In the references list (usually at the end of a book), I've noticed that authors like to include references to other materials. However these materials are not so-called "referenced" or "linked" at all throughout the entire book.

I was wondering why did they put that list there? Are they required to put a list of references for materials they have referred to and adopted information from?

Per the replies, I'm actually particularly interested in: Do we have to inform the authors of those books/materials, that we have the title of their books in our "bibliography" section ?

3 Answers 3


Usually a writer will include books that they either read or referred to as part of their research for their own book. Even though they may not quote specific passages from the original source, they are making sure that the reader knows that they had to seek additional information on one or more topics within their own book. They are not necessarily "required" to do this, but it is a good practice, just in case someone challenges you later and asks how you knew something about which you wouldn't normally have any knowledge.

  • do you mean that we can even put copyrighted stuff in our "reference" section ?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 1, 2011 at 9:03
  • Your "reference" section, whether it is a Bibliography or a Works Cited, as Kate pointed out, would not normally contain any actual content. Both are generally the titles and page numbers for any books or magazines that you used to obtain information. If you needed to have copyrighted content, you might make use of something like an Appendix, depending on the type of book you are writing. Sep 6, 2011 at 18:31

Sounds like maybe you're working through the difference between a Works Cited page and a Bibliography.

Works Cited pages are, as the title suggests, lists of the sources actually cited in the work. Bibliographies include all the sources the author consulted in writing the new work, whether they were directly referenced or not. This is based on the idea that the books contributed to the author's understanding of the topic, even if they weren't directly used.

Different fields have different conventions re. whether to use Works Cited or Bibliography.

  • Do we have to inform the authors of those books/materials that we have the title of their books in our "bibliography" section ?
    – Pacerier
    Sep 1, 2011 at 9:03
  • 1
    @Pacerier - Don't think you have to, but it's a nice thing to do. Sep 1, 2011 at 9:09

If a writer has written a historical, they will frequently add references to works about the time period or subject matter. I've seen this too with nonfictions about a certain subject matter, such as Stephen King's "Danse Macabre" (which is about the horror fiction/movie industry).

Heck, I've even seen some writers write stuff like "Please don't write me with x correction or whatever" or instructions to send inquiries to their agent or publisher. Writers don't want questions about how they wrote a book, so the references is there so if we want we can look up such information without bothering the writer.

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