Annotated Bibliographies

This handout is available for download in DOCX format and PDF format.



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, date, etc.).

An annotation is a summary and/or evaluation. Therefore, an annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of the sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following.

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.

Why should I write an annotated bibliography?


The format of an annotated bibliography can vary, so if you're doing one for a class, it's important to ask your instructor for specific guidelines.

You can focus your annotations for your own needs and the requirements of your assignment. In general, even one or two sentences of general summary followed by one or two sentences about how you can fit the work into your larger paper or project can serve you well when you go to draft.

Adapted from The Writing Lab & the OWL at Purdue and Purdue University, 2020.