Alphabetical list of bibliographic references following the APA rules

Put the bibliographic references in alphabetical order. Start with the surname of the first author of the source. The first author is the author who is named first in the source; it is not necessarily the author whose initial appears first in the alphabet. Sometimes it can be a problem because, for example, we have multiple publications by the same authors or authors with the same surnames.

Rule 1

Put alphabetically letter by letter and remember: “nothing always comes before something”.

  • Example 1: Alphabetically letter by letter
  • Swaen, G., comes before Swaenen, K.
  • Pater Ab, T., comes before Pater Batel, A. K. S.
  • Mascherano, B., comes before Mascher-Beno, T. S.

Rule 2

A prefix like M ’, Mc and Mac is cataloged according to how it is written and not how to pronounce it.

  • Example 2: Prefix like M ’, Mc and Mac
  • MacArthur comes before McAllister
  • MacNeil comes before M’Carthy

Rule 3

For sources with only one author, you go in order depending on the date of publication, putting first the oldest date and after the most recent one.

  • Example 3: One author with two publications
  • Swaen, B. (1996).
  • Swaen, B. (2012).

Rule 4

Sources with a single author come before sources with multiple authors, in case the first author is the same in both sources.

  • Example 4: An author comes before multiple authors when the first author is equal
  • Swaen, B. (2012).
  • Swaen, B., & Driessen, K. (1999). *

* Even if the date of publication of the source with multiple authors is earlier, an author always comes before multiple authors.

Rule 5

For sources with multiple authors with the first author in common, but the second and third different authors, it is based on the second author. If the second author is the same, we are based on the third author. And so on, it is based on the next author.

  • Example 5: Order according to the second, third author and so on
  • Swaen, B., & Driessen, K. (2004).
  • Swaen, B., Laak, R. van, & Schweinsteiger, B. (2003).
  • Woziaski, B. J., Totti, F., & Mascherano, K. (2009).
  • Woziaski, B. J., Totti, F., & Vidal, P. (2006).

Rule 6

For sources with the same multiple authors, this is based on the date of publication, as in the case of Example 3 of individual authors. The oldest source is shown first.

  • Example 6: Order according to the second, third and subsequent authors
  • Totti, F. J., & Schweinsteiger, B. (1999).
  • Totti, F. J., & Schweinsteiger, B. (2005).

Rule 7

For sources with the same author (or authors) and the same year of publication, you order according to the title of the source. Warning! We must not consider the prefixes (like Un, Il, etc.).

  • Example 7: Sort by title
  • Totti, F. J., & Schweinsteiger, B. (2005). Better home than away.
  • Totti, F. J., & Schweinsteiger, B. (2005). A view to a kill.

Exception to Rule 7

If the sources are articles that are part of a series of articles, they are sorted according to the series (Part 1, Part 2 and so on). You must enter a lowercase letter a, b, c and so on immediately after the date.

  • Example Exception to rule 7: Articles based on a series
  • Totti, F. J., & Schweinsteiger, B. (2005a). De halve finale uitgelegd.
  • Totti, F. J., & Schweinsteiger, B. (2005b). De finale uitgelegd.

Rule 8

If the first authors of different works have the same surname, they are sorted according to the initials of the name. It is necessary to indicate the initials of the name also in the reference to the source inside the third.

  • Example 8: First different authors with identical last names
  • Totti, F.J. (2010)
  • Totti, K.J. (2009)
  • Authors with a prefix

Many authors have a prefix in the surname (compound surname). Surnames with the prefix written in capital letters (ex. “De Rossi”) are found, in the alphabet, under the initial of the prefix itself. Other surnames have a prefix with a lowercase initial (ex. “De ‘Medici”, “van Persie”), which is instead added to the author’s name. See the following example:

  • Example 9: First authors with different prefixes
  • De Rossi, D. (2010)
  • Medici, M. de ‘(2010)
  • Persie, R. van (2010)

The rules regarding the prefix vary from other languages to English. In the English language, in fact, there are no prefixes. We have created some examples to illustrate these differences.

In conclusion

When the author is not a person but an organization does not influence the order of insertion in the bibliographic references. They are put in any case in alphabetical order.

The organization abbreviations are indicated before placing them in alphabetical order.

Only if the author is indicated in the references as “Anonymous” is used “Anonymous” instead of the author’s name.

If the author is not available, indicate the title of the source instead of the author.

When the name of the author / company begins with a number it is necessary to treat the number as if it were written in letters. If you want to put in alphabetical order a source with the name “6 Bandiere”, put it under the letter, “S” of “Sei”.