The Working Bibliography

The Working Bibliography

A working bibliography is a list of potential sources for a paper. It may include books, articles, websites, interviews, videos, etc. For this class, it should include at least 10 items. It is not necessary to read a source completely to put it in your working bibliography, but you should skim it enough to tell whether it has value for your project. The working bibliography is formatted the same as a works cited page.

Note:  If you learned about MLA formatting a few years ago, things have changed a bit because the Modern Language Association has updated their guidelines.  Be sure to check the resources in this lesson and make note of the changes.

A working bibliography is a “working” document in two ways. First, it will change throughout the research process—expanding each time you add a potentially useful source and contracting when you omit sources that turn out to be less relevant than you anticipated. Second, once you have written your essay, your working bibliography will evolve one last time, becoming your list of works cited.

Of the 10 items you collect:

· two (2) items must be scholarly articles from the library databases (one of these items should reflect research from a country other than the United States)

· one (1) item must be from a newspaper

· two(2) items must be websites that are suitable for research

· one (1) item must be a book

· one (1) item must be someone you could interview

· one (1) item must be a film or documentary

The other two items can be from any source that will help you understand your topic or answer the questions you have. You can include pamphlets, brochures, films, interviews, and other sources that you uncover as you poke around.

Be sure to keep in mind the pointers for evaluating sources that you read about in previous topics. Try for a variety of sources and points of view. You may use websites, including those you identified in previous topics, and you may use articles from the library databases, including those you used in earlier exercises. If you find a good source in the databases, the keywords and bibliography associated with that source will help you find more sources.

Books related to your topic can be either from the Sinclair catalog or OhioLINK. (See the Sinclair Library Website for more information on OhioLINK and how to contact the librarians if you need help with any aspect of the research project.) You can order books from OhioLink for free and have them delivered to you at any convenient OhioLink library. If you find a source that is particularly relevant to your research, you can use the bibliography from that source to find more relevant sources. You can also use the keywords from the article to help you find more relevant sources. If you see several of your sources referring to the same expert or article, find that source too. Repeated references to the same source often indicate that the source is reliable.

Use MLA format for the final draft of the working bibliography. Use your textbook and the library MLA Guide carefully as a reference for this. I will send corrections when I review your working bibliography, but you need to learn how to find correct formats yourself or if you use Word you can use the Reference tab to enter information, and Word will format the bibliography for you. There are also several other tools online that will format your papers, but some are better than others, and so I will let you discover those on your own.  No matter how you decide to put the Working Bibliography together, be sure to double check the formatting before you submit it.  Correct formatting is an important factor in the grade for this assignment.

When you finish typing all the bibliographic entries for your Working Bibliography, be sure that you have a hanging indent and that you double space evenly throughout.  Here’s how to do those two things in Word: 

Complete the bibliography and make sure everything is alphabetized.  Then, highlight all the entries (but not Works Cited).  At the top of the document you will see a box that says “Home” and then select “Paragraph” — if you are using an Apple computer, the paragraph selection will be under “Format” which is also found at the top of the document.  Select Paragraph and click on the drop down link under the word “special”.  Select “hanging”.  While you are there, click on the drop down menu for “spacing” and select “double”.  Then click “okay”. The working bibliography/works cited page should now be formatted with a hanging indent, and it should be double spaced without any extra spacing between the individual citations.

Here’s a presentation that walks you through setting up the MLA heading, page numbers, and the hanging indent.

Click here to see a Working Bibliography Formatted Correctly. Once you finish your Working Bibliography, submit it in the Working Bibliography Drop Box.

MLA Citation Handbook

This course uses the Modern Language Association (MLA) style for documenting sources. You may have already read several lessons on this topic for setting up your essays; however, this lesson is geared specifically to creating a Working Bibliography. For a more complete view, see the book MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. You can also visit the MLA website.

Many other sites such as Noodle, Bibnote, or Citationmachine give information on MLA style, but there are mistakes and omissions in many of them, so be careful what you use as authoritative. Also, note that the MLA format changed in 2016, so if it’s been awhile since you used it, you might want to review the format and what’s required in a citation. Some of the big changes are that you are no longer required to include the city of the publication for books, you are no longer required to include the medium (such as web, print, etc.), and you are required to list the URL for a site on the works cited. Also, the date you access the cite (find it) is required. The examples below include ways to cite websites.  You can find a sample of many different sources here.  Also, specific instructions can be found here.

MLA style calls for capitalization of all nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in titles. Conjunctions, such as and, but, or, and prepositions, such as in, by, under are not capitalized unless they are the first or last words of a title or subtitle. Use this standard for all titles, even if the original source uses something different.

When citing webpages, your first decision is whether you are going to refer to the entire web site or to a specific page on the site. Many sites are very large, and if your source is a specific area of the site, it will be more helpful to send your readers directly to the section you used. If a site has re-published articles from several different people, it will be more helpful to the reader if you give each article or web page a separate citation. Use common sense, keeping the needs of the reader uppermost.

If some information is not available, just leave it out and go on to the next item.

A general case for putting an entire web site on a works cited page:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Website, Publisher or Sponsoring Institution, Date of posting or last revision, URL. Date of access by you.

Example: Smith, John. World Green Building Council, World Green Building Council, 15 Jan 2011, Accessed on 15 Jun 2011.

A general case for citing a page from a web site on a works cited page:

Author’s Last Name, First Name. Title of Page or Article. Title of Website, Publisher or Sponsor, Ed. name (unless same as author), Date of posting or last revision, URL. Date of access .

Example: Smith, John. “What’s New in Green Building.” World Green Building Council, World Green Building Council, 15 Jan 2011, Accessed on 15 June 2011.

Note:  Sources should also be alphabetized, double spaced evenly throughout, and include a hanging indent.

Additional Information:

Title of Website: Use the full title of the website as it appears on the homepage of the site. The web address may be different. Make sure you have the main page of the site, not the title of an inside page. Think of it like getting the title of a book, instead of the title of a chapter in the book. Be sure to italicize.

Title of Webpage: Titles of parts of any larger publication go in quotation marks.

Editor’s name: If you have one to three editors, list all of the names. If you have four or more, use the first one, plus the abbreviation “et al.” Use the word and, not the symbol &. Use the name(s) exactly as it appears on the site. Do not change the order in which names are listed. Sometimes instead of an individual, the “editor” is an organization, like American Red Cross or the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If so, use the organization name.

Author s name: Sometimes the author’s name is not given, especially if the site belongs to a company or organization. The author’s name can be a corporate author, the same as for books. Example: American Red Cross, U.S. Dept. of Justice. If you have no author at all, just go on to the title. Do not use anonymous.

Date of posting or last revision. Sometimes you really have to hunt for this and sometimes it’s just not there, which is not a good sign. If you have a full date, give that, in the format day/month/year (28 Oct. 2010). If you have just a year, use that, with all four digits (2002, 2011). If more than one date is given, use the most recent.

Sponsor: Often websites belong to some company or organization or institution. The money has to come from somewhere. If you don’t have this information, leave it out, but be careful. That may be a sign you just have some individual’s homepage, and that could mean no quality control at all. It is okay to repeat if the sponsor and the site title are the same words. The second time refers to the name of the organization, so it is not underlined or italicized. If the organization uses initials, you can use just the initials this time, such as MLA, NRA.

Date of access is the date you actually go to the site. This is important because sites change a lot, and you are certifying that your source is the site as it existed on that particular day. It has to be a full date in this format: 8 Apr 2011.

URL: This is the Internet address of the site. Make sure that you have this EXACTLY right as I’ll be using it to find your site and grade your paper. Don’t leave anything out or change the punctuation. Sometimes an underscore (_) will be used to fill a space, as url’s cannot have spaces. These are hard to see when the url is underlined as a link. Try to put the url on one line. If it has to be divided, divide it at a / and don’t add a hyphen. If the url is very long, you can compromise and use just the part up through the domain name (.org, .com, .edu, etc.) provided it would be fairly simple for the reader to figure out how to navigate or search by title to get to your specific area of the site. Always check to make sure your url really works. A typo will stop the link from working and frustrate your reader, who is likely to be giving you a grade, in this case.

Principles of Citation Writing for Databases

Keep these principles in mind when you write citations for databases that provide digital copies of information that originally was published in print form.

1. Your goal is to lead the reader to the exact source you used, including the database. Sometimes the database version is not exactly the same as the print version. It may be shortened, leave out illustrations, or have corrected or updated information.

2. First, give the information for the original publication, as completely as possible. You can use your textbook for information on how to cite periodicals. Use the journal rules for professional journals and the magazine examples for general interest periodicals. By giving the reader the information about the original publication, you allow the reader to judge the information according to its date and the reputation of the periodical in which it appears.  (The word “journal” in the title is not a reliable indication of whether the article is from a journal or a magazine.) Instead, use this rule: Magazine articles don’t use documentation (in-text citations or footnotes, bibliography lists).

3. Next, give the reader the information about the database you used. If you printed your articles, you will find the database name on the printout.

· The Sinclair Library has a Citation Styles Resources page that you may find helpful.  From that page, select MLA resources. There you will find examples specifically for the databases you will be using.

· Page numbers for articles can be confusing. Some databases will tell you the exact page number range for the original article. If you have that information, use it, without a p. or pg. If you see a number with a + sign, that means the article begins on that page and is continued, but not necessarily on the next page. If you see a number with a p. AFTER the number, that tells you the total number of pages of the article. If you don’t have the real page number, then use the number of pages and add the letter p. (10 p.)That’s the number of pages in the article, not the page number of the article.

· If you encounter an odd situation and cannot figure out what you are seeing or how to cite the article, email me information for finding it (the title, author, and database name), and I’ll check it out and get back to you. It’s impossible to cover all possible variations in even the MLA Handbook.

· The information in the database will include information you do not need, and it will appear in different order in different databases. MLA requires that you find the information you need and report it in the same way all the time. You cannot just cut and paste the information from the database directly into your works cited. You can ignore the following all of the time ( fractions like 1/3, which means it it 1/3 page long; bw, which means black and white illustration/photo; c, which means color illustration; map;and graph. You may want to make a personal note, and these can be useful information. For example, if an article is only 1/3 page long, I’d skip it without reading it.

· Some databases (including ones available from the Sinclair Library) will write a citation for you in your choice of several different styles. Look for a button or icon labeled “cite.” In EBSCO, the button is on the right side of the screen for each article. Then select the style you have been assigned to use from the selections given. In this course, you will use MLA for most assignments. While this can save a lot of time, I find that often these citations are not completely accurate, so if you want to use these, you MUST check them to make sure they are right both in style and in information. I have seen errors such as misspellings of author’s names and errors in punctuation are very common.



After you have completed writing your Working Bibliography, check your bibliography against the Sample Working Bibliography.  Make sure you have used the correct formatting.  Remember to use the hanging indent.  Remember to alphabetize the entries.  Remember to insert page numbers and your last name if the bibliography is more than two pages.  Finally, remember to use an MLA heading on all your submissions.  When you have finished, submit the bibliography here as a file attachment.

1. DO NOT copy and paste your draft in the box below.  Instead, attach it as a separate file.

2. To attach a file, click on the ADD ATTACHMENTS below.

3. Click on UPLOAD FILE

4. In the dialog box that appears, browse for your file on your computer

5. Click on your file. Your file will appear as an attachment on this screen below.

6. Click on the UPDATE to submit your assignment.

Post your working bibliography here as a .doc, .rtf, or scanned file.

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