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Writing Bibliographies & Citing Sources

The information on this page will help you create properly formatted bibliographies, work cited lists, footnotes, and in-text notes for most research projects undertaken at Dickinson. If the style you need is not listed, please contact a librarian for help..


(Click logo for access to Refworks)

For more information about this bibliographic management tool click here. This link will provide more information about what RefWorks is, and how to use it.

Style Links and Samples

The following links will take you directly to pages of sample citations for the style indicated.

Your professor will usually tell you which citation style to use. If you are in doubt, check your syllabus or ask your professor. Click one one of the links below to view a list of samples and resources for each citation style.

Style Full Name Typical Use Style Guide
American Psychological Association Psychology

Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association
BF76.7 .P83 2010

AAA American Anthropological Association




Online at:

AAA Style Guide

ACS American Chemical Society




ACS Style Guide [print]

QD 8.5 .A25 1997 RESERVES

Guide to Citing in ACS Style (online examples)

ASA American Sociological Association Sociology

American Sociological Association Style Guide
HM73. A54 2007

Chicago Chicago Manual of Style History; Art; other social sciences

The Chicago Manual of Style
(click link for online version)
Z253. U69 2010

GSA Geological Society of America Earth Sciences Geological Society of America Style Guide
MLA Modern Language Association English; other humanities

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers
LB2369. G53 2009

Primary and Archival Sources   Primary sources and archival material

Dickinson College Archives & Special Collections Primary Source Citation Guide
(follows Chicago recommendations)

Citing Nontraditional Sources   Citing Web sources, Images, Sound, Maps, Charts, Captions

Citing Nontraditional Sources
(For MLA, Chicago, and APA)

What is the Purpose of Writing a Bibliography?

Taking other people's ideas and presenting them as your own is a violation of college policy. When you are writing a research paper, you must tell your readers which ideas were not your own. A bibliography will help you do this.

Positively, compiling a bibliography will help you learn about your topic, discover the experts and important writings in your field, and will direct your readers who want to learn more about your topic to other resources. The act of forming a bibliography will also help to familiarize you with keywords you can use to conduct more extensive searches, and will help you to form your own original opinions about the subject.

What is a Bibliography?

A bibliography is a list of citations made up of all the sources you consulted in preparation for writing a research paper. Even if you do not directly quote an item in your research paper, you should still cite it in your bibliography if you used it to gain knowledge you did not previously have. Each citation in the bibliography is a description of the essential elements of each work consulted. This includes, but is not limited to, the title, author, publisher, and date of publication of each work.

Citations are constructed using strict rules regarding punctuation, text format, and paragraph indentation. Each citation style (Chicago , APA , ASA , GSA and MLA) has different rules.

The bibliography in a typical research paper is presented in alphabetical order by the the first item listed (usually the author).

Annotated Bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and other materials that also includes a short statement about the work's value. Click on a link below to learn how to write an annotated bibliography according to the appropriate style for your class:

Annotated Bibliographies in Chicago Style
Annotated Bibliographies in MLA Style

Also check out the Writing Center's YouTube video How to Write an Annotated Bibliography.

Dickinson College's Official Policy on Citing Sources and Plagiarism

It is necessary for you to give proper credit to all of the resources you use in your research papers. Plagiarism is a violation of Dickinson's Student Code of Conduct, and is a specific form of cheating defined in the code as follows:

1. To plagiarize is to use without proper citation or acknowledgment the words, ideas, or work of another. Whenever one relies on someone else for phraseology, even for only two or three words, one must acknowledge indebtedness by using quotation marks and giving the source, either in the text or in a footnote.
2. When one borrows facts which are not matters of general knowledge, including all statistics and translations, one must indicate one's indebtedness in the text or footnote. When one borrows an idea or the logic of an argument, one must acknowledge indebtedness either in a footnote or in the text. When in doubt, footnote. (Academic Standards Committee, November, 1965)

For more information from the Writing Center about how NOT to plagiarize, see Professor Lape's short presentation, How Not to Plagiarize.