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Bibliography (from Greek βιβλιογραφία, lit. book writing) in its most general sense is the study and description of books. It can be divided into enumerative or systematic bibliography, which results in an overview of publications in a particular category, and analytical or critical bibliography, which studies the production of books.
A bibliography is a list, either indicative or comprehensive, of works:
- by a particular author
- on a particular subject
- published in a particular country
- published in a specified period
- mentioned in, or relevant to, a particular work (a bibliography of this type, sometimes called a reference list should normally appear at the end of any paper in scientific literature)
A bibliography may be arranged by author, date, topic or some other scheme. Annotated bibliographies give descriptions about how each source is useful to an author in constructing a paper or argument. Creating these blurbs, usually a few sentences long, establishes a summary for and expresses the relevance of each source prior to writing.
Bibliographies differ from library catalogs by including all relevant publications rather than items actually found in a particular library. However, some national libraries' catalogs also serve as national bibliographies, as they contain (almost) all their countries' publications.
The critical study of bibliography is further subdivided into 4 descriptive, 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 printing and publishing. Textual bibliography is another name for textual criticism.
Belanger, Terry. Bibliography defined. Bibliographical Society of America, 2003
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- How to Write a Bibliography Examples in MLA Style
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