The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison

Format the references list


Type the word "References" at the top of a new page, centered.


All entries should be double-spaced, unless your assignment instructs you otherwise.


Although the current Publication Manual advises standard (five spaces, first line) indention for the references list, this is primarily designed to make typesetting easier; the typeset version will have hanging indents (first line flush left, following lines five spaces indent).

If your final version will be turned in for a grade rather than publication, we recommend that you use hanging indents for enhanced readability. We have formatted our sample references list with hanging indents.


In a reference list entry for a book and for the title of a journal article (not the title of the journal, but the title of the article in a journal), capitalize only the first word of the title, the first word of the subtitle, and any proper nouns (the name of a person or a city, for example).

In a reference list entry for the title of a journal, capitalize every significant word (in other words, in the title of a journal, capitalize any word *except* for prepositions or conjunctions ["of," or "in," or "and," for example, should be lower case, unless one it's the first word of the journal's title]). For examples, see the sample reference list entries.


Use a comma to separate

  • surnames from initials
  • a newspaper title from p. or pp.
  • a journal title from volume number
  • a volume number from page numbers
  • when given, an issue number from page numbers
  • (Ed.) from book title
  • city of publication from state