Beyond Wikipedia: Background & Reference Sources

Using Bibliographies

Published bibliographies are written by subject experts familiar with the deep scholarship in their areas. 

Bibliographies are well worth seeking out because they can help you identify the literature relevant to your topic that may not be indexed in catalogs or databases, going far beyond what might be discoverable with a keyword search.  

Bibliographies often "include nuggets that can be found only by serendipity, focused browsing, and persistent research over many years in obscure sources that may not be digitally accessible" (Mann, 169).

The most helpful bibliographies break down large subjects into narrower subtopics and include author indexes and subject indexes that allow you to zero in on the more arcane aspects of broad topics.

In addition to published, stand-alone bibliographies on specialized topics, look for bibliographies in books, dissertations, journal articles, and reference sources. 

Source: Mann, Thomas. The Oxford Guide to Library Research. Fourth ed., 2015, 169-186.

Find Bibliographies in the Library Catalog

Use the Advanced Search feature in CUNY+, OneSearchWorldCat, or other library catalogs, and add the word "bibliography" as an additional Subject term to find bibliographies on your topic. 

Also try searching on the subject term "bibliographies" for additional results.

For help identifying the Library of Congress Subject Heading (LCSH) for your topic, consult the Library of Congress Authorities online. 

Sample searches:
Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 -- Bibliography
Socialism -- Bibliography
United States -- History -- Bibliography

N.B.  Many published bibliographies have call numbers beginning with Z for Bibliography, Library Science, and Information Resources (General), and thus will not be shelved with other books on a subject.

Writing Annotated Bibliographies

The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers a succinct guide to writing annotated bibliographies that includes examples, sample entries, and definitions.  Find it online in the OWL under Annotated Bibliographies.