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Annotated Bibliographies

Learn what an annotated bibliography is, and how you can construct one, in this guide.

Parts of an Annotation


Generally, annotations include a few key pieces of information as shown in the chart below.

Annotations are NOT the same as abstracts. (Click here to learn more about how annotations and abstracts are different.)  

You can also find more information about specific types of annotations -- like critical and descriptive -- by visiting their pages.

Element of Annotation  Why is this included?  Example 
Author's credentials Explains WHY we should take what the author has to say seriously and view him/her as a reputable source. Rhys holds a Ph.D. in English from Harvard, is currently the Darling Chair of Victorian Literature at Yale, and has authored four publications on Dickens (including Dickens: A Life).
Intended Audience Explains WHO the book/article was intended to be read by (the general public, scholars, etc.). This will help you better contextualize the author's viewpoint as well as the content she chooses to include or exclude. Dickens: A Life is written for a general readership who are interested in Dickens and his world but have no particular background in literary studies or Victorian history.
Author's main ideas Explains WHAT this source covers (which, in turn, helps our reader understand WHY we want to use it). The book focuses on Dickens's life as a journalist and posits ways in which his journalist's sensibility strengthened his skills in writing fictional dialogue and in crafting complex plots. 
Depth & Purpose of Work Explains HOW in depth the book/article is and any aspects of the topic that are left out of the author's discussion. This is an extremely thorough, heavily footnoted text covering the life of Dickens as a journalist and author from 1832-1842. Rhys does not delve into Dickens's personal life, although he does mention key events which shaped Dickens's writing career.
Bias Explains whether the author has a specific bias or point of view. A one sided account of an issue is less credible than one that is multifaceted. Although Rhys clearly believes that Dickens's journalistic endeavors were key to his literary success as a novelist, he presents viewpoints that differ from his own throughout and strives to articulate both sides of complex issues.
v. Related Sources  Explains HOW your book/article compares to other works of the same type. A good source should compare favorably to other equal sources. Compared to other books written for a general readership, Rhys's work is very dense and heavily referenced. However, his prose remains readable and clear and he does a wonderful job explaining the time and its cast of characters for those who are unfamiliar with Victorian England.
Support or Influence Your Thesis Explains HOW the book/article supports or influences the argument you are making. This book caused me to look more closely at Dickens's early years as a journalist in assessing his tremendous success as a novelist. The arguments Rhys makes support my contention that Dickens was highly skilled at crafting meaningful, emotive dialogue. 
Source Content & Organization Explains WHAT the article or book includes - a reference list, indexes, tables, etc. - as well as how the author organizes all of this content.  Dickens: A Life includes numerous footnotes, a lengthy list of references and further reading materials, a time-line of Dickens's life and major works, ten black and white photographs, and an index.