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Writing an Annotated Bibliography: What Is It?

A general resource guide to writing an annotated bibliography. Your professor may have additional instructions for an assignment.

What is ...?

 A Bibliography

A bibliography is a list of cited works--journal articles, films, books--on a particular topic.   Bibliographies are also referred to as 'References', 'Works Cited' or 'Works Consulted'. 

Bibliographies consist of citations--information on the sources: author(s), date of publication, title, and publisher's name and location (and for articles: journal title, volume, issue and page numbers). Citations allow the reader to find the sources used in the writing of a work.

An Annotation

An annotation is a 100-200 word description or evaluation of a publication ---a journal article, newspaper article or magazine article, for example. 

 An Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliographies are descriptive and evaluative lists of resources. They may include citations to books, journal/magazine articles, web sites, or other materials. Annotated bibliographies start with a citation which is followed by a brief paragraph (the annotation, normally around 150 words) that describes and also evaluated the information.

Annotations are different than abstracts! Abstracts are only descriptive summaries of resources. Annotations are descriptive as well as critical; they look at the point of view of the author, clarity, authority, and usefulness of the source. 

Image source: Trounce.  Wikimedia Commons. CC BY 3.0.


Thanks to the librarians who contributed their content to this guide:

Vanessa Earp, Kent State University

Donna Miller, Lebanon Valley College

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