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Information Literacy - or learning to do research: a life time skill: How do I create an Annotated Bibliography

What is an Annotation?


An “annotation” is 3-4 sentence description of a book, article, or other sources.  For example, if you were to read an article on prison reform, you would give a full citation for the article (in MLA form) and then explain the thesis of article as well as tidbits of information that you might take from the article to support claims in your speech. Summarize particular findings/statistic/claims that your article offers. 

If you’re reading a section of a reference book, summarize the central themes from that reference. 

You might also mention the credentials of the author, if given.

Writing an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography provides additional information about a work along with the bibliographic citation.

The annotation usually provides a summary of the work, an evaluation, and information about the author.  Some annotations are only a summary of the work.  Check with your professor to see what is required for your assignment.

The annotation is usually 1 to 2 paragraphs in length, about 100 to 150 words.



1. What are the main points of the work (article, books, etc.)?

2. What is the author’s position on the topic?  What credentials does the author have to speak to this topic?

3. Is there any bias?

4. To whom is the author writing?

5. How well does the author make his/her point?  Is the author convincing?

6. How useful is this work to your research?  

7. Are there important point that you want to remember?

8. What is your reaction to the work?

MLA - 8th ed. Annotated Bibliography SAMPLE


Hammer, Joshua. "Yemen Days Of Reckoning." National Geographic, vol. 222, no.

3, 2012, pp. 80-105. Academic Search Premier,

/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=79273934&site=ehost-live. Accessed 17

Nov. 2016.

The people of Yemen are caught between Al Qaeda and the pro-

democracy movements. Hammer having spent years covering Africa 

and the Middle East, provides a humanized perspective on the country 

since the Arab Spring (2012) teetering between democracy and Al-Qaeda 

dominance. Included in the democracy movement are several factions

with (al Houthis and al Hirak) separate goals for the leadership and their  

people. The photographs, taken by Stephanie Sinclair (a World Press 

contest winner) include many photos of families trying to live normal 

lives in this turbulent country. The article provides a good overview of

personal the political situation weaved with the political situation weaved

with stories of families and individuals.

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