bibliography tutorial

to the teacher:

this is a short tutorial on how to build a brief bibliography. its initial audience is the community college student. however, it can be adapted to other student's needs.

this tutorial was built to be as accessible as possible. it can be used in a number of activities both in the synchronous and asynchronous classroom. it is built entirely on html, javascript and css, with minimal dependencies or libraries. the way it's built makes it possible to work in any device with an internet connection and a modern browser. it even works offline if hosted locally.

this tutorial is fully accessible according to the w3c accessibility standard . it is properly and logically marked up. it can be read and made sense of by most screen readers.

except otherwise noted, this tutorial is licensed under the mit license. this means that, if you find this code useful, you can use it, copy it, share it, change it, name it, make it your own, make fun of it, put your name on it, sell it, mock it, pretty much anything except buy it.

if you are buying this, you are getting ripped off.

you can get this code from my github here.

if you have any questions, please send to

to the student:

this tutorial will teach you the basics of building a short bibliography.

by the end of it, you should have a topic, some useful keywords, and an annotated bibliography that you can save as a .pdf and send to your teacher for grading.

if you rather print this worksheet and fill it up by hand, you can find the .pdf file here

let's get started. please type your name and click the button below:

part one: choose a topic and compose a research question

my goal with this tutorial is to help you build a simple bibliography, using resources both from the library and the web, using a step-by-step process.

our first step is to pick a general topic you would like to research and turn it into a research question.

if you were researching the topic of pollution in general, an example of a research question would be:

how does pollution affect my community?


how do micro-plastics pollute, exactly?

write down your topic and your research question.

part two: find keywords and develop a search strategy

now that we have a topic and a research question, we can come up with a search strategy.

there are many methods to do this, and many people don’t use a method at all.

we will develop a search strategy by establishing:

note down what you know about the topic, what you don't know, and how reliable is what you currently know.

part three: find a book citation using the library catalog

after all this, you should have a research question, some useful keywords, and possible sources of information to begin your search.

the next step is to find a book in the library catalog.

because of the nature of books and monograms (usually a general subject discussed in breadth), it is better to start your search broad, no more than one or two keywords per search.

go to the library catalog and type your keyword(s) into the search field.

click the search button.

click on one of the entries to look at it more closely.

the book's description will tell you if it's something you might want to use in your research.

once you find a book you want to use, click the citation (") icon. choose the appropriate style.

copy the citation and paste it in the book citation box below. then write a short paragraph explaining why you chose this book to include in your research.

add your book's citation and annotation.

part four: find a citation for an article from the library databases

for this part, we will use the library databases. make sure you have your student login and password to access the library resources.

since we are dealing with academic journal articles (very specific topics, usually dealt in more depth than breadth), we can and generally should be specific in our searches, adding or omitting keywords as we find information until we find articles as close to what we want as possible.

below you will find a subject list dropdown menu. select the subject based on your class, click the button to go to the list of library databases chosen for your class.

pick a database by clicking the link. once in the database, pick an article, produce a citation for it with the tools provided, copy and paste the citation in the article citation box below.if you need assistance navigating the databases, ask a librarian for help .

write a short paragraph explaining why you chose the article in the article annotation box.

add your journal article's citation and annotation.

part five: find reliable sources on the web

often times, you will have to venture out of the library and into the web to find information on your topic. it may even be your preferred source of information.

the problem is that it becomes more difficult for you to determine if the information you find in a web page from the internet comes from reliable sources.

to produce a more reliable list of search results, I recommend searching the web by domain, using site: and .com, .org, .edu, .gov, ot .int, as the topic might suggest.

look for a website with information related to your topic, searching by domain or using wikipedia.

once you find it, copy the url and produce a citation using one of several citation generators.

lastly, write a short paragraph explaining why you chose this website for your research.

add your website's citation and annotation.

how to pdf this

in chrome: type chrome://print or click on settings/print. select destination print to .pdf.

in safari: command+P/click PDF button/save as .pdf.

in firefox: install add-ons first, then click file/print to .pdf.

blank .pdf file

.pdf file here