Bibliographies – how to read and look up citations

Use other bibliographies to expand your list of research materials!

Look at the bibliographies at the end of journal articles or in books that you’ve already found on your topic. A bibliography (a list of books, articles, etc.) is an instant “shopping list” of the best and most relevant sources on your topic.  Some are even annotated, with short descriptions of each entry.

How to read a citation

Do you know how to read citations?  When trying to find information found in a bibliography, you will need to identify WHAT an item it is: book, journal article, encyclopedia entry, conference proceeding, dissertation, etc.  The trick to identifying an item is looking for clues in the citation.  Use the following examples below as a guide.  Still having trouble identifying something?  Ask A Librarian!


One trick to identifying books is to look for a city name, followed by a publisher.  Book citations will always list the place of publication (in this example, London and Chicago), followed by the name of the publisher (University of Chicago Press).

book citation

Book Chapter

Citations for book chapters are very similar to whole book citations.  To distinguish between them, look for a chapter title, page numbers, as well as the city and publisher. Another clue is the word “In.”  “In” followed by the title of a book indicates that the citation is only for part of that item.

Book chapter citation

Journal Article

Journal article citations are similar to book chapter citations.  However, instead of a place of publication, journal articles will usually indicate a volume number, issue number and year of publication.  The page range for the journal article is usually indicated.  Online articles will often list the DOI or digital object identifier for the article.

journal citation

Newspaper Article

Newspaper articles are similar to journal articles; however, they often do not list a volume or issue number.  Instead, the full date is provided since many newspapers are daily publications.

Newspaper article citation

How to look up citations

Once you identify an item, it should be pretty easy to look it up.  Here are the best ‘go-to’ sources for finding what you need:

Once you identify an item, it should be pretty easy to look it up.  Here are the best ‘go-to’ sources for finding what you need:

  • Books:  Look up the title of the book in the Libraries’ catalogue,
  • Book chapter: Look up the title of the book inFindMore.
  • Journal article: Look up the title of the article in FindMore. If you are ever prompted to pay for an article when searching on the internet, use the NUS Proxy Bookmarklet to gain access. If you still can’t get access, look up the title of the journal in FindMore. 
    It is possible we may only have access to certain journal articles in print.
  • Newspaper article: For current articles, look up the title of the article in Factiva or LexisNexis.  For older articles, it may be helpful to refer to the Libraries’ newspaper and media studies subject guide to learn about other news-related online resources that are more historical.
  • DissertationsProquest Dissertations and Theses Global is a full-text resource for finding recent dissertations.  Search by title or author.

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Starting Your Research by University of California Santa Cruz, University Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.  Some content has been modified to suit the curricular and research needs of Yale-NUS College.  All changes are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.