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CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY,
THE LIBRARY

HOW TO WRITE AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
Revised by Jane Derry


An annotated bibliography is a list of books and/or articles with a note of guidance added to each entry.  Arranged alphabetically by author, each item includes all standard bibliographic information (i.e., statements of author, title, edition, place of publication, publisher, date of publication), and the annotation. 

The annotation is a brief description or explanation of material, intended as a 
guide for the reader.  It may be descriptive, indicating the major points of the work,
or evaluative, giving the annotator's opinion of the work.  While the annotation 
may be written in conventional sentence style, it is common practice to use an 
abbreviated telegraphic style, which omits introductory words and phrases, 
articles, and unnecessary modifiers. 

While annotations vary according to the personal taste and style of the annotator, 
they generally follow a format which begins with the principal point, presents 
subsidiary or supporting points, and concludes.  In an evaluative annotation the conclusion is often a recommendation of some sort. 

When writing an annotation keep the following points in mind: 

1.  Write clearly and concisely; 30-60 words will usually suffice. 

2.  State the authority and qualification of the author, if pertinent.

3.  Describe the subject and scope of the work.

4.  Indicate any bias or limits of the work.

5.  Indicate the intended audience of the work, particularly if any expertise 
     or lack thereof is necessary to appreciate the work.

6.  Compare the work to others in the field, if relevant. 

7.  Point out any features of importance, e. g., index, illustrations, etc. 

8.  Avoid repetition of information explicit in the title. 

The following annotated bibliography lists items for further reading and 
consultation.  It also provides ten examples of annotation to illustrate the 
various points mentioned above.  The works cited illustrate principles of layout 
and format as shown in Form and Style:  Theses, Reports, Term Papers.   
This is the second example.  Call numbers are not included in an annotated bibliography but are included here for your convenience. 


Berry, Dorothea M. and Gordon P. Martin.  A Guide to Writing Research 
          Papers
.  New York:  McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1972.  74, 123-129.  
          2 NORTH Reference LB 2369 .B36
                    Includes description of bibliographies which are annotated and 
          numerous samples of bibliographies listed under various subjects. 

Campbell, William Giles, Stephen Vaughan Ballou, and Carole Slade.  Form and
          Style:  Theses, Reports, Term Papers
.  8th ed.  Boston:  Houghton Mifflin
          Company, 1990.  112, 140, 143.  
          1 NORTH Reserve Book Room LB 2369 .C3 1990
                   Standard style manual describes briefly what an annotation is, 
          explains how to cite and type an annotated entry, and includes a page 
          long example of an annotated bibliography. 

Haines, Helen.  "The Art of Annotation," in Background Readings in Building 
          Library Collections
.  Ed. Mary Virginia Gaver, vol. 1.  Metuchen, N.J.:
          Scarecrow Press, 1969.  380-89.  4 NORTH Z 689 .G35 v. 1
                    Originally published in 1950 in her book Living with Books, the 
          author's advice to librarians is still valid.  It delineates points the annotation 
          should cover, and suggests how the annotator may achieve successful
          results.  Includes good examples of how and how not to write.

Harner, James L.  On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography.  New York: 
          Modern Language Association of America, 2000.  
          4 NORTH Z 1001 .H33 2000 
                    Includes:  compiling the entries, obtaining works, writing the entries, 
          final editing and indexing.  Very useful information. 

Katz, William A.  "Annotations," in Encyclopedia of Library and Information
          Science
.  Ed. Allen Kent and Harold Lancour, vol. 1.  New York:  Marcel
          Dekker, 1968.  424-429.  2 NORTH Reference Z 1006 . E57 v.1
                    Briefly defines, describes, and traces the development of annotation;
           suggests points to be covered; includes a reading list directed to those 
           writing subjective, evaluative annotations. 

Lester, James D. and James D. Lester, Jr.  The Essential Guide to Writing 
          Research Papers
.  New York:  Longman, c1999.  56-58.  
          2 NORTH Reference LB 2369 .L47 
                    "Preparing an annotated bibliography" lists samples of annotations
          including an annotated bibliography of internet and pamphlet sources. 

Lester, James D.  Writing Research Papers:  A Complete Guide.  7th ed. 
          New York:  Harper Collins College Publishers, c1993.  102-104, 121. 
          2 NORTH Reference LB 2369 .L4 
                    "Preparing an annotated bibliography" lists 9 examples of 
          annotations.  For instructions on writing the bibliography entries, see 
          chapter 9 for MLA style as shown on pages 102-104 or chapter 10 for 
          APA style.
                    "Using the Precis to write an annotated bibliography" gives 
          instructions for writing an annotation. 

McCrum, Blanche Prichard, and Helen Dudenbostel Jones.  Bibliographical
          Procedures and Style
.  Washington, D.C.:  Library of Congress, 1954.
          99-102.  4 NORTH Z 1001 .U63
                     This manual, originally written for bibliographies of the Library of
          Congress, suggests how to plan and compile a bibliography.  It includes 
          an appendix on annotation.  Written in simple, well-organized language, 
          this is a fine source for both the novice and experienced bibliographer.

Roth, Audrey J.  The Research Paper:  Process, Form, and Content.  7th ed. 
          Belmont, California:  Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1995.  226-227.
          2 NORTH Reference LB 2369 .R66 
                    "An annotation is a short statement that tells what is important or
          characteristic about a source."  Included is a list of comments you could 
          make with samples. 

Slade, Carole.  Form and Style.  11th ed.  New York:  Houghton Mifflin Company. 
          2000.  40, 132.  2 NORTH Reference LB 2369 .C3
                    Several extensive examples of annotations are given on p. 40 and 
          useful placement instructions on p. 132.



SOME INTERNET SITES AND RESOURCES 

Ask Jeeves.  http://www.ask.com/
          Type "annotated bibliography" in the box next to "Ask."  This site will give 
          you several suggestions for searching topics. 

Google.  http://www.google.com/
          Search using the phrase "how to write an annotated bibliography." 

Index of annotated bibliographies listed by subject.    
           http://www.nelson.usf.edu/reference/annotated_index.html 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT HEADINGS 

Abstracting 
Bibliography - Methodology




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Monday, April 3, 2002 14:56:10

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