How to write a bibliography


Every academic and research paper needs to be documented. So it is necessary to consult information that is already available in other people's work (articles, books, websites, etc.). All of the information that is consulted forms the bibliographic base of your paper and should be reflected in citations and bibliographic references.


What is a citation?

This is a kind of short reference that we include in our texts. It indicates other people’s ideas and texts and clearly states their source, i.e. from where the information was taken.

It can be included within the written text (normally in brackets) or be inserted as notes at the end of the page, chapter or entire text.


What is a bibliographic reference?

This is a set of information that identifies a specific document. It describes the document in a structured and concise way and unequivocally identifies it. It provides some of the most characteristic information about the document: title, author, date, format, etc.


What is a bibliography?

This is an organised set of bibliographic references, normally in the form of a list. It contains structured references to the documents that have been consulted to write the paper.


What is the purpose of citations and bibliographic references?

Citations and bibliographic references inform readers of the sources used, they give the paper academic rigor and credibility, they highlight the previous work upon which the new knowledge has been built and they are essential for respecting the authorship of others and avoiding plagiarism.


How do you write citations, bibliographic references and the bibliography?

Existen diversos estilos y normas que facilitan la redacción de las citas y las There are various styles and rules that facilitate the writing of citations and bibliographic references and the presentation of bibliographies.

From all of these, the Library especially recommends the UNE-ISO 690 standard and the APA style.


Bear in mind that:

  • There should be sufficient information included in the reference to clearly identify the cited material.
  • The reference information is taken from the material to which it relates and the main source is the cover or its equivalent.
  • Any information that originates from other sources and does not appear in the cited resource is given in square brackets.
  • It is advisable to use a consistent system of punctuation and typography in all references.
  • The names of authors should be given as they appear in the source. The order in which they are written is the surname(s) followed by the first name(s) or initials.


Tutorials that may help you

Citing Tutorial, for references and citations. University of Cantabria Tutorial on the ISO 690 standard.

Citar y elaborar bibliografía. Library of the University of Alcalá de Henares: the most common styles for writing citations, bibliographic references and bibliographies.


If you need help or further information, contact your library.