What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of resources on a certain topic with a description of each resource.

Each entry in an annotated bibliography should include all the information you would normally include in a list of works cited. For example, for a book you would include the title, author, publisher, place of publication, and year of publication. Be sure to use the appropriate bibliographic format (e.g., MLA, APA) required by your professor.

The bibliographic information is followed by an annotation, which can be just a few sentences or a paragraph and often both describes and evaluates the contents of the item. If you have questions about how detailed or evaluative your annotations should be, consult your professor.

Students often find it helpful to look at examples of annotated bibliographies. Skillman and Kirby Libraries have many books containing annotated bibliographies. To find some of them, go to the Lafayette Library Catalog and do a word search for the subject you're interested in and the words "annotated bibliography" (e.g., china and annotated bibliography).

An example of an entry from an annotated bibliography:

Wakeman, Frederic. History and Will: Philosophical Perspectives of Mao Tse-tung's Thought. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press, 1973.

In this analysis of Mao's thought, the author deals with a variety of historical and philosophical subjects which provide the intellectual background of Maoism. The central theme of the book is the contradiction between objective history and subjective will, which converge, according to the author, in the single focus of the cultural revolution.

(From China, compiled by Peter Cheng. Oxford: Clio Press, 1983.)