Preparing an Annotated Bibliography*


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents on a particular topic.  Citations are followed by a brief (150 - 300 word) paragraph describing and critically evaluating the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the source to topic.


Abstracts are concise summaries of the information contained in a scholarly article.  Abstracts are generally found at the beginning scholarly journal articles, in conference proceedings, and may be supplied in periodical indexes or research databases.   Annotations are both descriptive and critical; they expose the author's point of view, clarity and appropriateness of expression, and authority.


Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, critical evaluation, and informed library research.  First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide both variety and the best
perspectives on your topic.

Write the citation for the book, article, or document using an appropriate citaion style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, 
(b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, (d) expose any bias, and (e) explain how this work illuminates your topic.


For guidance in critically evaluating and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, review the Checklist for Evaluating Web Pages since those concepts are also applicable to other information sources.  Your professor or your librarian should be consulted if you have any other questions. 


Your professor will specifiy the preferred citation style for the project.  For more information, review Understanding and Creating Citations. 


The following examples are taken from previous Geography 111 students:

Klaus, Conrad.  1999 Resource and Waste Taxation in the Theory of the
           firm with Recycling activities.  Environmental and Resource 
14(2): 217-242.

As the title reveals, this article is concerned with practices that manufacture’s and producers need to participate in to slow down the production of waste in our society.  Klaus uses the description of ‘cradle to grave’ to show what the responsibility of the manufacturer and producer is.  He specifically points out the flaws in production and the flaws in the products that are made.  This article was very helpful to my research in that it did a very good job of covering the role of the manufacturer in the issue of waste management.  Klaus also shows how the government needs to step in to enforce policies that stimulate the industries to choose the less harmful and more responsible practices of dealing with their waste.  The one problem with this article is found in a Journal on Economics and so there was a lot of the article that I did not need in order to gain the information to cover my topic.  The article had a lot of mathematical equations for governments to use in determining tax levels for use as stimulation.  Though Klaus did not include much on the role of the consumer, the article did explain the involvement of both the government and industries.  Another interesting point that Klaus pointed out was the idea that there are many ‘shadow costs’ on materials and on products that are specifically environmental costs but are not included in the real costs that producers and consumers pay.  This article and the previous article by Lober compliment each other in that they cover separate practices yet come up with many similar conclusions.
World Resources Institute.   [March 29, 2001].
Included in this web site were numerous articles and research data that was specific to my topic.  One article called, “Are business and industry taking sustainability seriously?” discusses  the need for product re-design and production re-design.  The term that this article uses to describe these processes is ‘Eco-efficiency.’  The article gives examples of governments that are working at giving incentives and taxes that will promote ‘Eco-efficiency’.  The article also is honest about the number of businesses and industries that are involved in this process and how the number is very small.  This web site also had many resources that helped in better defining the problem and gave different perspectives on the issues involved.  There were many links to other research centers and various organizations dedicated to alternative waste management practices.

*This page was adapted from the work of Michael Engle, Amy Blumenthal, and Tony Cosgrave,Reference Services Division, Olin*Kroch*Uris Libraries, Cornell University Library.  URL: 
<accessed 2/1/01>.

This page adapted for use by
Deborah Carter Peoples
Ohio Wesleyan University Libraries 
Last updated November 4, 2001 


Last updated on November 4, 2001
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