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University Library

Chicana/o and Latina/o Literature

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

So you’ve been assigned an annotated bibliography . . . what does that mean?

An annotated bibliography is a descriptive list of resources (books, articles, films, sound recordings, Web sites, etc.) focusing on a common theme. Each entry in an annotated bibliography has a full citation and an annotation, and can range from a few sentences to several paragraphs.

The citation provides information about the author, title, date, source, and publisher of the item. Citations should be formatted according to one of the style manuals: MLA, APA, CBE or Chicago/Turabian. See Citations Styles for more information.

The annotation is a concise and informative description that summarizes and evaluates the contents of a resource. It differs from an abstract, which just summarizes the original content. An annotation usually strikes a balance between summary and evaluation by addressing some of the following:

  • Describe briefly the contents of a resource
  • Evaluate the usefulness of the item for the particular topic being studied
  • Highlight strengths or weaknesses
  • Discuss the reliability of the author or source
  • Critically evaluate the content for accuracy, bias and coverage

Examples:

In MLA Format:

Miller, Jonathan and Borin Van Loon. Darwin for Beginners. New York: Pantheon Books, 1982.
In this fresh approach to the history of Charles Darwin, the authors
present biographical, social and historical facts about Darwin’s life and theory in
the fashion of a graphic novel. Clearly written as an introduction to the topic, this
book does not give the depth or detail of more lengthy books on the subject.
However, with its novel presentation, it is a superb book for audiences curious
about the man who kicked off one of civilization’s biggest controversies.

In APA Format:

Preston, W. (1981). Vanishing landscapes: land and life in the Tulare Lake Basin. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
The author explores the impact of human dominated landscapes and cultural creations
upon the regional identity of the Tulare lake Valley Basin (just to the north of the Los
Angeles Basin). It is a microcosm of the much larger transformation that occurred
southward and an opportunity to understand the processed that affected Los Angeles.
From environmental alterations to the arrival of the railroad to the rise of agribusiness's
world farm and the waning regional identity of the area's inhabitants, the book offers
insight into the changing landscape of Southern California between 1770 and 1980.

For more information