Online bibliography tools

Learning intention

Students explore different online tools for recording resources and creating bibliographies.

Students will:

  • Develop texts, particularly descriptions and discussions that use evidence from a range of sources that are referenced 


There are many great online tools that help you and your students record references and create bibliographies. Students can read about tools in the Bibliographies section of Essay writing skills.

Another great resource is the teacher librarian at your school who can help you and your students with background information on referencing and styles.


  • Selection of books and other relevant print sources from the library
  • Student access to the internet


Ask students to list dot-points on why they need to record references.

Talk about:

  • avoiding plagiarism
  • making sure their ideas are based on relaible evidence
  • creating a research pathway others can follow.

Lead a short brainstorm with students on how they currently record bibliographic details of the sources they find.

Record ideas on the board. You can seed the idea of online bibliography tools at this point in the discussion.

Ask students to find three different sources on their research topic. It's important students include and explore different types of sources - books, websites, magazine or newspaper articles, films, pictures etc. Students can use print resources (books, newspapers etc.) along with information they find online.

Ask students to record their sources and reflect on the effectiveness of two of the bibliography tools listed below:

Encourage students to take time to work out how each tool works using tutorials provided on the web. How-to videos on Youtube, site FAQs and help pages provide a wealth of information to support them.

If your school has a preferred reference style let students know so they can format their bibliography correctly.

Give students time to collect and record their sources and export their notes and sources into a format they can share (e.g. Word).

As a class, do a quick PMI (Plus/Minus/Interesting) on each of the tools. Were any of the tools more efficient? Were there problems formatting particular types of resources? Were some tools easier/harder to use? What are the benefits of using online/offline tools?

More to explore

Once students are condfident using citation tools like Bibme, there are other very powerful referenceing tools to explore. Although possibly too complex for students, these tools may be useful for senior students and your own professional development.