AskDefine | Define bibliography

Dictionary Definition

bibliography n : a list of writings with time and place of publication (such as the writings of a single author or the works referred to in preparing a document etc.)

User Contributed Dictionary



  • IPA: /bɪbliɔːgrəfi/


  1. A section of a written work containing citations to all the books referenced in the work.
  2. A list of books or documents relevant to a particular subject or author.
  3. The study of books in terms of their classification, printing and publication.

Related terms


section of a written work containing citations to all the books referenced in the work
list of books or documents relevant to a particular subject or author
study of books in terms of their classification, printing and publication

Extensive Definition

Bibliography (from Greek: βιβλιογραφία, bibliographia, literally book writing), as a practice, is the academic study of books as physical, cultural objects; in this sense, it is also known as bibliology. On the whole, bibliography is not concerned with the literary content of books, but rather the "bookness" of books.
A bibliography, the product of the practice of bibliography, is a systematic list of books and other works such as journal articles. Bibliographies range from "works cited" lists at the end of books and articles to complete, independent publications. As separate works, they may be in bound volumes such as those shown on the right, or computerised bibliographic databases. A library catalog, while not referred to as a bibliography, is bibliographic in nature.
Bibliographic works differ in the amount of detail depending on the purpose, and can be generally divided into two categories: enumerative bibliography (also called compilative, reference or systematic), which results in an overview of publications in a particular category, and analytical, or critical, bibliography, which studies the production of books. Bibliographical works are almost always considered to be tertiary sources.

Enumerative bibliography

A bibliography is a list, either indicative or comprehensive, of writings sharing a common factor: this may be a topic, a language, a period, or some other theme. One particular instance of this is the list of sources used or considered in preparing a work, sometimes called a reference list.
Citation formats vary, but an entry for a book in a bibliography usually contains the following information:
  • author(s)
  • title
  • publisher
  • date of publication
An entry for a journal or periodical article usually contains:
  • author(s)
  • article title
  • journal title
  • volume
  • pages
  • date of publication
A bibliography may be arranged by author, topic, or some other scheme. Annotated bibliographies give descriptions about how each source is useful to an author in constructing a paper or argument. These descriptions, usually a few sentences long, provide a summary of the source and describe its relevance.
Bibliographies differ from library catalogs by including only relevant items rather than all items present in a particular library. However, the catalogs of some national libraries effectively serve as national bibliographies, as the national libraries own almost all their countries' publications.

Analytical bibliography

The critical study of bibliography can be subdivided into descriptive (or physical), historical, and textual bibliography. Descriptive bibliography is the close examination of a book as a physical object, recording its size, format, binding, and so on, while historical bibliography takes a broader view of the context in which a book is produced, in particular, printing, publishing and bookselling. Textual bibliography is another name for textual criticism.

Related terms in other media

A number of related terms have developed for listings of other media and artistic expression:


External links

bibliography in Arabic: ببليوجرافيا
bibliography in Breton: Levrlennadur
bibliography in Bulgarian: Библиография
bibliography in Catalan: Bibliografia
bibliography in Danish: Bibliografi
bibliography in German: Bibliografie
bibliography in Spanish: Bibliografía
bibliography in Esperanto: Bibliografio
bibliography in French: Bibliographie
bibliography in Croatian: Bibliografija
bibliography in Italian: Bibliografia
bibliography in Hebrew: ביבליוגרפיה
bibliography in Kazakh: Кітапнама
bibliography in Luxembourgish: Bibliographie
bibliography in Hungarian: Bibliográfia
bibliography in Dutch: Bibliografie
bibliography in Japanese: 書誌学
bibliography in Norwegian: Bibliografi
bibliography in Polish: Bibliografia
bibliography in Portuguese: Bibliografia
bibliography in Russian: Библиография
bibliography in Slovak: Bibliografia
bibliography in Serbian: Библиографија
bibliography in Finnish: Bibliografia
bibliography in Swedish: Bibliografi
bibliography in Thai: บรรณานุกรม
bibliography in Turkish: Bibliyografya
bibliography in Ukrainian: Бібліографія
bibliography in Yiddish: ביבליאגראפיע
bibliography in Chinese: 目录学

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Art Index, Baedeker, Bibliography Index, Books in Print, Cumulative Book Index, Education Index, National Union Catalog, Yellow Pages, acknowledgments, annotated bibliography, annual bibliography, back, back matter, backlist, bastard title, bibliogenesis, bibliogony, bibliography of bibliographies, bibliology, bibliopolism, body of knowledge, body of learning, book manufacturing, book production, bookcraft, bookmaking, bookselling, business directory, card catalog, catalog, catalogue raisonne, catch line, catchword, checklist, city directory, classified catalog, classified directory, colophon, contents, contents page, copyright page, critical bibliography, cyclopedia, dedication, directory, encyclopedia, endleaf, endpaper, endsheet, errata, file, filing system, finding list, flyleaf, folio, fore edge, foreword, front matter, guidebook, half-title page, handbook, handlist, head, imprint, index, inscription, introduction, itinerary, leaf, letter file, literature, lore, makeup, materials, page, periodical index, phone book, pigeonholes, preface, preliminaries, publications, recto, reference book, reverso, road map, roadbook, running title, signature, store of knowledge, subtitle, system of knowledge, table of contents, tail, telephone book, telephone directory, text, title, title page, treasury of information, trim size, type page, verso
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