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Creating bibliographies and annotated bibliographies: What is an annotated bibliography?

This guide provides information on how to create a bibliography or works-cited page for a paper or publication.

Annotated bibliographies

An annotated bibliography is a first step in writing a literature review for a research project or a paper.  It has the citations for all the references used in the paper, formatted according to the style that you will use and a short paragraph that 1) summarizes the article 2) describes the author’s conclusions and 3) evaluates the information.  It should not be a paraphrase of the abstract.  Annotated bibliographies help writers avoid plagiarism by summarizing with their own words.

Annotated bibliographies assigned as a class requirement may have somewhat different requirements.

An Example of an Annotated Bibliography APA Style

From the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

Formatted example of an APA style annotated bibliography

"The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research."

The Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) provides additional examples of annotated bibliographies in other styles.

Using bibliographic software to create an annotated bibliography

Bibliographic software makes creating an annotated bibliography very easy.  As you read the appropriate publications, enter the information into your EndNote library.  Additional information is provided below.

How to create an annotated bibliography with EndNote

  1. Select the citation you want to annotate.
  2. Double click the citation to open and edit.
  3. Scroll down the page to find the Research Notes (or whatever field you have chosen for your annotations).
  4. Type your notes (annotations) into the Research Notes field.
  5. EndNote will ask you if you want to save your changes.

Once you have completed your annotations, you can download the bibliography using the “Export” function under "File" on the top menu bar in the style necessary for your publication or assignment. 

APA has an annotated style built into EndNote.  It can be selected using the Style Manager under the Tools -> Output Styles -> Style Manager menus.  If you are not using APA, you can create an annotated style.