Conducting Library Research


Bibliographies are lists of sources on particular topics. Researchers compile and publish them after completing their work so that they will be available to other interested researchers. Besides books and periodicals, bibliographies reference a wide variety of other materials: films, manuscripts, letters, government documents and pamphlets that will lead you to sources that you may not otherwise have considered.

Authors record source information in several different places and formats. A full-length book may have a section labeled "Bibliography" at the back, or perhaps a section called "For Further Reading." If the author has quoted or referenced other works, they will be cited in the footnotes at the bottom of a page or a list of endnotes called "References" or "Works Cited" at the end of the book.

Book-length bibliographies on specific topics are also often available. Essential Shakespeare, for instance, is a book-length bibliography listing the best books and articles on the works of William Shakespeare. To locate such resources in an electronic database, such as a library catalog, simply add the word "bibliography" to a subject or keyword search.

If you're lucky, such a bibliography will include annotations that describe and evaluate each source.

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