What is an annotated bibliography?

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Annotated bibliographies refer to bibliographies that contain a summary or description regarding each cited work, material, or source.  Depending on the format being followed by a particular writer, the description and summary may be as short as 1 or 2 sentences or could also include several lines or paragraphs.  The annotations are meant to give a brief but concise idea regarding the source material.

Writing bibliographies is very important for people who are into writing articles and essays.  One important reason is that proper credit must be given to the author or writer of certain articles and essays.  If a writer borrows some lines, passages, or ideas from another book or magazine for example, he/she needs to indicate this particular source in the bibliography section. To further give details regarding each source or borrowed idea, annotations may be added to the bibliography.  Description of the entire article or a brief summary may be included along with the source listing depending on the writer’s preference.  There is also the case of plagiarism.  Writers who borrow certain ideas from other sources must provide their sources or cite the original author or book in order to avoid plagiarism charges.  In the field of writing, plagiarism is likened to stealing somebody else’s words or written material.  In order to prevent this from happening, proper credit must be given to each source material and a great way to do this is through an annotated bibliography.

Annotated bibliographies may only contain basic items about the source including the brief summary of the thesis presented up to the conclusion.  Some writers also include some evaluation regarding the source material.  Evaluative comments on the supposed source’s strengths or the quality of the material may also be part of the annotated bibliography.  A combination of both basic information and evaluation of the source material may also be desired by some people in writing annotations in their bibliographies.

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