1. Home
  2. Introduction
  3. Information Cycle
  4. Investigating
  5. Searching
  6. Locating
  7. Evaluating
  8. Utilizing
  9. Ask a Librarian
  10. Acknowledgements


Annotated Bibliography

At some point in your college career, you will be asked to create an annotated bibliography.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and other resources. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph: the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited. Annotations are usually about 150 words.

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in subscription databases. Annotations, on the other hand, are descriptive and critical; they discuss the author's point of view, clarity, appropriateness of expression, authority, etc.

The Process

These annotations should include one or more sentences that:

  1. Evaluate the authority, background, and education of the author(s)
  2. Comment on the intended audience. For whom was it written (general public/any reader, subject specialists, college students)? What skill level or education level must the reader have?
  3. Compare or contract this work with another you have cited
  4. Discuss how this work explains your selected topic
Example of a Citation and Annotation in MLA Format

London, Herbert. "Five Myths of the Television Age." Television Quarterly, vol. 10, no. 1, 1982: pp. 81-89. Proquest Central, doi:10.1002/tox.20155.

Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles about the television industry, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: "seeing is believing"; "a picture is worth a thousand words"; and "satisfaction is its own reward." London uses logical arguments to support his ideas. He does not refer to any previous works on the topic. London's style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. In comparison to Smith’s article, this source was easier to understand and more relevant to my specific topic.

There are several examples of annotated bibliographies available online including this one from Purdue University: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/614/1/