State Library Victoria Essay Writing Skills

A bibliography is a list of the resources you used to write your essay. There are lots of different methods of writing bibliographies, but most secondary schools and universities use the ‘Author-date' (Harvard) system.

When using this system, you need to include slightly different information for different types of resources:


  • author's name – surname followed by first initial
  • year of publication of the edition you're using
  • title, in italics
  • publisher
  • place of publication, usually a city.

For example

One of the books used to write this site was Ned Kelly: a short life. It was written by Ian Jones in 2003, and published by Lothian Books in the suburb of South Melbourne in Victoria. In our references it appears as:

Jones, I 2003, Ned Kelly: a short life, Lothian Books, South Melbourne, Vic.

Magazines, newspapers & journals

  • author's name – surname followed by first initial, if there's a
  • year of publication
  • title of the article in single quote marks [‘...']
  • name of the publication, in italics
  • specific date, including volume number if applicable
  • page number.

For example

If there's no by-line and you don't know who wrote the article, record the:

title of the article

name of the newspaper


page number.

So your reference would look like:

‘Yorta people vow to fight on', The Age, 19 Dec 1998, p 8


  • name of the organisation or person who made the site
  • name of the site
  • date you looked at the site
  • complete web address

For example

If you used this site in an assignment you would reference it as:

State Library of Victoria, ergo, viewed 15 March 2011, <>

The main thing to remember about bibliographies and referencing is to be consistent. Check whether your teacher has a preferred system – if not, pick one and stick to it.

The following student templates support the development of essay writing skills.

Understanding the question [Word 9.1 KB]

This template helps students to break down an essay question so they understand what they need to do before they start to write or research their topic. For more information on breaking down essay questions, see the Essay question page of this site.

Essay plan template [Word 21.57 KB]

This template provides students with a framework for planning an argumentative essay. For more information on essay planning, see the Plan your essay page on this site.

Organising essay ideas [Word 13.46 KB]

This template supports students to physically manipulate and reorder ideas to help with impoving essay structure. For more information on essay structure, see The writing process page on this site.

Note-taking outline [Word 41.36 KB]

This template provides students with a basic note-taking framework. For more information on note-taking, see the Learn page Organise notes on this website.

Bibliography template [Word 19.88 KB]

This template provides a structure students can use to record references they find during the research process. For more information on referencing see Bibliographies and the Research skills sections of this site.


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