Quick Links


Annotate Your Bibliography

What is the purpose of an annotation?

The purpose of an annotation is to describe the cited material, whether a book, article or other type of source. It is a brief, descriptive note that should provide sufficient information so that a determination can be made as to whether the source should be examined further for use. Annotations help to to clarify each source, and they will often provide evaluative information as well.

Annotations are NOT book reviews. Be wary as you begin to write your annotations that you do not create a book review. An annotation also differs from an abstract, in that the abstract is simply a summary of the content. The annotation provides more guidance to the reader in determining the usefulness of an individual work.

An annotation does not need to address each category below, but so far as possible, it should improve the decision making and simplify the researcher's work. Annotations can be any length, but are usually about 50 to 150 words in length.

Types of Annotations




Annotation Content



Intended Audience

Author Bias

Information Source

Author Conclusion


Relationship to Other Works

Significant Attachments

Examples of annotated bibliographies

Print a handout of this page.