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WD 5/14 annotated bibliographies: assignments: Annotated Bibliographies

Sample Annotations

Cornell University Library (2012)
How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography

Concordia University Libraries (2011) How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography

Memorial University Libraries of Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada (2009) How to Write Annotated Bibliographies


Handout: What is an Annotated Bibliography? pdf
Learning Centre, Univ. of New South Wales

Handout: Help in Writing Annotations
Cal State San Marcos--Includes EXAMPLES

Rubric: Annotated Bibliography Rubric
Cal State San Marcos

Rubric: Annotated Bibliography Rubric
UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library


A bibliography is a list of works (books, articles, films, web sites, etc.) on a particular topic, usually in alphabetical order.

The standard bibliography details the citation information of the sources: author(s), date of publication, title, and publisher's name and location (and for articles: journal title, volume, issue and page numbers).

An annotated bibliography includes a paragraph following each citation that describes and evaluates the work and may be either descriptive or critical of the contents of the item.

Descriptive Annotations

The annotation should include the complete bibliographic information of the work (citation).  In addition, a descriptive annotation may summarize:

  • The main purpose or idea of the work
  • The contents of the work
  • The author’s conclusions
  • The intended audience
  • The author’s research methods
  • Special features of the work such as illustrations, maps, tables, etc.

Critical Annotations

A critical annotation includes the same information as a descriptive annotation, but will also include value judgments or comments on the effectiveness of the work. When writing a critical annotation, include some of the these features:

  • The importance of the work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
  • The author’s bias or tone
  • The author’s qualifications for writing the work
  • The accuracy of the information in the source
  • Limitations or significant omissions
  • The work’s contribution to the literature of the subject
  • Comparison with other works on the topic

Purpose of Bibliographies

The primary purpose of bibliographic citations is to assist the reader in finding the sources used in the writing of a work.  An annotated bibliography may serve other purposes as well:

  • a review of the literature on a particular subject
  • illustrate the quality of research that you have done
  • provide examples of the types of sources available
  • describe other items on a topic that may be of interest to the reader
  • explore the subject for further research

Subject Guide

Jessy Polzer
Robert S. Swanson Library Learning Center
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