Create Annotated Bibliography Online
This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
Contributors: Geoff Stacks, Erin Karper, Dana Bisignani, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-09 12:16:22
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. 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.
For more help, see our handout on paraphrasing sources.
- 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?
For more help, see our handouts on evaluating resources.
- 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.
Why should I write an annotated bibliography?
To learn about your topic: Writing an annotated bibliography is excellent preparation for a research project. Just collecting sources for a bibliography is useful, but when you have to write annotations for each source, you're forced to read each source more carefully. You begin to read more critically instead of just collecting information. At the professional level, annotated bibliographies allow you to see what has been done in the literature and where your own research or scholarship can fit. To help you formulate a thesis: Every good research paper is an argument. The purpose of research is to state and support a thesis. So, a very important part of research is developing a thesis that is debatable, interesting, and current. Writing an annotated bibliography can help you gain a good perspective on what is being said about your topic. By reading and responding to a variety of sources on a topic, you'll start to see what the issues are, what people are arguing about, and you'll then be able to develop your own point of view.
To help other researchers: Extensive and scholarly annotated bibliographies are sometimes published. They provide a comprehensive overview of everything important that has been and is being said about that topic. You may not ever get your annotated bibliography published, but as a researcher, you might want to look for one that has been published about your topic.
The format of an annotated bibliography can vary, so if you're doing one for a class, it's important to ask for specific guidelines.
The bibliographic information: Generally, though, the bibliographic information of the source (the title, author, publisher, date, etc.) is written in either MLA or APA format. For more help with formatting, see our MLA handout. For APA, go here: APA handout.
The annotations: The annotations for each source are written in paragraph form. The lengths of the annotations can vary significantly from a couple of sentences to a couple of pages. The length will depend on the purpose. If you're just writing summaries of your sources, the annotations may not be very long. However, if you are writing an extensive analysis of each source, you'll need more space.
You can focus your annotations for your own needs. A few sentences of general summary followed by several sentences of how you can fit the work into your larger paper or project can serve you well when you go to draft.
Straight-Forward MLA Bibliographer Composer
Back in the day, composing a bibliography was a fairly simple procedure, as most information came from easily referenced books. The rise of digital technology results in students, academics and other professionals being faced with a bewildering array of sources. Without a suitable bibliography composer it’s easy to miss portions that require citation or cite incorrectly. Given the importance of avoiding plagiarizing or falsely attributing material, an APA style bibliography maker or MLA citation builder is now an essential tool.
Annotated Bibliography Builder in a Range Of Styles
Attribution styles vary depending on the type of copy being created; our versatile bibliography maker allows users to choose from MLA format works cites, an APA format bibliography maker, or the use of the Chicago works cited option. These options ensure that there's always a way of citing the material you've used in an appropriate way. If you're not sure whether an American Psychological Association (APA) citation builder or a Modern Languages Association (MLA) bibliography maker is best suited to your needs, the organization you're submitting to can normally advise.
Convenient, Accessible APA Works Cited and MLA Format Bibliography Maker
Rather than spending hours trawling the 'net or searching for the right way of citing, simply type the details of your source into our bibliography creator and we will do the rest. We can accommodate free works cited as well as information you've found online, in magazines, on the radio or through other forms of media. No matter how tough finding the right APA bibliography format can be, our database can usually come up with the works cited APA format you need for a successful submission.
Correct APA Bibliography Format Matters!
It's not just the case that a poorly constructed APA bibliography format will result in reduced marks or an increased likelihood of rejection; if you've wrongly attributed data without using a bibliography APA format maker, there's always the chance of contravening copyright and plagiarism laws. Why take the risk? For further information on our works cited APA format and more, mail us at Support@workscited4u.com.