Skip to Main Content

IDST 150 Honors Rebekah Taveau

What is An Annotated Bibliography

What Does "Bibliography" Mean? Or "Annotated"?

A bibliography is a list of sources - books, articles, websites, videos, sound recordings, reports, whatever.

When you write a research paper, your Works Cited page (or References page) is the bibliography of sources mentioned in your paper. A bibliography can be short (like for this assignment) or long (bibliographies for Wikipedia encyclopedia articles average around 40 citations). There are even book-length bibliographies, for example: La Verge Rosow's book Light 'n lively reads for ESL, adult, and teen readers: a thematic bibliography has lists of books suitable for ESL students, arranged by topic.

The word annotated means that the author has added notes to the citations in their bibliography. For example, the article entitled Beyond "The Lorax": Examining Children's Books on Climate Change, by George Boggs et al. in the journal Reading Teacher, explains why they recommend each of several books to use in teaching children environmental awareness. 

What's the difference between an annotation and the abstract for an article? For an explanation (plus examples), see:

Writing Your Annotations

It explains that:

"Depending on your project or the assignment, your 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?

Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.".