Answered By: Berkeley College Library
Last Updated: Sep 08, 2023     Views: 1737

Here is a great definition from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab:

"A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using. A bibliography usually just includes the bibliographic information (i.e., the author, title, publisher, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources."

You may be asked to create an annotated bibliography as an assignment in one of your courses. This usually means you will find a number of sources on your chosen topic, and provide a citation as well as both a summary of that source and a description of how that source will help you in your research.  Always check with your instructor for specific assignment guidelines.

Depending on your project or the assignment, annotations may do one or more of the following:

Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic.
Source: "Annotated Bibliographies." Purdue Online Writing Lab. Purdue University, 2013. Web. 16 March 2015.
You can find more information from the Purdue OWL-Annotated Bibliographies section.
See the videos below for more information on annotated bibliographies.


  • What's an Annotated Bibliography? from Brock University Library

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