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Annotated Bibliographies: Home

What's an Annotated Bibliography?

The most common type of bibliography is the list of sources located at the end of a research paper, an article, or a book. The bibliographic citation entries include basic publication information about each source, such as author, title, publisher, date and page numbers. The purpose of such a bibliography is to let the reader know which sources were used to write the paper, article or book, and to help the reader locate those original sources, if desired. This type of bibliography also goes by other names, such as Works Consulted or Works Cited, depending on the citation style being used.

An annotated bibliography is more substantive. It includes not only citations for the sources used, but a short annotation of each source. This provides the reader with additional information about each source. The content of an annotation varies. It might summarize, evaluate, and/or critique a source, among other things. The length of an annotation also varies, but is generally just a few sentences or a paragraph. The citation style used to create the annotated bibliography (APA, MLA, Turabian, etc.) is up to your professor.

The following web sites may be of assistance to you when creating your annotated bibliography. These sites are provided for general assistance only. Because the format, content and length of annotations vary, please ask your professor for guidelines to follow when beginning your assignment.

  • Annotated Bibliographies - (Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), Purdue University)
    Definitions of and reasons for an annotated bibliography, and brief information on what an annotation might contain.
  • Annotated Bibliography - (The Writing Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
    Provides explanations of four different types of annotations: indicative, informative, evaluative, and combination, with an example of each (see the "What Goes Into the Content of the Annotations" link). Also includes a brief discussion on what formatting style and writing style to use.
  • Bibliographies - (University of Kansas Writing Center)
    See section on writing an Annotated Bibliography. Brief explanation of an annotated bibliography, along with information on two types of entries: descriptive and evaluative. An example of each type is given.
  • How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography - (Olin and Uris Libraries, Cornell University, New York)
    A brief explanation of what an annotated bibliography is, as well as an example annotated entry for a journal article in both APA and MLA styles.
  • Write an Annotated Bibliography - (University Library, University of California-Santa Cruz)
    Information on the composition and purpose of an annotated bibliography. Examples of annotated entries in two writing styles—phrase style and complete-sentence style—are given.
  • Writing an Annotated Bibliography - (University of Minnesota-Crookston Library)
    Brief listing of the possible content of an annotation and the different purposes of an annotated bibliography. Two examples of annotated entries in APA style are given.

Helpful Resources

The following books are kept at the Reference Desk on the second floor of Andersen Library. Some titles also have copies in the Main Collection which can be checked out; check Research@UWW. The citation style manuals for MLA, APA, and Turabian are useful when creating bibliographic citations; however, for guidance on the format, content, and length of your annotations, please talk to your professor.