Some terms can be confusing for people due to their similar sounds. But they are indeed different and have unique usage. Two such words are bibliography and biography.
Knowing the fundamental difference between them is imperative to use them properly.
- A bibliography lists the sources consulted during research, while a biography narrates a person’s life story.
- Bibliographies provide citations for books, articles, and other resources, but biographies focus on an individual’s personal and professional experiences.
- Authors compile bibliographies to credit sources and avoid plagiarism, while biographies aim to inform readers about a subject’s life and achievements.
Bibliography vs Biography
Bibliography refers to a list of sources that have been used to create a particular work, such as a book or article. Biography refers to a written account of a person’s life and can be written about individuals from any walk of life, such as politicians, artists, orhistorical figures.
The comparison table below shows the other features that differentiate between a bibliography and a biography.
|Parameter of Comparison
|List all the sources you gained information from in your documents.
|Somebody wrote a published story about a person’s life.
|Books, publications, journals, articles, and research papers.
|A person’s journal or memoir, family members.
|Bibliography of works cited selected bibliography, annotated bibliography.
|Historical fiction, fictionalized academic, academic, and prophetic.
|In-text citations and other materials you referred to in your work.
|Life experiences, childhood, education, career, relationships, death.
|To give credit to the author’s work you have consulted in your research.
|To inform, inspire, and motivate you through a person’s life.
What is Bibliography?
A Bibliography is a list of sources you mention at the end of your work to tell the readers all the materials you consulted in your research.
The aim is to provide the readers with all the literature you referred to in case they need to study those sources in detail. So, a bibliography comprises all the primary and secondary sources.
Students and researchers are taught the importance of a bibliography to avoid plagiarism. They have been adequately trained in the format of writing the bibliography section, which is crucial to their research quality.
Let us discuss three types of bibliography here:
- Bibliography of works cited
- Selected Bibliography
- Annotated Bibliography
In the bibliography of works cited, you mention only those items whose content you have noted in your career. It may contain the name of books and publications you have referred to.
In the selected bibliography, you list only the sources you think would be of significant interest to your readers.
If you decide to write a selected bibliography, you may need to inform your supervisor and give a good reason why you think you need a selected bibliography.
In an annotated bibliography, you mention a list of all the sources from books, articles, and research papers, along with a short description. This description aims to inform the readers of the relevancy and accuracy of the referenced items.
The most commonly used formats for bibliography are APA (American Psychological Association) and MLA (Modern Language Association).
The information is the same, but the way of arranging the details, like author name, publication year, or page number, differs in these two styles.
What is Biography?
A biography is a published story about someone’s life written by somebody. The biography of a person contains his life experiences, early childhood, education, career, and relationships.
The aim of writing a biography is to motivate people using some famous person’s life events.
Most people are exceptionally inspired by famous personalities and want to know more about their lives. Biographies play a crucial role in providing those inspiring stories for their readers.
On the other hand, some people are not having a good time and may be facing disappointments and hurdles in life.
But when they read the biographies of their favourite person, they come to know that these people had to face similar situations in life, but they never gave up.
Life was also never easy for them, but with hard work and dedication, they earned a place for them in this world. So, it also encourages the readers to tackle the problems in their life.
Let us discuss four types of biographies here:
- Historical Fiction
- Fictionalized Academic
In historical fiction, some fictional statements are added to the person’s real-life history to add value to entertainment. In the academic type, the biographies are strictly stuck to facts about that person’s life.
In fictionalized academics, some value of entertainment is added along with the factual accuracy of the person in the biography.
In prophetic biography, some spiritual goal is associated with a person’s life. One important thing to consider here is to seek permission from the person before writing their biography.
Main Differences Between Bibliography and Biography
Some of the features that differentiate between reference and citation are given below:
- A Bibliography is a list of all the sources you gained information from in your documents, while a biography is a published story written by somebody about a person’s life.
- A Bibliography is collected from books, publications, journals, articles, and research papers, while a biography is compiled from a person’s diary or memoir, family members, etc.
- The bibliography has types like the bibliography of works cited, selected bibliography, and annotated bibliography, whereas biography has types like Historical fiction, fictionalized academic, academic and prophetic.
- A bibliography includes in-text citations and other materials you referred to in your work, whereas the biography constant of life experiences, childhood, education, career, relationships, and death.
- The objective of the bibliography is to give credit to the author’s work you have consulted in your research. In contrast, a biography aims to inform, inspire, and motivate you through a person’s life.
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Emma Smith holds an MA degree in English from Irvine Valley College. She has been a Journalist since 2002, writing articles on the English language, Sports, and Law. Read more about me on her bio page.