Bibliographies (Science and Engineering)


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Patricia Verdines
Engineering Librarian
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(614) 292-5557

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Creating a Bibliography (citing your sources)

  The importance of citing sources of information cannot be overemphasized.  The citation of a source provides the reader with the background necessary to validate (or invalidate) the value and accuracy of the information.  Additionally, citation rightfully gives credit to the authors, editors, and others who contributed to the publishing or dissemination of the information.

             There are a large number of styles to choose from in establishing a proper bibliography.  Submissions to journals typically must adhere to specific rules for the given journal.  Requirements in an academic coursework setting are usually established by the instructor.  The following example paragraph and its bibliography are based on the style required by the Journal of the American Chemical Society (The ACS Style Guide: Effective Communication of Scientific Information, Third Edition, edited by Anne M. Coghill and Lorrin R. Garson, Oxford University Press: New York, 2006).  This style is identical or very similar to the style used for most physical science and engineering papers. 


             [body of document] A proper bibliography (the list of references, usually found at the end of a paper) should allow the reader to easily associate each reference with specific information within the body of the paper.  For example, Buchheit’s work on corrosion potentials for intermetallic particles 1 is an example of a Journal Article with a Single Author.  In the case of a Journal Article with More Than One Author, such as Frankel and co-workers’ paper related to corrosion inhibition by vanadates,2 all authors should be specifically listed in the bibliography (unless there are more than ~15 authors).  It is perfectly acceptable to cite a source without specifically using the name(s) of the authors within the text.  For example, the same reference used in the preceding sentence can be used to support the idea that the speciation of vanadates is an important factor in determining its corrosion inhibition properties.2  Often, a resource is a Book Chapter or several Pages from a Book; Puls and Saake discussed industrially isolated hemicelluloses3 in a book entitled Hemicelluloses: Science.  This book was edited by Gatenholm and Tenkanen.  When references are numbered (such as in this example), the bibliography lists the references in the order they appear in the paper (not in alphabetical order).  For example, Cole’s book about corrosion4 would be listed last in this bibliography, because it is the last reference mentioned in this example.  These examples are the most frequently encountered resources, but the list of possible resources is long.  

              Bibliography [placed at end of document]

 (1)        Buchheit, R. G. J. Electrochem. Soc. 1995, 142, 3994-6.

 (2)        Iannuzzi, M.; Young, T.; Frankel, G. S. J. Electrochem. Soc. 2006, 153, B533-B541.

 (3)        Puls, J.; Saake, B. In Hemicelluloses: Science and Technology; Gatenholm, P., Tenkanen, M., Eds.; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2004, p 24–37.

 (4)        Cole, H. G. Corrosion; 2nd ed.; Butterworth: London, 1976.


Bibliographic Software

Learning how to use bibliographic software is a "must do" item for a scientific writer.  Each of the following are free and have online tutorials.

  Zotero (Tutorials) More on Zotero, including how to expand your storage.

 Endnote (free version)  (A more robust version of Endnote is available for purchase through OSU's Tech Hub)

Make the time to master one of the above.  You won't regret it.

More on Bibliographies

(articles, books, webpages, dissertations, etc.).

Complete chapter on citations from the ACS Style Guide (American Chemical Society's guide to scientific writing)

Bibliographic Software:

 Endnote (web-based, available freely within Web of Science with OSU’s subscription; click on "Products" in the upper menu bar and choose “Endnote”).  Getting Started with Endnote Web (full version is commercially available, ~$90 for student version at OSU's Tech Hub store)

 Refworks (web-based software licensed by OSU and available for OSU faculty, staff, and students)

 Zotero (open access, web-based bibliography software)

Mendeley (open access, web-based bibliography software)