A bibliography is a list of sources used in research. Because of the variety of sources available, many students find formatting a bibliography the most confusing part of a research paper assignment. These sites will ease your pain by showing you exactly how it's done. A few of them will even create bibliographic citations for you. Wow!
EasyBib is home to two subscription citation services and one free one, MyBib. MyBib creates bibliographic citations based on Modern Language Association (MLA) style. To begin, choose a source (such as an encyclopedia or cartoon), a media (such as CD-ROM or print). After filling in a few fields, your citation is created. Your entry can be saved (and later retrieved with a reference number) or printed to a Rich Text Format (RTF) file. Once you've downloaded the RTF file, it can be printed, or opened in your favorite word processor.
Quick Cite, from NoodleTools.com, is another MLA citation creator. It has fewer options than EasyBib, making it easier for younger students to use. To begin, click on the type of source, and then (following the example) fill in the requested fields. To transfer your citation to your word processor, use cut-and-paste. Unfortunately this method can insert a lot of excess formatting. To avoid this, use Paste Special, and then manually add any required underlining or italics.
Because the format of online information is so varied, citing online sources can often be the most confusing part of creating a bibliography. Excerpted from a print book of the same title, these pages show bibliographic examples for seven different online sources (including instant message, database and e-mail) in four major styles: MLA, American Psychological Association (APA), Chicago and Council of Biology Editors (CBE.) There is also an excellent FAQ on online research.
Bibliographies are not the only topic covered by MLA style. It also addresses formatting the rest of your research paper. "Do not make a title page for your paper unless specifically requested." What I liked best about this single-page MLA overview from Purdue University is the PDF version (look near the bottom of the page) to keep on your computer desktop for easy reference and printing. If your school asks for APA style instead of MLA, there is companion page at http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/research/r_apa.html .
Why are citations important? Because without them we are guilty of plagiarism, "using others' ideas and words without clearly acknowledging the source of that information." As promised by its title, this Indiana University site clearly explains what plagiarism is (with excellent examples) and how to prevent it. Of particular interest is the discussion at the bottom of the page of common knowledge (which doesn't require attribution) and the difference between fact and opinion (which always requires citation.)