Annotated Bibliography FAQ

What is an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography is a working list of sources that includes annotations, summaries, or evaluations of sources. According to the seventh edition of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers an annotated bibliography can also be called an Annotated List of Works Cited.

Where can I find a sample of an annotated bibiliography?
The library has created sample annotated bibliographies for both MLA Handbook and the Little, Brown Handbook . Ask your instructor for his/her specific requirements.

What sources should I use to find official examples of annotated bibiliographies?
The Little, Brown Handbook Compact Handbook, 7th edition, by Jane E. Aaron is the official handbook used in ENC 1101 classes at LSCC. It includes guidelines for MLA Citations as well as for APA citation. A sample entry for an MLA style annotated bibiliography can be found on page 379.

The official authority for MLA citation style is The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition. All other handbooks should use this as the starting point. A sample entry for an MLA style annotated bibliography can be found on page 130.

The official authority for APA citation style is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition. The manual does not include examples of annotated bibliographies.

What's included in an annotated bibliography?
An annotated bibliography includes a citation for the source in the appropriate style (APA, MLA etc.) and an annotation describing the source. The annotation can include a summary of the source, a critical review of the content, and commentary on the usefulness of the content towards your thesis. Your instructor will give you specific guidelines on what to include in your annotations.

How long do annotations have to be?
The length of annotations can vary depending on your instructor's guidelines. Always ask your instructor how much information to include in each annotation. For more information on the types of annotations and their length visit The Owl at Purdue page on annotated bibliographies.

What should my annotated bibliography look like?
Each source in an annotated bibilography should be cited following the same rules and guidelines used for a Works Cited page (in MLA style) or a References page (in APA Style).

Rules on spacing and formatting of citations and annotations vary between style manuals and handbooks. Neither the Little, Brown Handbook nor the MLA Handbook set specific guidelines for this, they just provide pictures of annotations. Always ask your instructor for his/her set of requirements.

According to the MLA Handbook (p. 130) the annotation for a bibliography begins immediately after the citation without any spaces or extra lines.

sample annotation MLA handbook

The example in the Little, Brown Handbook (p. 379) suggests that annotations begin one line after the citation and that the entire bibliography should be single spaced.

sample annotation Little, Brown handbook

How do I choose which rule to follow?

Since both the MLA Handbook and Little, Brown Handbook provide different ways of formatting the annotated biibliography, your instructor has the final say in which style you should use.

If you need more assistance consult the sample annotated bibliographies for the MLA Handbook and the Little, Brown Handbook. Ask your instructor for his/her specific requirements.

What if I have to use APA style?

The library has created a sample APA annotated bibliography. This sample follows the citation guidelines for APA style and adds an annotation. Please ensure that your instructor will accept this style before submitting it.