an•no•ta•tion: n. 1. The act or process of furnishing critical commentary or explanatory notes. 2. A critical or explanatory note; a commentary.
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., Houghton Mifflin, 2009.
What is an Annotated Bibliography?
A list of citations for books, articles, websites, and other materials where each citation is accompanied by a brief descriptive and evaluative statement, called an annotation.
Annotations are different from the abstracts you will find accompanying journal article citations in online databases. Abstracts are descriptive. Your annotation must extend beyond the descriptive element to include an evaluation of the book or article.
An annotated bibliography is a tool for exploring a topic of interest. The process of reading and reflecting on the materials you find in the gathering part of the research process can help you understand the topic, identify multiple perspectives, explore different methods used to investigate the topic, and give you ideas for developing the thesis for your paper.
How are Annotations Created?
Questions to consider when evaluating the item and writing your annotation include:
The MLA Handbook, Ninth Edition guidelines for an annotation are to indent the annotation one inch from the start of the entry to distinguish it from the half-inch hanging indent of the entry. The annotation is double spaced with no gap between the citation and the annotation.
Annotation should be no more than one paragraph; however, if you need several paragraphs, indent each one but do not add an extra space between paragraphs. Follow your instructor's guidelines on the length and format for your specific assignment. Below is an example of an annotated bibliography in MLA 9th edition style.
Annotated Bibliographies. University Libraries, U of Nevada Las Vegas, www.library.unlv.edu/, 2018.