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MLA Annotated Bibliography Examples and Writing Guide

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Is your professor asking you to write an MLA annotated bibliography? Are you clueless? You’ve come to the right place. The world of bibliographies can be a tricky web to weave, especially when talking about annotated bibliographies. Take a deep breath and get ready. You’re going to learn everything you need to know to make an annotated bibliography in MLA 8 style.

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MLA Annotated Bibliography Overview

MLA typically uses a works cited . But there might come a time when a professor asks you for an MLA annotated bibliography, too. An annotated bibliography takes your references to the next level. In addition to providing a citation, it gives you more information through an annotation: a fancy word for further explanation.

The Use and Difference of an MLA Annotated Bibliography

A standard bibliography provides necessary information about your source. You have the author, title, and publication information. But, sometimes that’s not enough. An annotated bibliography can provide a more in-depth study or evaluation.

In the process of creating your paper, you have become a topic expert. Show the world your expertise. Demonstrate why the source was perfect for your audience, and for the central theme of the article or book. It also allows you to show how this work compares to others you’ve discussed.

MLA Annotated Bibliography Example

Now that you know what an MLA annotated bibliography is, check out what it looks like through an example of an MLA annotated bibliography.

example annotated bibliography MLA

How Do You Write an Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format?

Before looking at the steps to creating an MLA annotated bibliography , there are a few things to remember about formatting. For example, do you double-space an MLA annotated bibliography? Yes, you do. Explore other fun formatting facts for creating your MLA annotated bibliography.

Now that you know how to format MLA citations, it is time to begin writing.

Step 1: Create Your Citation in MLA

Citations vary depending on what you are citing. For example, the format for citing a book is different than a magazine. MLA breaks down the core elements of your citation to author, title, the title of container, contributors, version, number, publisher, publication date, and location. For a website or digital file, include a URL as well. Check out an example:

Annotated Bibliography

Austen, J. Pride and Prejudice . Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004.

Step 2: Create the MLA Annotations

Creating the annotation is the pivotal part. This is an annotated bibliography, after all. The first thing to think about is whether this is a summary annotation or evaluative annotation. Per the names, the summary annotation provides a summary while an evaluative annotation evaluates the work. Examine each one in more depth:

example annotated bibliography in MLA

Difference in MLA

MLA was designed for humanities writers. These are the people that write about literature, philosophy, and cultural science, to name a few. In these areas, you’ll see writers comparing one work to another. Therefore, this type of writing is more focused on the writer of sources and where to find them, which is where citations focus.

Annotation Master

While an MLA annotated bibliography might look terrifying, remember you are an expert. You’ve done the research and have all the skills to prove to your audience why this source was perfect for your paper. You can also get more information about how to create your annotations for any style annotated bibliography by looking at how to create an annotated bibliography with examples .

Types of Bibliography Styles

FAQ MLA Annotated Bibliography Examples and Writing Guide

How do you write an annotated bibliography.

To write an annotated bibliography, you include a title, citation, and annotation. The title and citation might vary based on the writing style, (i.e., MLA, APA, Chicago, etc.); however, the annotation is the same for all styles. The annotation can be a summary or evaluative annotation.

Are MLA annotated bibliographies double spaced?

Yes, an annotated bibliography in MLA is double spaced. The annotative bibliography in MLA should follow all the formatting guidelines for the rest of the paper, including centering the title, adding a page number, and double spacing.

What are the two types of annotated bibliography?

The two types of annotated bibliography you commonly come across in MLA format are the summary and the evaluation annotative bibliographies. A summary annotated bibliography provides a summary of the sources. An evaluative annotated bibliography goes into more depth by evaluating the authors and providing a critic of the sources.

How do you write an annotation?

To write an annotation, you need an in-depth understanding of the work. You then must decide if you are going to write a summary of the work through a summary annotation or evaluate the work through an evaluation annotation. You'll then compose your annotation which is between 100-300 words.

Does an annotated bibliography need a conclusion?

No, an annotated bibliography does not need a conclusion. Your annotations simply provide a summary and critic of your sources. Since this is just a short paragraph, you do not need to include a conclusion in your annotations.

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MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography Template

This sample annotated bibliography shows you the structure you should use to write an MLA annotated bibliography and gives examples of evaluative and summary annotations.

It can be used as a template to set up your assignment.

What is an Annotated Bibliography?

Useful Links for Annotated Bibliographies

Annotations

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a Works Cited page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.

Types of Annotations

 A summary annotation describes the source by answering the following questions: who wrote the document, what the document discusses, when and where was the document written, why was the document produced, and how was it provided to the public. The focus is on description. 

 An evaluative annotation includes a summary as listed above but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Evaluative annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project. The focus is on description and evaluation.

Writing an Evaluative Annotation

Basic Tips on Writing and Formatting

Sample Evaluative Annotation

London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly , vol. 10, no. 1, Mar. 1982, pp. 81-69. Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: “seeing is believing”; “a picture is worth a thousand words”; and “satisfaction is its own reward.” London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He does not refer to any previous works on the topic. London’s style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London’s points, but does not explore their implications leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

Adapted from:

"How to Write Annotated Bibliographies."  Memorial University Libraries , www.library.mun.ca/researchtools/guides/writing/annotated_bibl/. Accessed 29 June 2016.

IRSC Libraries Home

MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: MLA Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

This template includes a space to add your topic and thesis statement as this is preferred for the annotated bibliography assignments in ENC courses taught at IRSC. Always follow your professor's instructions over any instructions on this LibGuide or inside the MLA Handbook.

Your professor may ask that you create an annotated bibliography in MLA style. An annotated bibliography is similar to the Works Cited page found at the end of a paper. The paper formatting is the same but instead of following a full research paper, the student will write a brief annotation for each source which will directly follow the source's Works Cited entry. The annotations contain descriptive or evaluative comments about your sources. Annotations should be short, typically no longer than one paragraph. Indent the annotation an inch from the start of the entry. Each citation should adhere to MLA guidelines. The title might be 'Annotated Bibliography' or 'Annotated List of Works Cited'.

Below is an example of an annotated bibliography in MLA style. You are welcome to use the template linked above to get you started with the correct formatting.

Updated MLA 9th Edition Annotated Bibliography Example

Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts

annotated bibliography mla outline

Annotated Bibliography Samples

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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

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 insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott'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, Lamott includes 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 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample APA Annotation

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America . 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.

University Libraries      University of Nevada, Reno

MLA Citation Guide (MLA 9th Edition): Writing an Annotated Bibliography

Annotations

What is an annotation.

An annotation is a short (100-300 words) summary or critical evaluation of a source. Annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project.

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources. The annotated bibliography looks like a Works Cited page but it also includes an annotation after each source cited. Annotated bibliographies are a great research tool. 

What Goes Into an Annotation?

Most annotations both summarize and evaluate. Be sure to check with your professors to know what they want in annotations. 

A summary describes the source by answering who wrote the document and their overall argument. You don't need to include every part of the argument; just the parts that are most relevant to your topic.

An evaluation  critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Check for any biases, holes, or particular strengths. Try out this Quick-How-To about  Evaluating Sources  for detailed guidance on assessing a source.

Tip:  Annotations are original descriptions that you create after reading the document. You may find a short summary, often titled "abstract," at the beginning of journal articles. Do not copy the abstract as that would be plagiarism.

Writing an Annotation

Cite the source using MLA style.

Describe the main ideas, arguments, themes, theses, or methodology, and identify the intended audience.

Explain the author’s expertise, point of view, and any bias he/she may have.

Compare to other sources on the same topic that you have also cited to show similarities and differences.

Explain why each source is useful for your research topic and how it relates to your topic.

Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each source.

Identify the observations or conclusions of the author. 

Tips on Writing and Formatting

Each annotation should be one or two paragraphs and between three to six sentences long (about 100- 300 words total).

All lines should be double-spaced (unless your professor has noted a different format).

Do not add an extra line between the citations.

Try to be objective, and give explanations if you state any opinions.

Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me), unless discussing your own research.

Sample Annotation

London, Herbert. “Five Myths of the Television Age.” Television Quarterly , vol. 10, no. 1, Mar. 1982, pp. 81-89.

Herbert London, the Dean of Journalism at New York University and author of several books and articles, explains how television contradicts five commonly believed ideas. He uses specific examples of events seen on television, such as the assassination of John Kennedy, to illustrate his points. His examples have been selected to contradict such truisms as: “seeing is believing”; “a picture is worth a thousand words”; and “satisfaction is its own reward.” London uses logical arguments to support his ideas which are his personal opinion. He does not refer to any previous works on the topic. London’s style and vocabulary would make the article of interest to any reader. The article clearly illustrates London’s points, but does not explore their implications leaving the reader with many unanswered questions.

Adapted from: "How to Write Annotated Bibliographies."  Memorial University Libraries ,  www.library.mun.ca/researchtools/guides/writing/annotated_bibl/ .

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / MLA Format / MLA Annotated Bibliography Format

MLA Annotated Bibliography Format

The mla style center provides the following guidance for formatting an mla annotated bibliography:.

Here’s a run-through of everything this page includes:

Book example

Website example.

Troubleshooting

Here are general mla bibliography format guidelines that also apply:.

If you don’t need to include annotations with your citations, this guide on creating a regular MLA works cited page can help!

MLA annotated bibliography

Forsyth, Mark. The Elements of Eloquence: Secrets of the Perfect Turn of Phrase . Penguin Books, 2014.

The author, Mark Forsyth, examines the rhetorical devices used in the English language, analyzing the patterns and formats that create memorable quotes. He traces the history of rhetoric to the Ancient Greeks, and provides an abridged timeline, following their use and evolution through to modern day. The author also explores the broader subject of persuasion and maps out the role that the figures of rhetoric play in it. In all, he examines over thirty devices, dissecting notable passages and phrases from pop music, the plays of William Shakespeare, the Bible, and more to explore the figures of rhetoric at work within each of them. Thorough definitions accompany this examination of structure to demonstrate how these formulas have been used to generate famously memorable expressions as well as how to reproduce their effects.

Here is another annotated bibliography example in MLA for an article on the MLA website.

example of an MLA annotated bibliography entry for a website

Citation with annotation:

“What Guidance Should I Give My Students for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography?” The MLA Style Center , The Modern Language Association, 4 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/annotated-bibliographies/.

This article offers brief and clear directions for MLA formatting of a bibliography with annotations. Citing James Harner’s On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography , it provides guidelines for writing annotations that can be applied to either paraphrase or commentary form. It also demonstrates how writing annotations can benefit students who are tasked with researching a subject and offers instruction on the organization of entries and acceptable page titles. While the advice is tailored to respond to a question posed by an instructor, students and researchers may also benefit from the guidance that the MLA provided.

Citation without annotation:

The following is an example MLA format Works Cited citation for an article on the MLA website. This MLA bibliography example shows what the entry will look like without an annotation:

“What Guidance Should I Give My Students for Preparing an Annotated Bibliography?” The MLA Style Center, Modern Language Association, 4 Nov. 2016, style.mla.org/annotated-bibliographies/

Note that this MLA bibliography does not contain an introductory paragraph. If you are including a prefatory section, it should reside between the page title and the initial entry.

The MLA follows the rules set forth in James L. Harner’s On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography , 2nd edition, which they published in 2000. Harner submits that the typical organization for this type of work “…consists of three parts: prefatory matter, entries, and an index” (7). Following this, he adds, however, that “an electronic bibliography rarely includes an index” (7).

The “prefatory matter” functions similarly to an introduction, and “typically consists of an introduction, an explanation of editorial procedures, acknowledgements, and separate lists of abbreviations, major reference sources searched, and the subject author’s works” (7). He expands on this, “You must explain – and, if necessary, offer a rationale for – the taxonomy, the kinds of works included and excluded, and the chronological span (especially terminal date) of scholarship covered” (7).

Using the EasyBib annotation tool

If you create your citations using the EasyBib citation generator, then you can also access the annotation tool!

When you create a new or edit an existing citation, you’ll review a citation form that lists every piece of information for the citation. At the bottom of this form is a section called “More options.” In this section, simply click the “Add annotation” text to open the tool. Copy and paste your annotation here, complete your citation, and both the citation and annotation will be automatically formatted together!

Annotated bibliography tool

Always consult your instructor

Your instructor or school may have additional or different requirements for how you format and organize this page. If your teacher or professor requires an introduction, they may identify specific points to include or exclude which deviate from Harner’s definition, so it’s essential that you verify your understanding of the assignment before beginning.

If you are required to share your references in a manner other than in MLA bibliography format, there is also a guide on  APA annotated bibliographies .

Solution #1: How do I annotate a source that is an image or video?

To annotate a visual source like an image or video, describe the important elements of your visual source to your reader as you would with a textual source.

If it is a painting, for example, you do not need to describe every color you see or the mood of the painting, but it may be important to include the artistic movement of which it is a part of, the style of painting, the subject, the culture of origin, or any information about the artist.

Keep in mind the style of annotation you are using for your works-cited annotations, whether you are providing more commentary on sources or simply summarizing them. Maintain the style of annotation consistent for all your annotations. Commentary will include more information about why a source is relevant to your paper, whereas a summary will more plainly describe the source.

van Gogh, Vincent. The Starry Night . 1889, Museum of Modern Art, New York City.

MoMA.org ,   https://www.moma.org/learn/moma_learning/vincent-van-gogh

-the-starry-night-1889/

Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night is a depiction of the night sky seen above the Saint-Paul mental asylum in Saint-Remy, France, where van Gogh received care as his mental health waned. van Gogh was born in Holland, but spent significant time in France. The influence of contemporaneous artistic styles such as Impressionism, Pointilism, and Neo-Impressionism can be seen in The Starry Night . The Starry Night combines the observable world with the world of van Gogh’s emotion, memory, and imagination.

Solution #2: How do I annotate a source that is an audio recording, song, or interview?

Annotate your works-cited MLA citation for an audio recording the same way you would for a textual source.

Keep the style of your annotations consistent, whether you are commenting on sources or simply summarizing sources.

Important elements of your audio source to consider in your annotation may include the following elements: the speaker(s) in the recording, where and when the recording was taken, the important members of the band or musicians of a song, or, if it is a clip, the context of the complete recording.

Describe your audio source as best you can in about 4-5 sentences for your annotation.

For example:

Tavernise, Sabrina. “Why Do So Many Traffic Stops Go Wrong?” The Daily , The New York Times,

1 Nov. 2021. Spotify app.

David D. Kirkpatrick, a national correspondent for the New York Times , breaks down years’ worth of investigative journalism from the NYT. Their journalism focused on casualties due to routine traffic stops performed by police nationwide. The NYT’s reporting suggested that many cities and municipalities may rely heavily on revenue generated from traffic tickets, and that officers may be encouraged to make more, even unnecessary, traffic stops. Kirkpatrick also suggested that training may encourage police to use unnecessary force and escalate encounters during traffic stops, as misleading data has been used to teach officers that traffic stops are disproportionately deadly for police.

Solution #3: How long should my annotation be?

An annotation for an MLA works-cited citation should be about a paragraph long. It shouldn’t be a few words or just one sentence.

If your annotation definitely needs to be longer than 4-5 sentences, make a new paragraph and indent it, but do not add any additional space or line breaks between the paragraphs of your annotation.

Harner, James L. On Compiling an Annotated Bibliography. 2nd ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2000.

MLA Handbook. 9th ed., Modern Language Association of America, 2021.

MLA Formatting Guide

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An annotated bibliography is a list containing complete information of sources (such as journals, books, and reports) cited in the text, along with a note or annotation for each source. It provides a brief description of each source in about 100–150 words. Below is an example of an annotated bibliography:

Annotated bibliography example:

Morritt, Robert D. Beringia: Archaic Migrations into North America . Cambridge Scholars Pub, 2011.

The author studies the migration of cultures from Asia to North America. The connection between the North American Athabaskan language family and Siberia is presented, together with comparisons and examinations of the implications of linguistics from anthropological, archaeological, and folklore perspectives. This book explores the origins of the earliest people in the Americas, including Siberian, Dene, and Navajo Creation myths; linguistic comparisons between Siberian Ket Navajo and Western Apache; and comparisons between indigenous groups that appear to share the same origin.

Ehrenreich, Barbara. Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America . Metropolitan Books, 2009.

In this book, Barbara Ehrenreich shows how harmful the positive thinking movement is, how it means self-blame, victim-blaming, and national denial, inviting disaster. She shows that it wrecks efforts for education, skills, and reforms. The book analyzes how the school of mindless optimism was born, fed the subprime scandal, and has come to infect mainstream corporate management thinking.

An annotated bibliography, which contains a source and a description or an evaluation of a source, is always double-spaced.

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MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples

Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 14, 2022.

An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.

You might be assigned an annotated bibliography as part of the research process for a paper , or as an individual assignment.

MLA provides guidelines for writing and formatting your annotated bibliography. An example of a typical annotation is shown below.

Kenny, Anthony. A New History of Western Philosophy: In Four Parts . Oxford UP, 2010.

You can create and manage your annotated bibliography with Scribbr’s free MLA Citation Generator. Choose your source type, retrieve the details, and click “Add annotation.”

Generate accurate MLA citations with Scribbr

Table of contents, mla format for annotated bibliographies, length and content of annotations, frequently asked questions about annotated bibliographies.

The list should be titled either “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” You may be told which title to use; “bibliography” is normally used for a list that also includes sources you didn’t cite in your paper or that isn’t connected to a paper at all.

Sources are usually organized alphabetically , like in a normal Works Cited list, but can instead be organized chronologically or by subject depending on the purpose of the assignment.

The source information is presented and formatted in the same way as in a normal Works Cited entry:

The annotation follows on the next line, also double-spaced and left-aligned. The whole annotation is indented 1 inch from the left margin to distinguish it from the 0.5 inch hanging indent of the source entry.

MLA annotated bibliography

MLA gives some guidelines for writing the annotations themselves. They cover how concise you need to be and what exactly you should write about your sources.

Phrases or full sentences?

MLA states that it’s acceptable to use concise phrases rather than grammatically complete sentences in your annotations.

While you shouldn’t write this way in your main text, it’s acceptable in annotations because the subject of the phrase is clear from the context. It’s also fine to use full sentences instead, if you prefer.

Always use full sentences if your instructor requires you to do so, though.

How many paragraphs?

MLA states that annotations usually aim to be concise and thus are only one paragraph long. However, it’s acceptable to write multiple-paragraph annotations if you need to.

If in doubt, aim to keep your annotations short, but use multiple paragraphs if longer annotations are required for your assignment.

Descriptive, evaluative, or reflective annotations?

MLA states that annotations can describe or evaluate sources, or do both. They shouldn’t go into too much depth quoting or discussing minor details from the source, but aim to write about it in broad terms.

You’ll usually write either descriptive , evaluative , or reflective annotations . If you’re not sure what kind of annotations you need, consult your assignment guidelines or ask your instructor.

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annotated bibliography mla outline

An annotated bibliography is an assignment where you collect sources on a specific topic and write an annotation for each source. An annotation is a short text that describes and sometimes evaluates the source.

Any credible sources on your topic can be included in an annotated bibliography . The exact sources you cover will vary depending on the assignment, but you should usually focus on collecting journal articles and scholarly books . When in doubt, utilize the CRAAP test !

Each annotation in an annotated bibliography is usually between 50 and 200 words long. Longer annotations may be divided into paragraphs .

The content of the annotation varies according to your assignment. An annotation can be descriptive, meaning it just describes the source objectively; evaluative, meaning it assesses its usefulness; or reflective, meaning it explains how the source will be used in your own research .

No, in an MLA annotated bibliography , you can write short phrases instead of full sentences to keep your annotations concise. You can still choose to use full sentences instead, though.

Use full sentences in your annotations if your instructor requires you to, and always use full sentences in the main text of your paper .

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Caulfield, J. (2022, June 14). MLA Style Annotated Bibliography | Format & Examples. Scribbr. Retrieved March 15, 2023, from https://www.scribbr.com/mla/mla-annotated-bibliography/

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How to write an annotated bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography or annotated bib is a bibliography (a list of books or other works) that includes descriptive and evaluative comments about the sources cited in your paper. These comments are also known as annotations .

How do I format my annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography entry consists of two components: the Citation and the Annotation .

The citation should be formatted in the bibliographic style that your professor has requested for the assignment. Some common citation styles include APA , MLA , and Chicago . For more information, see the Style Guides page.

Generally, an annotation is approximately 100-300 words in length (one paragraph). However, your professor may have different expectations so it is recommended that you clarify the assignment guidelines.

An annotation may include the following information:

MLA style format (8th ed.)

Hanging Indents are required for citations in the bibliography, as shown below. That is, the first line of the citation starts at the left margin, and subsequent lines are indented 4 spaces.  The bibliography is double-spaced, both within the citation and between them. The annotation appends the entry unless complete sentences are used, then a line space is added and the annotation begins with a paragraph indent, as shown in the example below.

Lozier, Jeffrey D., et al. "Predicting the Distribution of Sasquatch in Western North America: Anything Goes with Ecological Niche Modelling." Journal of Biogeography , vol. 36, no.9, 2009, pp. 1623-1627. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/40305930. Accessed 14 June 2016.     This paper critiques the use of Ecological Niche Models (ENM) and species distribution by performing a tongue-in-cheek examination of the distribution of the fictional Sasquatch, based on reports from an online Bigfoot archive.Lozier's paper powerfully demonstrates the issues faced by ENM, when reports come from non-specialists, and highlights key problems with sourcing data from unmediated online environments. The author neglects to compare the reliability of the many wildlife databases with the single Bigfoot database, as well as other key issues; however in closing, the paper briefly mentions that many issues lie outside the scope of the short article. Lozier's paper advises professionals in fields using ENM to carefully assess the source of the data on which the model is based and concludes that the distribution of rare species in particular is often over-reported to misidentification.

APA style format (7th ed.)

Refer to Section 9.51, p. 307 and Figure 9.3, p. 308 in the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 7th ed. [ print ] for detailed information on annotated bibliographies.

The following are general guidelines. Check with your instructor for

References follow the same alphabetical order as entries in a reference list [Section 9.43-9.44, p. 303]. The annotation is a new paragraph below its reference entry and follows block quotation format [Section 8.27, pp. 272-273]. Should the annotation have multiple paragraphs, the first line of the second and subsequent paragraphs are indented an additional 0.5in.

D’Elia, G., Jorgensen, C., Woelfel, J., & Rodger, E. J. (2002). The impact of the Internet on public library use: An analysis of the current consumer market for library and Internet services. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 53 (10), 808-820. https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.10102 In this study, the researchers examined if the Internet had affected public library usage in the United States. This study is distinct because its researchers surveyed library nonusers as well as   users. The major finding was that 75.2% of people who used the Internet also used the public library. However, the researchers surveyed only 3000 individuals in a population of millions; therefore, these results may not be statistically significant. However, this study is relevant because it provides future researchers with a methodology for determining the impact of the Internet on public library usage.

Additional resources

Writing an annotated bibliography From Concordia University

How to prepare an annotated bibliography From Cornell University

Writing an annotated bibliography From University of Toronto

Annotated bibliographies From The Writing Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

TAFT COLLEGE

MLA Style Guide, 9th Edition: About MLA

The MLA Handbook, 9th Edition was published in 2021 and adopted by Taft College Library in August 2021. The 9th edition retains the core elements introduced in the 8th edition while including new guidelines for commonly asked questions and restores and updates key sections from previous editions. Additional information about annotated bibliographies and visual examples are also included. 

Student Learning Outcomes

A student will be able to:

The core elements of any entry in the Works Cited list are shown in the chart below. The core elements are in the order in which they should appear, followed by the appropriate punctuation mark. If an element cannot be found or does not apply to the source being cited, omit that element from the entry. End the entry with a period.

Each core element is explained in detail with examples on its own page under the Works Cited Entries Core Elements dropdown menu.

MLA Core Elements with Punctuation

Image credit: Modern Language Association. MLA core elements. 2016, www.mla.org/MLA-Style/What-s-New-in-the-Eighth-Edition.

MLA Handbook, Ninth Edition

The standard citation style guide for the humanities, especially languages and literature, is the MLA Handbook , 9th edition, 2021. The Modern Language Association of America (MLA) publishes the manual. It is commonly referred to it as the "MLA Manual" or the "MLA Handbook."

Two types of citations are included in most research papers: citations within the text of the document and a list of reference citations at the end of the paper.

In-Text Citations:

In-text citations appear in the body of your paper. They identify your use of an idea or quotation from one of your sources. The MLA Handbook uses the author-page citation system for in-text citations. 

Reference Citations:

Information about the sources you use in your work are included as a separate list at the end of the paper.  The MLA Handbook suggests using the title "Works Cited" for the list.

Any source information that you provide in an in-text citation must correspond to a source in your Works Cited page.

Important elements of MLA citations

Read more about the changes to the new Ninth Edition in this article from the Modern Language Association.

Cover Art

This work,  MLA Style Guide, 8th Edition by Angie  Neely-Sardon , Indian River State College,  is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License . It is based on the work, MLA Handbook, Eighth Edition by the Modern Language Association of America published in 2016.  Additions and changes were made to this guide by Terri Smith, Taft College Library, February 10, 2017.

Creative Commons License

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COMMENTS

  1. MLA Annotated Bibliography Examples and Writing Guide

    How Do You Write an Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format? · Annotated bibliographies don't have specific guidelines in the 8 edition MLA handbook for making

  2. MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): Annotated Bibliography

    Each annotation should be one paragraph, between three to six sentences long (about 150- 200 words). · Start with the same format as a regular

  3. MLA Style Guide, 8th & 9th Editions: MLA Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is similar to the Works Cited page found at the end of a paper. The paper formatting is the same but instead of

  4. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    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

  5. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

    Need to write an annotated bibliography in MLA format for a research paper or essay? In this video, I'll show you how to organize your

  6. Writing an Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources. The annotated bibliography looks like a Works Cited page

  7. MLA Annotated Bibliography Format

    Title your reference page as “Annotated Bibliography” or “Annotated List of Works Cited.” · Include annotations after the full, listed reference. · Annotations

  8. MLA Style Annotated Bibliography

    MLA format for annotated bibliographies · If the annotation is only one paragraph long, there's no additional indent for the start of the

  9. How to write an annotated bibliography

    MLA style format (8th ed.) ... Hanging Indents are required for citations in the bibliography, as shown below. That is, the first line of the

  10. MLA Style Guide, 9th Edition: MLA Annotated Bibliography

    The MLA Handbook, Ninth Edition guidelines for an annotation are to indent the annotation one inch from the start of the entry to distinguish it