A Quick Guide to Writing a Bibliography

A Quick Guide to Writing a Bibliography

(ask   your module tutor if you are unsure which system to use and see below for a   fuller explanation of their use)

MHRA Referencing System

Harvard Referencing System

A book by one author:


Hirsch, Marianne, Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and   Postmemory (Cambridge, Massachussets, and London: Harvard University   Press, 1997)


An essay in an edited volume:


Fulbrook, Mary, ‘Life Writing   and Writing Lives: Ego Documents in Historical Perspective’, in Birgit Dahlke,   Dennis Tate, and Roger Woods (eds), German   Life-Writing in the Twentieth Century  (Rochester, New York: Camden House, 2010),   pp. 25-38


Journal article:


von Dassanowsky, Robert,   ‘Snow-Blinded: The Alps Contra Vienna in Austrian Entertainment Film at the Anschluss’, in Austrian Studies, 18 (2010), 106-23


Journal article by more than   one author:


Penison-Bird, Corinna, Thomas   Rohrkrämer and Felix Robin Schulz, ‘Glorified, Contested and Mobilized: the   Alps in the Deutscher und   Österreichischer Alpenverein from the 1860s to 1933’, Austrian Studies, 18 (2010), 141-58

A book by one author:


Hirsch, Marianne. 1997. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and   Postmemory. Cambridge, Massachussets, and London: Harvard University   Press


An essay in an edited volume:


Fulbrook, Mary. 2010. ‘Life   Writing and Writing Lives: Ego Documents in Historical Perspective’. In B.   Dahlke, D. Tate, and R. Woods (eds). German   Life-Writing in the Twentieth Century.    Rochester, New York: Camden House.   pp. 25-38


Journal article:


von Dassanowsky, Robert. 2010.   ‘Snow-Blinded: The Alps Contra Vienna in Austrian Entertainment Film at the Anschluss’. Austrian Studies, 18: 106-23


Journal article by more than   one author:


Penison-Bird, Corinna,   Rohrkrämer, Thomas, and Robin Schulz, Felix. ‘Glorified, Contested and   Mobilized: the Alps in the Deutscher   und Österreichischer Alpenverein from the 1860s to 1933’. Austrian Studies, 18: 141-58

Full guidelines for the format of footnotes and bibliographies

Every time you refer to a written or visual source in an essay or presentation you should provide a reference to the publication or film from which it came. Writing these references in a consistent format allows the reader to take in the information at a glance and to find the cited work quickly should they want to follow up your information. At a more basic level, references give proof of your ability to access information and to record where you found it.

There is more than one system of referencing conventions and any current scholarly system used in English-language publications, if used consistently, is acceptable. The next section sets out a system based on the guidelines of the Modern Humanities Research Association, which – with some variation – is widely used by publishers in the Arts; the section that follows it outlines the ‘Harvard System’, which is widely used in Film Studies and the social sciences, and in some publications in the Arts.

The guidelines in the next two sections are a necessarily abbreviated version of a very complex set of rules, and focus on those areas that are of most immediate use to you. If you are especially interested in the rules for laying out text, and particularly if you are considering going on to a Master’s degree, you might like to download the MHRA Style Guide, an authoritative guide to such matters. It is available free of charge at the Modern Humanities Reserach Association. Otherwise, you can often answer your own questions about layout simply by observing how things are done in the books or articles on the bibliography of any given module.

Bibliographical referencing for students of languages

In the MHRA system, each reference appears twice: first, in a footnote or endnote signalled by a number at the place in your argument where you cite the material — like this1 — and, secondly, in a bibliography at the end of the essay. The two references take the same form, with two small differences: in footnotes you supply the page number(s) of the passage you are referring to; and in the bibliography, the author’s surname comes first so that you can construct an alphabetical list. The difference is illustrated here:

Footnote: 17Christian Phéline, L’Image accusatrice (Brax: Les Cahiers de la photographie, 1985), pp.29-30.
Bibliography: Phéline, Christian, L’Image accusatrice (Brax: Les Cahiers de la photographie, 1985)

The bibliography should also include sources that you have not directly cited in the essay but that have informed your ideas. By convention, bibliographies are divided into two sections: primary sources and secondary sources, where primary sources are literary works or films and secondary sources are pieces of academic writing about those works or films or their cultural background. In some subjects such as linguistics that distinction may be superfluous.

Compiling your bibliography and producing accurate footnotes is straightforward if you ensure that, when taking notes from any book or journal, you make a point of writing down the details below before you start to take notes.

Items in the bibliography should take the following form. Be careful to observe the sequence, punctuation and typography exactly:

For books the sequence of information is as follows:

Surname of the author or of the editor of a collection of essays, followed by a comma and the forename or initials; Full Title (italicized or, if handwritten, underlined); editor or translator of an author’s work (if any); edition (if not the first); number of volume referred to (if any); place of publication, publisher, and year of publication in brackets, e.g.:

Single-author book: Butler, Michael, The Plays of Max Frisch (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1985).
Edited book: Kane, Martin, ed., Socialism and the Literary Imagination (Oxford: Berg, 1991).
Edition of an author’s work: Racine, Jean, OEuvres complètes, ed. by Georges Forestier (Paris: Gallimard, 1999).
Translation: Joseph Roth, The Wandering Jews, trans. by Michael Hofmann (New York and London: Norton, 2001).

Note that you cannot place a comma before an opening bracket, so no comma separates the title or editor from the details of publication. Note also that there are no full stops at the end of items in a bibliography drawn up according to MHRA style. However, footnotes following MHRA style do end with a full stop.

In the MHRA system the editor of a collection of essays appears before the book title in the bibliography, as above, but after the book title in a footnote:

1 Socialism and the Literary Imagination, ed. by Martin Kane (Oxford: Berg, 1991), p.19.

In other systems the editor’s name appears before the title in both bibliography and footnotes:

2 Martin Kane, ed., Socialism and the Literary Imagination (Oxford: Berg, 1991), p.19.

Either convention is acceptable: the key is consistency. Where, in the latter case, there is more than one editor, the plural of editor is ‘eds’.

For articles in journals and chapters in books, the sequence of information is as follows:

Author of article; ‘title of article’ (in single quotation marks); Title of Journal or book in which article appears (italicized or, if handwritten, underlined); journal details (volume number and year of publication) or, in the case of a book, by the place of publication, publisher and date of publication as above; first and last pages of article; e.g.:

Journal article: Davis, Colin, ‘Simone de Beauvoir’s Le Sang des autres and the Ethics of Failure’, Modern Language Review, 93 (1998), 35-47.
Article or chapter in book: Calcraft, R. P., ‘The Lover as Icarus: Góngora’s “Qué de invidiosos montes levantados”’, in What’s Past is Prologue: A Collection of Essays in Honour of L.J. Woodward, ed. by Salvador Bacarisse and others (Edinburgh, 1984), pp. 10-16.

For articles in online journals the sequence of information is as follows:

Author of article; ‘title of article’ (in single quotation marks); Title of Online Journal (italicized or, if handwritten, underlined); journal details (volume number and year of publication), e.g.:

Scharpe, Michiel, ‘A Trail of Disorientation: Blurred Boundaries in Der Sandmann’, Image and Narrative, 5 (2003) <>, accessed 12 December 2006

If your word-processing software automatically underlines the Internet address to make a hyperlink, remove the underlining using the ‘Remove Hyperlink’ function. See also Responsible Use of Internet Sources below.

When quoting or citing written sources in your essay:

Anything you quote, from any source, must be clearly identified by quotation marks (inverted commas). Use single quotations marks; do no italicize quotations (regardless of whether they are in English or another language), just use normal type.

You must give references for all quotations, normally in a footnote. Your word-processing software should allow you to insert footnotes using the ‘Insert’ menu. The format of footnote references is explained above, but note additionally that when giving the page reference for your quotation the abbreviation for ‘page’ is ‘p.’ and the abbreviation for ‘pages’ is ‘pp.’.

If you quote from the same author more than once, you only need to give the full bibliographical details in the first footnote; thereafter the footnote can take a shortened form, e.g.:

First footnote reference: 9 Michael Butler, The Plays of Max Frisch (New York: St Martin’s Press, 1985), p.17.
Subsequent footnote reference: 11 Butler, p.35.

In the case of a primary text, the full bibliographical details for the edition used can be given in a first footnote reference and thereafter further references can take the form of a page or line number given in brackets immediately after the quotation, ‘like this’ (p.174). When quoting from plays, act and scene references are usually given. These can either be given as (Act II, scene 3) or in the shortened form (II, 3); note the use of Roman numerals for the act reference and Arabic numerals for the scene.

A short quotation (fewer than about forty words) can be incorporated into a sentence, always ensuring that there is a smooth transition between your English and the other language, e.g.:

A passage in Act II refers to her mother, rather less conventionally, as a ‘deidad de estos montes’ to whom local people make sacrifice, while Campaspe herself is compared in the same passage to a ‘deidad de uno y otro margen’ (p.1066).
As Yves Stalloni has pointed out in a study of Nizan’s representation of women, ‘L’oeuvre romanesque de Nizan est d’abord celle d’un homme écrivant des histoires d’hommes pour d’autres hommes’.2

If the quotation is more than a few lines long (or about forty words) it is placed in a separate paragraph, without quotation marks, and indented left and right:

Beauvoir’s statements do not suggest a complete lack of sympathy on her part with the sufferings of these women, since she contextualizes their various failings and weaknesses as testament to the fallibility of all existence:

Je me sens solidaire des femmes qui ont assumé leur vie et qui luttent pour la réussir ; mais cela ne m’empêche pas – au contraire – de m’intéresser à celles qui l’ont plus ou moins manquée et, de manière générale, à cette part d’échec qu’il y a dans toute existence.10

None the less, her motivation for writing the story is given in terms of shedding light on another’s situation of suffering from a position of exteriority.
Joho expresses similar misgivings, objecting specifically to the use of the words ‘blaßwangig’ and ‘verdrießlich’ to describe the Holocaust. It would have been better, he writes:

hätte Jurek Becker auf die Varianten verzichtet und es bei dem wirklichen Ende belassen, von dem wir all ohnehin wissen, und das — alle makabre Ironie in Ehren — nicht ‘blaßwangig’ genannt und, auch wenn man noch so untertreibt und aus guten Gründen falsches Pathos vermeiden wollte, nicht nur als ‘verdrießlich’ bezeichnet werden sollte.58

As all these examples show, every quotation should be briefly introduced to make clear whose opinion it is and what its relevance is to your argument.

If instead of quoting directly you paraphrase or summarize what you have read, you should still give a footnote reference to acknowledge your source.

Unacknowledged quotation or close paraphrase constitutes plagiarism: see the section on Plagiarism and Cheating in the College Taught Handbook for a clearer explanation.

The Harvard System

The discipline of Film Studies generally uses the Harvard System of referencing, which is somewhat different from the one outlined above.

In your Bibliography (which should be placed at the end of your essay/dissertation) you provide the full details of all the publications you have used in your research, whether or not you have quoted from them directly. Follow the style below, including all the information given here in exactly the same sequence with exactly the same punctuation:


Lapsley, Robert and Westlake, Michael (1988) Film Theory: An Introduction, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Hughes, Alex & Williams, James, S., eds (2001) Gender and French Cinema, Oxford & New York: Berg.
McNay, Lois (1992) Foucault and Feminism, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Chapters in books

Sellier, Geneviève (2001) ‘Gender, Modernism and Mass Culture in the New Wave’, In: Hughes, Alex & Williams, James, S., eds, Gender and French Cinema, Oxford & New York: Berg, pp.125-37.

Articles in journals

Tarr, Carrie (2003) ‘Feminist influences on the work of Yannick Bellon’, Studies in French Cinema, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp.55-65.

If, in your Bibliography, you cite an author who has written more than one book, article or chapter in the same year then you need to add an alphabetical sign to indicate this. For example:

Foucault, Michel (1977a) Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, trans. A. Sheridan, Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Foucault, Michel (1977b) ‘Intellectuals and power’, In: D. Bouchard, ed., Language, Counter-memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews, New York: Cornell University Press.

When citing them in your essay, include the relevant alphabetical reference, e.g. (Foucault, 1977a).

For your Filmography at the very least you must give the film title, director, date and list them alphabetically, e.g.:

Atlantis, Luc Besson (1991).
Léon, Luc Besson (1994).

Follow the conventions for capitalization in the relevant language. For instance, if a French film title begins with a definite article, the article and its noun are capitalized (e.g. La Haine); otherwise only the first word is capitalized: A bout de souffle; Une journée à la campagne.

When referencing films in your essay:

The first time you mention the film, cite the film title, director and date, for example:

Room at the Top (Jack Clayton, 1959).

Thereafter you need cite the title only (N.B. always use italics for film titles).

For foreign-titled films, give the English title the first time you cite them, for example:

Le Jour se lève/Daybreak (Marcel Carné, 1939)

When referencing written sources in your essay:

i) For printed texts, cite the author, year of publication and give page number(s). For example:

Referencing an author and directly quoting from her/him:

In her discussion of gender and power relations, McNay (1992: 63-4) indicates that the theory that power is hierarchical is not necessarily proven. She suggests that ‘the tendency to regard women as powerless and innocent victims of patriarchal social structures hampers many types of feminist analysis.’

Summarising an argument from an author and duly acknowledging the sources:

It is quite problematic nowadays to accept Freud’s notion of the unconscious particularly since he argues for a diminished awareness amongst women (Freud, 1923: 56-68).

When quoting a source that is more than five lines (or about forty words) long you should leave a blank line before and after the quotation, indent the paragraph left and right, and omit quotation marks:

Widening her argument to discuss the role of women within the collective, McNay sets out Foucault’s thinking as follows:

Foucault’s linking of the individual struggle with the more collective forms of action arises from his awareness that there are large-scale systems of domination and exploitation which cannot be countered adequately and merely through a refusal, at the level of the individual, of the government of individualization. Ethics of the self represents only one form of resistance. (McNay, 1992: 111)

ii) For webpage references:

Quote the text in the normal way, but then reference the webpage in a footnote and give the date you accessed it, e.g., ‘, accessed 17.10.2003’.

If your word-processing software automatically underlines the Internet address to make a hyperlink, remove the underlining using the ‘Remove Hyperlink’ function. See also the section on Responsible Use of the Internet below.

Responsible use of internet sources

Language students

For some exercises (for instance a language essay or a presentation to be given in your oral class), you will be encouraged to make use of the Internet. For Modern Languages students the Internet represents a vital source of up-to-date information on current affairs in the countries where their languages are spoken. Nevertheless, it is wise to rely primarily on reputable sources such as the main European newspapers and broadcasters, and government institutions, since anybody can post information on the Web and some of it is unreliable, extreme in its views, or simply badly written. If in doubt about the usefulness of an Internet source to a language exercise, ask your module tutor.

If you use Internet sources for a language essay, list them at the end, where appropriate supplying the author and title of the article, for instance:

Quinio, Paul, ‘Sarkozy fait le plein des voix de l’UMP’, <>, accessed 15 January 2007

If your word-processing software automatically underlines the Internet address to make a hyperlink, remove the underlining using the ‘Remove Hyperlink’ function. Since newspapers change their websites every day, there may be no point in giving the extended address of an individual page, in which case the main address will do. If it is important that the module tutor have access to an original source that is only posted at a site for 24 hours, print it out and attach it to your work.

Provided you learn to draw sensible inferences from them, search engines such as Google can be useful for checking language usage, based on the number and type of ‘hits’ returned. In particular, search engines can be very helpful for answering the basic question ‘Can you really say that in French/German/Russian/Italian/Spanish’? Use the ‘Advanced Search’ option in Google to search for exact phrases, to limit returns to pages in the relevant language or to limit the domain names to the country or countries where your language is spoken (‘.de’, ‘.it’, etc.).

Copying whole sentences or passages from the Internet into language essays and passing them off as your own writing constitutes plagiarism and is penalized accordingly: see Section 6.6 in the College of Humanities Taught Handbook.

Online bi-lingual dictionaries can be a good quick point of reference, but not all are professionally produced and few are checked for accuracy with the same care and skill as a printed dictionary. Where language tutors know of reliable free online dictionaries, they will tell you.

All students

For other exercises (for instance a literature or film essay or presentation) you will be encouraged to use the Internet only with discerning care! This is because the essence of university study is to engage with professionally researched academic argument and opinion. The books on your bibliographies have been ‘refereed’ before publication (that is experts in the field have given advice on whether, and in what form, they should be published). Most sites which appear on the Internet have not been ‘refereed’, and anybody (including students and non-specialists) can post their opinions about an author, film or cultural topic on the Web. You may therefore lose marks if you quote from non-academic websites in an academic essay. Of course, the Internet is useful for orientating yourself quickly in an unfamiliar subject, or for finding out background information (Which films did Louis Malle make? Which other authors apart from Hugo belonged to the French Romantic movement? An article I’ve read mentions Pietism: What was that?). Your tutors use the Internet in this way, too.

Wikipedia is a free-to-access encyclopaedia site that is being developed by its readers. This means that, in theory, you too could contribute to it; equally, it means that you should check against other sources any statements which look inaccurate. Normally you are safe using Wikipedia to find out a name or a date or a definition, but if you find something in Wikipedia that is going to be central to your argument in an essay or presentation, check it in an equivalent written source before you use it. The Library subscribes to a national database of sites of academic interest called ‘Intute.’ It includes sites in Modern Languages and Film Studies (Film appears as a sub-heading under each language in the browse categories). It has the advantage that the sites have been selected for their relevance and evaluated against criteria such as professional presentation and the citation of sources.

As with language work, all Internet sources used in your research should be acknowledged in your bibliography. If the page you have used has an author and a title (which it should have if you are citing it as an authority), you can include it as normal in the alphabetical list of sources (e.g. Sands, James, ‘Kafka and the Surrealists’, <>, accessed 12 December 2006). If the source is an article in an online journal, include in addition the journal volume and year as for paper journals (but page numbers will not be needed). If the webpage has no clear author, put the reference at the end of the alphabetical list, with some indication as to its content (e.g. Article on literary broadcasting in Germany, <>, accessed 12 December 2006).

If you cite inappropriate websites, for instance those with little information value or whose factual accuracy cannot be guaranteed, or sites that are not relevant to your topic, or if you use the material contained in websites uncritically, your tutor will deduct marks. This is made clear in the assessment criteria for coursework essays and applies equally to seminar presentations. If you copy material from a website without using quotation marks or a footnote to indicate that the words or ideas are not yours, this will be treated in the same way as other forms of plagiarism (see the information on plagiarism in the Section 6.6 of the College of Humanities Taught Handbook).