Edith Hamilton Library

Annotated Bibliography

I. What is an annotated bibliography?

It is a list of citations (in a standard format) to sources with brief notes (annotations) explaining (and perhaps evaluating) the quality of each source.
  • A citation is the precise information needed to locate an item
  • An annotation tells with brevity what the source contains and its usefulness.

II. Citation Information:

  • MLA (Modern Language Association) - used by the Follett Cataloging System, and therefore useful in compiling bibliographies using its patented 'Bookbag' feature; acceptable here at Bryn Mawr.
  • APS, Chicago Style, Turabian, etc-other standards that are popular in the U.S.
  • Main idea: provide enough information for another person to find the exact source used and cited by the author. Elements include author, title, place of publication, publisher, date (for book); author, title, journal title, volume, year (for journal); author, title, publisher and website address and date accessed for Internet site.
III. Sources may be found in many formats:

  • Books (including reference books)
  • Magazines, a.k.a. journals, periodicals, newspapers
  • Internet sites (freebies)
  • Electronic databases (not freebies; usually require passwords)
  • Audiovisual materials
  • Maps
  • Miscellaneous -- pamphlets, reports, transcripts of court proceedings, interview transcripts, transcribed phone conversations, etc.

IV. Sources for library research may be found in...

  • Library catalog
  • Electronic databases
  • Periodical indexes
  • Internet
  • Lists of readings, bibliographies, notes from sources already found

Written Annotations:

  • Purpose: who was this source written for?
  • Form: book, article, cassette tape, etc.
  • Arrangement: organization of the material -- is there a table of contents, an index, and list of chapters, bibliographic notes, a bibliography or list of sources?
  • Are the author(s), editor(s) or publisher(s) authorities in their fields? Can you tell?
  • Currency: how up-to-date is the material?(Be careful here -- some books retain value for a long time; a book copyrighted in 2002 may be much less useful and well-written than one written in 1980)

VI. Writing Style for Annotations

  • Brevity is the soul of the good annotation
  • Pithy (meaningful) it should be too, as Yoda might say
  • When in doubt, use full sentences. Phrases are also acceptable if specified by teacher.
Last updated: March 2007
Located in Baltimore, Maryland, The Bryn Mawr School is a private all-girls kindergarten, elementary, middle and high school with a coed preschool for ages 2 months through 5 years. Bryn Mawr provides students with exceptional educational opportunities on a beautiful 26-acre campus within the city limits. Inquisitive girls, excellent teaching, strong student-teacher relationships and a clear mission sustain our vibrant school community where girls always come first.