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Annotated Bibliographies

Research Librarian

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This Guide was created by Carolyn Swidrak (retired).

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of sources* that provides publication information and a brief description of the content and scope of the source.  The first part of an entry in an annotated bibliography is the citation of the source, in the citation format specified (such as APA or MLA).  The second paragraph is the actual annotation.

Annotations are a summary and review of a source.  It is similar to an abstract **, but while an abstract simply describes the content, the annotation both describes and evaluates the content.  It evaluates the source in terms of quality and relevance to the research subject.  One of the goals is to state why the source is relevant to one’s own research, and why it was chosen for the bibliography.

Annotations may answer these questions:

  • Why was this piece written (purpose of book, article, etc.)?
  • What is it about (description)?
  • What is the author trying to prove (argument)?
  • What is the author’s credentials?  What makes him or her an authority on this subject?
  • Who is the piece written for (intended audience)?
  • Are there limitations or shortcomings in this piece?  What are they?
  • Why is it valuable or useful to your research?


*A source may be any piece of information:  article, book, website, video, blog, etc.

** An abstract is simply a short summary or description of the contents of a source.  An abstract is typically found at the beginning of a journal article or on its own in a database index. 

Smarthinking Online Tutoring and Writing Review

Regis Online students have access to Smarthinking, which is a link within Moodle.  Within Smarthinking is a section called Study Aids which contains a chapter on Annotated Bibliographies.


For more information...

Listed below are websites that can provide more in-depth information on how to construct an annotated bibliography, including samples.

If you have more questions, librarians are happy to help.  Email us... or stop by, call or make an appointment!