What is the difference between bibliography and references?

What is meant by bibliography and references?

Bibliography and references are two very important and essential aspects of an academic writing and have the ability to influence the standard and quality of any text, be it an academic one or a general writing. Both the bibliography and the references form an integral part of the work and can never be done away with. References are actually the acknowledgements and credits given to those authors or creators and their works that are mentioned in a text or an academic writing in the form of any language, sentence, phrase, concept, idea, image etc, which is cited from the original source or an already referred source by an academic essay writer. A bibliography, on the other hand, is a list of those references made in an academic work or text, be it cited or otherwise, that is mentioned in the work as a form of background and additional reading for both the academic writer and the readers and are usually present at the very end of the text or the writing. Although both serve the purpose of honoring the intellectual rights of an author or creator and are more often than not interchangeably used, their uses and targets vary widely. They also differ in their basic functions.

Features and functions of bibliography and references

Although the bibliography and the references vary in their basic characteristics, functions and their uses, they have some similarities in their features. For example, both have the same work of explaining an academic or otherwise citation made in the text. Again, the reference and the bibliography have the feature of being made in an alphabetical order where each and every entry is done in a strict orderly fashion. However, most of the feature and function of the two basically differentiate them. Most importantly, it must be mentioned here that while a bibliography is a kind or rather, a part of reference, the same cannot be said about a reference since a reference or a citation can never be a bibliography.

Few examples of each type

A few examples of each would be helpful here for a better understanding of the two aspects of an academic essay paper or custom term paper writing and also in properly comprehending the differences in their application. The two are generally used in different context and serve different purposes following an altogether different methodology. Some of the primary and common examples of the form of bibliography are as follows:

  • For books: Cuba, L (1988), A Short Guide To the Writing in the Social Sciences. London: Scott and Foresmann. Chs: 2, 4 and 6
  • For lectures as sources: Friedman, S. & S. Steinberg (1989) Writing and thinking in the Social Sciences, Engelwood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice Hall
  • For newspaper sources:  Doe, John. “How Do You Measure a Year in the Life?” The Sun Times. 2 July 2010: 1
  • For journals and articles sources: Ivanic, R. J. Simpsons (1992) The Who’s who in the world of academic writing, In N. N. Fairfan (Ed) Critical Language Awareness. London : Longman pps: 141 – 173
  • For multiple authors: Smith, John and Jacob Jingleheimer and Cindy Lu, Wu Xia and the Art of the scooter Mainatinance. New York : Springer, 2003

Now, as goes the functions and techniques of a proper and ideal reference, the examples are quite a lot and some of those examples are as listed below for a detailed study and comprehension of the type:

  • For more than one author: E.g.: Fish, 2001; Campbell 2008; Wilson, 2012.
  • For journals and articles: PEARS, R. & SHIELDS, G.J. (2010) Cite Them Right: The Essential Referencing Guide. 8th edition. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • For online and other such sources: Gelspan, R. (2007). The Heat Is Online. Lake Oswego, OR: Green House Network. Retrieved from The Heat Is Online website: http://www.heatisonline.org

Differences between bibliography and reference

The bibliography and the references, the two vital parts of a proper and formal academic research paper or custom term paper writing, vary typically in their functions and intentions. Therefore, it is really very important in order to create a good essay work to fully understand their differences and distinguish them according to their generic characteristics although they are at times rather confused with each other. Some of these differences between a bibliography and reference are listed as below:

  • A reference list is considered just a list or record of the sources of all the information and ideas that have been used or mentioned, or in other words referred to, in the body of the academic work or text while a bibliography at times might also contain extra and additional information for further background studies that though might not be directly linked to the referred item, may be actually a piece of useful information for the reader for some additional knowledge on the particular topic.
  • The reference list or simply citations as they are normally referred to, might occur inside a text, be it at the end of a phrase, a sentence, a quotation, a passage etc as an in text citation or at the end of the cited page as a footnote. However, a bibliography strictly occurs at the end of the academic work and is not be found anywhere inside the text but only at the end.
  • A reference has no further responsibility than just acknowledging the work or creation of a particular source or author and mentioning the original work where as a bibliography is known to provide the readers with a detailed and valuable information on the cited source, both on the cited creation and the creator of the work.
  •  Moreover there are some characteristically different aspects between the two like a reference is always double spaced and italics and capitalisation are to be used as and when necessary and these are quite mandatory rules while no such obligation is there in case of a bibliography.