I wonder if any member can help me decide if I should compile a bibliography or write references at the end of the non-fiction book I am writing on the culture of Primula auriculas. Or should I use both? I understand the difference between the two formats. Of the two books by different authors on the subject that I own, both use different formats. Confused! Help!
(Not a teacher)
If you understand the difference between a bibliography and a reference list, then there should be no problem knowing which is appropriate to use. In case anyone reading this does wonder what the difference is, and perhaps to show how what I think the difference is is probably not what someone else may think, I'll briefly mention it:
A bibliography is a list of sources of information which you looked at while writing your work. It is generally comprehensive, and relevant to the topic. For this reason, it's useful to guide readers to further sources of information, as Raymott said above.
A reference list is a list of all the sources of information which you referred to/cited in your work. That is, there is an associated reference somewhere within the body of your work that corresponds to the complete reference in the reference list. The purpose of the reference list is to allow readers to find the citation used in your work. Their reason for doing so might be out of interest; generally, when I'm reading something I often go 'Oh, I'd like to know more about that...' and head to the reference list. However, their reason might also be to make sure what you say about the citation is in fact what the citation meant.
The main difference is that a bibliography is useful; a reference list is essential.
I see bibliographies more in pieces of non-fiction that take the format of being a sort of workbook, or student book. That is, they usually include summaries, key points, many examples, and a further reading section - which would be the bibliography.
Reference lists are in all works of non-fiction, and they must be. Unless your work is completely new, and never before talked about, you need to credit what you are saying to the person who did originally say it.
To sum up then. I would say you need a reference list. A bibliography should be included if you want to show where people can look for more information. If a source of information is included as a reference, dont then include it again as an item in the bibliography.
Many thanks Linguist for the detailed reply; you have made up my mind I shall reference in the text and detail in a comprehesive list at the end of the work