The purpose of an annotated bibliography is to concisely and accurately give readers an understanding of the content and usefulness of the listed texts. Depending on the compiler’s purpose, an annotated bibliography may or may not include subjective words or opinions.
Use the steps to compile an annotated bibliography.
Look at Examples
Consider these three examples. Note the differences in each documentation style: MLA, APA, and Chicago.
Example 1: MLA Style*
Ward, Annalee R. Mouse Morality: The Rhetoric of Disney Animated Film. Austin, TX: Texas UP, 2002. Print. In this forthright book, communications Professor Annalee Ward questions the Disney corporation's motives in teaching a very slanted sort of morality. She analyzes the moral content of The Lion King, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan, Hercules, and Pocahontas. In her critique of The Lion King, Ward says that although when Simba and Nala are young, Nala is the "quicker and stronger" of the two, as adults they find themselves in the stereotypical gender roles, where "[Nala's] role is strictly that of helpmate" (19). Suitable for a high school audience. Pref., Notes, Index, 181 pp.
*The first line of each entry is flush with the left margin. The second line and any subsequent lines are indented ½ inch. Use the MS Word Format Paragraph function to create hanging indentations. (Formatting issues on our website prevent us from using the hanging indent.)
Example 2: APA Style
Watts, S. (1997). The magic kingdom: Walt Disney and the American way of life. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Steven Watts, Department of History chair at the University of Missouri, presents a thorough account of the clashes and controversies, as well as the many colorful triumphs, of Walt Disney as creator of the Mouse, studio chief, family man, and dreamer. This book also explores the connection between global events, such as World War II, and happenings in Disney's fantasy world. The work focuses on Disney's "bold moves in animation, live- action films, and the [then] new medium of television" (Watts, 1997, p. 285).
Example 3: Chicago Style
Cornell, T.J. The Beginnings of Rome. London: Routledge, 1995.
True to its name, this book offers excellent accounts for the early Roman state. While covering some of the same topics discussed in Bloch’s The Origins of Rome, Cornell covers every major aspect of Roman life from the Bronze Age to the Punic Wars that raged from 1000 BC to 264 BC. Cornell begins by examining the sources we use for determining how things were in the early Roman period. He then goes into a somewhat lengthy discussion about the origins of Rome, followed by the rise of the Roman city-states, early reforms, and the beginnings of the Roman Republic. This, like Bloch’s work, is an in-depth look at the early Roman states that gives the reader a full view of what early Rome looked like and how it functioned.
Analyze the Content
Summarize and analyze the content of the sources, one by one, defining the purpose, main topics, scope, and significant features. List this information on the corresponding note card. Significant features might include the use of illustrations, footnotes, examples, and bibliographies, as well as the suitability of the material to the intended audience. To determine the purpose, main points and scope, scan the table of contents, the introduction and conclusion, headings, and bullet points, etc.
Format the Entry
Format your entry like the examples above. Use our MLA, APA, and Chicago formatting guides to appropriately cite each source; those guides can be found here.