An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) 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 vs. Abstracts
Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.
Process of creating an Annotated Bibliography
First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.
Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.
Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that:
- evaluate the authority or background of the author;
- comment on the intended audience;
- compare or contrast this work with another you have cited; and,
- explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.
CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 Annotated bibliography content created by Research & Learning Services, Olin Library, Cornell University Library, Ithaca, NY, USA.