Learning To See Bibliography Template

When it comes to bibliography management packages, there are three main options in LaTeX: bibtex, natbib and biblatex. Biblatex is a modern program to process bibliography information, provides an easier and more flexible interface and a better language localization that the other two options. This article explains how to use biblatex to manage and format the bibliography in a LaTeX document.


A minimal working example of the biblatex package is shown below:

\documentclass{article}\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[english]{babel}   \usepackage{biblatex}\addbibresource{sample.bib}   \begin{document} Let's cite! The Einstein's journal paper \cite{einstein} and the Dirac's book \cite{dirac} are physics related items.   \printbibliography   \end{document}

There are four bibliography-related commands in this example:

Imports the package biblatex.
Imports the bibtex data file sample.bib, this file is the one that includes information about each referenced book, article, etc. See the bibliography file section for more information.
This command inserts a reference within the document, [1] in this case, that corresponds to an element in the bibliography, "einstein" is a keyword corresponding to an entry in sample.bib.
Prints the list of cited references, the default title is "References" for the article document class and "Bibliography" for books and reports.

ShareLaTeX provides several templates with pre-defined styles to manage bibliography. See this link

  Open an example of the biblatex package in ShareLaTeX

[edit]Basic usage

Several parameters can be passed to the package importing statement, let's see

\documentclass{article}\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[english]{babel}   \usepackage{comment}   \usepackage[ backend=biber, style=alphabetic, sorting=ynt ]{biblatex}\addbibresource{sample.bib}   \title{Bibliography management: \texttt{biblatex} package}\author{Share\LaTeX}\date{}   \begin{document}   \maketitle   Using \texttt{biblatex} you can display bibliography divided into sections, depending of citation type. Let's cite! The Einstein's journal paper \cite{einstein} and the Dirac's book \cite{dirac} are physics related items. Next, \textit{The \LaTeX\ Companion} book \cite{latexcompanion}, the Donald Knuth's website \cite{knuthwebsite}, \textit{The Comprehensive Tex Archive Network} (CTAN) \cite{ctan} are \LaTeX\ related items; but the others Donald Knuth's items \cite{knuth-fa,knuth-acp} are dedicated to programming.   \medskip   \printbibliography

Some extra options, inside brackets and comma-separated, are added when importing biblatex:

Sets the backend to sort the bibliography, is the default one and recommended since it provides full localization for several commands and the styles for biber are easier to modify because they use standard LaTeX macros. The other supported backend is , which is a more traditional program; if set as backend will only used to sort the bibliography, so no bibtex styles can be used here.
Defines the bibliography style and the citation style, in this case . Depending on the style more citation commands might be available. See bibliography styles and citation styles for more information.
Determines the criteria to sort the bibliographic sources. In this case they are sorted by year, name and title. See the reference guide for a list of sorting options.

The rest of the commands were already explained at the introduction.

  Open an example of the biblatex package in ShareLaTeX

[edit]The bibliography file

The bibliography files must have the standard bibtex syntax

This file contains records in a special format, for instance, the first bibliographic reference is defined by:

This is the first line of a record entry, tells BibTeX that the information stored here is about an article. The information about this entry is enclosed within braces. Besides the entry types shown in the example (, , and ) there are a lot more, see the reference guide.
The label is assigned to this entry, is an identifier that can be used to refer this article within the document.
This is the first field in the bibliography entry, indicates that the author of this article is Albert Einstein. Several comma-separated fields can be added using the same syntax , for instance: title, pages, year, URL, etc. See the reference guide for a list of possible fields.

The information in this file can later be printed and referenced within a LaTeX document, as shown in the previous sections, with the command . Not all the information in the .bib file will be displayed, it depends on the bibliography style set in the document.

  Open an example of the biblatex package in ShareLaTeX

[edit]Customizing the bibliography

Biblatex allows high customization of the bibliography section with little effort. It was mentioned that several citation styles and bibliography styles are available, and you can also create new ones. Another customization option is to change the default title of the bibliography section.

\documentclass{article}\usepackage[utf8]{inputenc}\usepackage[english]{babel}   \usepackage{comment}   \usepackage[ backend=biber, style=alphabetic, sorting=ynt ]{biblatex}\addbibresource{sample.bib}   \title{Bibliography management: \texttt{biblatex} package}\author{Share\LaTeX}\date{}   \begin{document}   \maketitle   Using \texttt{biblatex} you can display bibliography divided into sections, depending of citation type. Let's cite! The Einstein's journal paper \cite{einstein} and the Dirac's book \cite{dirac} are physics related items. Next, \textit{The \LaTeX\ Companion} book \cite{latexcompanion}, the Donald Knuth's website \cite{knuthwebsite}, \textit{The Comprehensive Tex Archive Network} (CTAN) \cite{ctan} are \LaTeX\ related items; but the others Donald Knuth's items \cite{knuth-fa,knuth-acp} are dedicated to programming.   \medskip   \printbibliography[title={Whole bibliography}]

The additional parameter passed inside brackets to the command is the one that changes the title.

The bibliography can also be subdivided into sections based on different filters, for instance: print only references from the same author, the same journal or similar title. Below an example.

\printbibliography[type=article,title={Articles only}]\printbibliography[type=book,title={Books only}]   \printbibliography[keyword={physics},title={Physics-related only}]\printbibliography[keyword={latex},title={\LaTeX-related only}]

Here, the bibliography is divided in 4 sections. The syntax of the commands used here is explained below:

Only prints entries whose type is "article", and sets the title "Articles only" for this section. The same syntax works for any other entry type.
Filters bibliography entries that include the word "physics" in any of the fields. Sets the title "Physics-related only" for said section.

  Open an example of the biblatex package in ShareLaTeX

[edit]Adding the bibliography in the table of contents

For the bibliography the be printed in the table of contents an extra option must be passed to

\printbibliography[ heading=bibintoc, title={Whole bibliography} ]   \printbibliography[heading=subbibintoc,type=article,title={Articles only}]

A section and a subsection are added to the table of contents:

  • In the first case, adding adds the title to the table of contents as an unnumbered chapter if possible or as an unnumbered section otherwise.
  • The second case is that adds the title as a second level entry in the table of contents, in this example as a subsection nested in "Whole bibliography".

  Open an example of the biblatex package in ShareLaTeX

[edit]Reference guide

Supported entry types

article book mvbook
inbook bookinbook suppbook
booklet collection mvcollection
incollection suppcollection manual
misc online patent
periodical suppperiodical proceedings
mvproceedings inproceedings reference
mvreference inreference report
set thesis unpublished
custom conference electronic
masterthesis phdthesis techreport

Supported entry fields (The printed information depends on the bibliography style)

abstract afterword annotation annotator
author authortype bookauthor bookpagination
booksubtitle booktitle chapter commentator
date doi edition editor
editortype eid entrysubtype eprint
eprinttype eprintclass eventdate eventtitle
file foreword holder howpublished
indextitle institution introduction isan
isbn ismn isrn issue
issuesubtitle issuetitle iswc journalsubtitle
journaltitle label language library
location mainsubtitle maintitle month
note number organization origdate
origlanguage origlocation origpublisher origtitle
pages pagetotal pagination part
publisher pubstate reprinttitle series
shortauthor shortedition shorthand shorthandintro
shortjournal shortseries shorttitle subtitle
title translator type url
venue version volume year

Bibliography sorting options

option description
sort by name, title, year
sort by name, year, title
sort by name, year, volume, title
sort by alphabetic label, name, year, title
sort by alphabetic label, name, year, volume, title
sort by year (descending), name, title
entries are processed in citation order

[edit]Further reading

For more information see

@article{einstein, author = "Albert Einstein", title = "{Zur Elektrodynamik bewegter K{\"o}rper}. ({German}) [{On} the electrodynamics of moving bodies]", journal = "Annalen der Physik", volume = "322", number = "10", pages = "891--921", year = "1905", DOI = "http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/andp.19053221004", keywords = "physics" }   @book{dirac, title={The Principles of Quantum Mechanics}, author={Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac}, isbn={9780198520115}, series={International series of monographs on physics}, year={1981}, publisher={Clarendon Press}, keywords = {physics} }   @online{knuthwebsite, author = "Donald Knuth", title = "Knuth: Computers and Typesetting", url = "http://www-cs-faculty.stanford.edu/~uno/abcde.html", keywords = "latex,knuth" }   @inbook{knuth-fa, author = "Donald E. Knuth", title = "Fundamental Algorithms", publisher = "Addison-Wesley", year = "1973", chapter = "1.2", keywords = "knuth,programming" } ...

Annotated Bibliographies


This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

Contributors: Geoff Stacks, Erin Karper, Dana Bisignani, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-09 12:16:22


A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.

  • Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.

    For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.

  • Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?

    For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources.

  • Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.

Why should I write an annotated bibliography?

To learn about your topic: Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you're forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So, a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you'll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you'll then be able to develop your own point of view.

To help other researchers: Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.


The format of an annotated bibliography can vary, so if you're doing one for a class, it's important to ask for specific guidelines.

The bibliographic information: Generally, though, the bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) is written in either MLA or APA format. For more help with formatting, see our MLA handout. For APA, go here: APA handout.

The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages. The length will depend on the purpose. If you're just writing summaries of your sources, the annotations may not be very long. However, if you are writing an extensive analysis of each source, you'll need more space.

You can focus your annotations for your own needs. A few sentences of general summary followed by several sentences of how you can fit the work into your larger paper or project can serve you well when you go to draft.

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