Using BibTeX, how can I make the bibliography multicolumn?

Since my bibligraphy stretches over several pages I would like to make only these pages multicolum (2 columns) and maybe also make their text size a bit smaller than the document standard.

How is this possible?

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A simple way is to load the multicol package and then use

\begin{multicols}{2}
\bibliography{<bibfile>}
\end{multicols}

EDIT: A problem with the above solution is that References appears in the first column, at the same level as the bibliography. For the standard classes, a (better) alternative is the following:

\usepackage{multicol}
\usepackage{etoolbox}
\usepackage{relsize}
\patchcmd{\thebibliography}
  {\list}
  {\begin{multicols}{2}\smaller\list}
  {}
  {}
\appto{\endthebibliography}{\end{multicols}}

and then use the standard way in which you insert your bibliography.

In this way the (section) heading for the reference/bibliography appears before starting the columns.

Different classes might need different patches.