Create a bibliography

A bibliography or reference list is a complete list of all the books, articles, and other information sources you have used to help you write your essay or assignment.

There are many different ways, or styles, to create a bibliography or reference list. TAFE Illawarra uses the Harvard referencing style.

Referencing your work demonstrates that you have researched and considered the ideas of others in developing your argument. It provides the person marking the work with the specific names, dates and location of the information sources that you have used.

Referencing also ensures that you are not guilty of plagiarism.

It is a good idea to start referencing when you start your research. Make sure you acknowledge all sources as you go, and be consistent with your referencing style.

A serious man in a library, working on his laptop with piles of books by his side.

Things to do

Learn to reference correctly

Quick tips for referencing

  • Record the source details (e.g. author, title, year, page number), preferably electronically, as you take your notes. Don’t leave your referencing until you are writing your assignment or it will take much longer!
  • Record the URL or web address for any websites you use.
  • Use the Library Catalogue to get details of books and DVDs. Copy and paste these details into your bibliography.
  • In online databases, look for citation information, and copy this into your bibliography.
  • If you write a quote in your notes, make sure you add quotation marks ” “ so that you can tell the difference between something you have paraphrased and a direct quote when you look back later.

Watch this video to learn all the basics of referencing.


In-text references (citations) are used within the body of your assignment when you paraphrase or quote someone else’s ideas or opinions. Full details of the source must also be recorded in your bibliography or reference list.

Using quotes

  • Use quotes wisely and don’t use too many – no more than 10% of the essay or report.
  • Direct quotes (word for word) should be kept to a minimum.
  • Avoid making your essay/report just a chain of quotes, as this does not show any evidence that you have understood or evaluated what you have read.

Get help with referencing

It’s a good idea in the early stages of your course to make contact with your local campus Library staff and book a ‘how to reference’ session.