Bibliographic Citation - Part 2


The place of references and bibliography in an intellectual discourse cannot be overemphasized in the realm of proving one’s honesty in one’s research efforts. In this regard, Obadan (2012) dwelt copiously on the importance of acknowledging the sources of Information used while conducting a research. Both terms as he observed, are most times erroneously used interchangeably, while indeed they differ.

 A simplified explanation to these differences is that a Reference List which is also called Cited Works refers to all the books, articles, and web pages, etc, that were cited in the course of writing your own work. So, work cited and references both refer to the same thing; however Obadan, observed that some referencing style prefer one title to the other; he therefore gave the example of Modern Language Association (MLA) which prefer work cited as against American Medical Association (APA) style that prefer the use of the word References.

It is therefore pertinent to note that the widespread use of the word bibliography in compiling sources of consulted work at the end of every academic write-up has its defined limits.

In this regard, the word "Bibliography" is used to denote all the materials that the work’s author read through in the course of making his own contribution to knowledge whether such materials were expressly lifted and quoted or mere ideas and opinion were simply drawn from such consulted work.

At the end of your work it is expected therefore, that all the references/works cited or bibliographies are listed in alphabetical order by the last names of the Authors, Editors, Translators etc.

If however, the main entry is by a title not an author or editor the first significant word is listed in the alphabetical order. In this case, the filing rule of ignoring articles must be observed; that is, where “A”or “An” or “The” is used at the beginning of a sentence, the next significant word in that title is considered in the alphabetical listing, e.g An Introduction to the use of Library. The alphabetical listing in this case will be under the word “Introduction”, not under the article “An”.


There are clear-cut rules and conventional practices in the business of bibliographic citation. The following summary of such conventional practice as listed below will guide you as a writer.


In citing a source, the first line of the work cited must begin at the left margin, the second and subsequent lines are indented five spaces from the left margin. This pattern is the opposite of how paragraphing is done.


In citation, the Period (.) is introduced after each of the three main parts of the citation i.e. author, title, facts of publication. In doing that, you will skip two spaces after each period (.) just as you space between sentences. However, if the author’s name ends with a middle initial, the one period after the initial is enough. If the title ends in a question mark or exclamation point (?, !), do not add a period.


 When citation is done, ensure that information about Books is supplied in the following order:

A. Author
B. Title of book
C. Editor or Translator
D. Number or Type of Edition
E. Number or Volumes
F. Name of the series
G. Place of publication
H. Publisher
I. Date of publication


 Information about journals should follow this order:

A. Author
B. Title
C. Name of the Journal
D. Volume, issue
E. Date
F. Page numbers


Note that it is against the conventional practice to number citations in a bibliography.


When citing an Author which you referred to in the course of your write up, use his/her full name when known; if not known use the last name and the initials but whenever the initials is known as a full name, it should be completed. Example: I.M. Aliu (An Introduction to the Use of Library and Guide to Research) becomes Aliu, Isah Muhammed.


(a) To cite the place of publication you choose the City where the Book or Journal is published e.g. Benin, Lagos, Abuja, Kaduna, Washington DC. London etc. follow the place of publication with a colon (:) next is the Publisher’s name (e.g Macmillan, Prentice Hall) (followed by a period (.).

Most of these information are extracted from the Book’s Title and Copyright Pages, however where the City is not too familiar to you, abbreviate the Country e.g. Nig., Eng., not London Example:

Abuja: MCGraw-Hill, 2004.

(b) Where several Cities are listed on the document, take the first City listed as they appear on the main title page.

(c) In a case where no date or place of publication is provided on the Copyright Page, simply write n.p. or n.d. in the place provided for place of publication or date of publication.

(d) Where several Copyright Dates are provided take the most recent. Note that printing date cannot replace date of publication e.g. 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, take 2005 as the most recent.

Use the shortened form of Publisher’s Names while business abbreviations are omitted e.g.

Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc. - Macmillan Elsevier Publishing Co., Inc. - Elsevier Prentice-Hall - Prentice
George Allen and Urwin Publishers, Inc. - Allen
Alfred A. Knopf - Knopf

Shorten University Press e.g.

Harvard University Press - Harvard UP
The Johns Hopkins University Press - Johns Hopkins UP
University of Chicago Press - U of Chicago P.


For work of shared responsibility amongst two or three authors you cite all the names but give credence to the hat named author as having made the greatest contribution to the intellectual output of the work.


Ohikhokhai, Rudy I., Koyode Iyasere and Peter Ohimai

If a work has more than three Authors only the first named is acknowledged, i.e. the surname followed by a coma and the Latin abbreviation et. al or the expression and others e.g. in the above mentioned authors take Ohikhokhai, Rudy I. (2005) . . . et al.


(a) For Bibliographic Citation of titles of Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Plays, Movies, Works of Art, and Computer software. Also long poems published in book form are underlined.

(b) Religious books e.g. the Bible and the Quran are not underlined. However, the Bible, where there are versions e.g. King James Version can be underlined.

(c) Quotation Marks (“ ”) must be placed at the opening of a quotation and the end of the quotation, immediately after the Period (.). When citing titles of Articles, Essays, Newspaper Articles, Lectures, Poems, Short Stories, Chapter Titles, TV or Radio episodes in a Series, Songs and Speeches.

(d) Capitalize the first and last words of a title and all other words except Articles (a, an, the), Conjunctions (and, or, but, for, nor, yet, so) and Prepositions of fewer than six letters (e.g., for, to, with). Observe this rule strictly even though the title is not capitalized in the Periodical Index or any other source used.

(c) A subtitle is part of the main title of a work. In citing a title with subtitle you will underline the main title and the subtitle and follow the main title with a colon before the subtitle which must begin with capital letter.


Librarianship in the Twenty Century: A dlscourse.

(f) Edition statement -- it is only a work from Second edition and subsequent editions that must be cited. First, edition is usually ignored.

Librarianshlp in the Twenty Century: A discourse, 2nd edition.


(a) Information - Periodicals:

In order to cite a well known magazine the title of the magazine should be (underlined), the (Date of publication followed by a colon) and the page numbers of the Article. No punctuation mark after the title of the magazine.


Politics Today, Feb. 2008: 82-87.
 Newswatch, Jan. 2007: 55-60

(b) For scholarly journals that are paged throughout, all the issues in one year are cited as follows:

Title of the Journal: Volume Number (an Arabic numeral), the Year of publication in parentheses (followed by a colon), and the page number of the article. In some cases, the issue number or the month and year in parentheses will be necessary.

Modern drama 8 (2006): 58-71

(c) Abbreviate months of the year:
Except May, June, and July. Put a period at the end of the abbreviation.

(d) For magazines published weekly:

     Cite the full date in the order of Day, Month, Year.

(e) For newspapers:
Cite the following publication information: name of the Paper (underlined), and the Page(s) on which the Articles appeared.

Guardian 17 Jan. 2005: 25.

(f) If for instance the newspaper has numbered sections:
Provide the section number, with the abbreviation “sec.” after the date.

Nigerian Vanguard 1 Jan. 2009, sec. 2:9

(g) If the newspaper has lettered sections:
Add the appropriate letter before the page number, without a space.

African Post 19 Feb. 2003: C2.

(b) If the newspaper appears in more than one edition in each day:
Include the edition name after the Date.

Ambrose Alli University Journal 15 Apr. 2005 Harmattan ed.: 21.

(i) If you are citing the name of the newspaper:
Omit the initial Article, even if it is the paper’s heading e.g. The Nigerian Guardian Newspaper would be cited as Nigerian Guardian with article "The" omitted.

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