personal communication” including personal interviews in a Reference page because personal communications “do not provide recoverable data.”

    The APA Publications Manual goes on to say that you should “Use your judgment” about including personal communications in your References page. Here is an example of how you might do this:

    Example \(\PageIndex{26}\):

    Wannamaker, A. (2000, August 13). Personal communication.

    Lecture or Speech

    Example \(\PageIndex{27}\):

    Mauk, J. (1996, March 29). Anti-reading: Evaluating student essays in current-traditional pedagogy. Conference on College Composition and Communication Convention. Milwaukee, WI.

    Government Document

    If identified, begin with the last name of the author; if not, begin with the name of the government followed by the appropriate agency or subdivision. Only abbreviate things if they can be easily understood. For congressional documents, be sure to note the number, session, and house of Congress (“S” for Senate and “H” or “HR” for House of Representatives), and the type (Report, Resolution, Document, etc.) in abbreviated form, and number the material. If you are citing from the Congressional Record, provide only the date and page number. Otherwise, end with the publication information, often the Government Printing Office (GPO).

    Example \(\PageIndex{28}\):

    United States Congress. (2002). House committee on resources, subcommittee on fisheries conservation, oceans, and wildlife. Ecosystem-based fishery management and the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens fishery conservation and management act. U.S. House 107th Congress. Washington, D.C.: U.S. GPO.

    Pamphlet or Brochure

    Treat pamphlets and brochures as books, though note in brackets that it is a pamphlet or brochure. If the name of the author is unavailable, begin with the name of the pamphlet.

    Example \(\PageIndex{29}\):

    Sun safety for kids: The SunWise school program. (2001). Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Film, DVD, or Videocassette

    Give the last name followed by the first initial of the producer, director, writer, etc., of the work. Follow each name with the function of the contributor in parentheses. After giving the year and title of the film, indicate it is a “motion picture” in brackets, followed by the country of origin and the name of the production company.

    Example \(\PageIndex{30}\):

    Jackson, P. (Director) (2001). The lord of the rings: The fellowship of the ring. [Motion Picture]. United States: New Line Cinema.

    Luhrmann, B. (Director) (2001) Moulin Rouge. [DVD]. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

    Television or Radio Program

    Example \(\PageIndex{31}\):

    Stewart, J. (Host)(2002, October 24). The Daily Show. [Television Program]. United States: Comedy Central.

    All things considered. (2001, March 24). [Radio Program]. United States: National Public Radio.

    This page titled 13.5: Formatting of Reference Pages, Bibliographies, and Annotated Bibliographies is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Steven D. Krause.

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