Annotated Bibliography Samples
This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.
Contributors: Geoff Stacks, Erin Karper, Dana Bisignani, Allen Brizee
Last Edited: 2018-02-20 13:19:26
For a sample of an entry from an annotated bibliography entry in PDF, click on the downloadable file in the media box above.
Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.
As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.
Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.
Sample MLA Annotation
Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anchor Books, 1995.
Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecuritiesand failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters inLamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.
In the process, Lamottincludes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.
Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.
In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.
For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 2016 Formatting and Style Guide.
Sample APA Annotation
Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.
An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.
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.
For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide.
Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation
Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess. London: Routledge, 1998.
Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.
This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.
For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.
Presentation of Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji and Download Link
This page offers a general presentation of Marc-André Roberge’s book Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji and gives a link to download, free of charge, the complete PDF file.
Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji is the long-awaited biography of the English composer-pianist and critic by the musicologist Marc-André Roberge, author of the Sorabji Resource Site (inaugurated in August 2010). It was finally made available on the very day of 121st anniversary of the composer’s birth (14 August 2013) in the form of a fully searchable PDF file that can be downloaded at no cost and read on screen or printed and bound for easier reading. It is regularly updated to fix problems and take into account new findings.
Statistics: A book of truly Sorabjian proportions, Opus sorabjianum (as of version 1.16, dated 22 December 2017; previous version: 31 May 2017) consists of:
- 23 chapters grouped into 5 parts
- 4 appendices presenting
- a list of works (with dedicatees) for quick orientation
- a full catalogue of works
- a complete discography of 63 entries
- 101 musical examples (set with Avid Technology®’s Sibelius 6.2)
- an extensive bibliography of 697 titles
- 44 preliminary pages
- 583 text pages
- 325,013 words
- 2,087 footnotes
- 22-page index on 2 columns (prepared using 10,958 hidden index codes)
Bookmarks: Whereas the text file comes with a detailed index of names and subjects, the PDF file has bookmarks for each entry of the table of contents to enable quick navigation. The internal links make it possible to alternate between the reference to a musical example and the example itself, and between the section where a work is discussed and the catalogue entry.
Table of contents: A detailed table of contents (see a short version) shows the sections devoted to biographical information and thematic discussions. The presentations of the works may include all of the following:
- an account of the peculiarities of the manuscript (dedications or inscriptions, various notes)
- an explanation of the musical and extramusical references
- a presentation of the work’s compositional history and of the composer’s assessment, as found in letters and prepared statements
- biographical information about the dedicatee’s relationships with the composer
- a description of the most salient characteristics of the work’s formal structure and of its compositional language, in addition to — when applicable — an account of its first performance, when given by the composer himself or during his years of public life
Dedication:Opus sorabjianum is dedicated jointly to Paul Rapoport and Alistair Hinton, whose importance in the shaping of my Sorabjian activity cannot be underestimated. They have provided essential help from the very start of this huge research project. A full dedication will be found in the appropriate section of the book.
In 1985 Rapoport had made me the regal gift of a printout of a preliminary version of his catalogue of Sorabji’s works. This enabled me to be ahead of interested persons in my knowledge of the details of the composer’s huge production, most of which was then entirely unknown. A few years later he gave me the initial impetus to tackle the present large-scale project.
Hinton, the composer’s residual legatee, most generously opened the doors and documentary treasures of the Sorabji Archive and answered more queries and questions than anyone could ever imagine. Our correspondence since 1990, and especially since 1996, when we switched to email, fills hundreds of pages.
Acknowledgements: In addition to Rapoport and Hinton, many persons and institutions (in fact some 160) have helped me over the years by answering queries, offering nuggets of information, providing copies of documents such as letters, giving permission for use, etc. Full acknowledgements will be found in the relevant section of the book.
Index: The index has been prepared with the help of two custom macros written with PerfectScript, the macro language of WordPerfect™ by Corel. Unlike my other macros published on WordPerfect Universe and on my personal page, these macros, which are too task-specific, are as yet unpublished (and are unlikely to be made available). Screenshots of the dialog boxes are available here: Add Markers and Index Codes to “Opus sorabjianum” and Index Generator for “Opus sorabjianum”. The number of options gives an idea of the complexity of the task involved in expanding the somewhat limited capabilities of the word-processing software for creating a usable index.
Relationship to Sorabji: A Critical Celebration: Any reader familiar with Paul Rapoport’s Sorabji: A Critical Celebration (1992) will see quickly how Opus sorabjianum (which is not the work of a professional book designer) is indebted to it in matters of layout and format. This being said, the new book should never be seen as a replacement of Rapoport’s pioneering symposium, which laid the basis for serious research on Sorabji; it is rather a continuation that draws on a larger array of sources.
The zipped file of Opus sorabjianum: The Life and Works of Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji can be downloaded, free of charge, by clicking on the following link:
Download Opus sorabjianum
(version 1.16, 22 December 2017)
Warning about printing
Readers who are considering taking the PDF file to a copy shop for printing and binding should make sure that they have the latest version. They should also read the section “Internet Edition and Printing Instructions” in the Preface and experiment before starting a print job.
Sound Clips and Illustrations
Sound clips for the musical examples (in MP3 format) are available, as are several Sorabji-related illustrations, in most cases photographs taken by the author during his research trips.
Opus sorabjianum is distributed free of charge, and copies of the electronic file may be made available to others as long as there is no charge and that it remains unaltered. This book is a free contribution to knowledge and to the cause of Sorabji and must always remain so.
© Marc-André Roberge 2018
Sorabji Resource Site (SRS)
Faculté de musique, Université Laval, Québec
The contents of this website devoted to the English composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji may be freely used for documentary purposes in a research context provided that due credit is given but may not be mirrored on any other server. Links to external or third-party websites cannot be guaranteed to be, or remain, valid or persistent, and their contents cannot be guaranteed to be, or remain, accurate or appropriate.