What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography differs from the usual list of references by the presence of annotations, which are brief descriptions of books and articles. There are several special features and rules for the preparation of annotations. An annotation is a brief description of the publication from the point of view of its content, format, orientation, origin, etc. The annotation reveals the content of the work very briefly. It literally says what it is about. It also indicates the purpose and audience, for example, “the textbook is intended for students.” The annotation may describe or recommend something. The purpose of the annotation is to inform readers about the existence of the work of particular content and character.

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Types of Annotations

All annotations are divided into brief and detailed ones. A brief annotation is usually used when characterizing reference books (encyclopedias, dictionaries) and collections of articles when the content of a work can be expressed in several words quite clearly specifying the title, or when individual articles of the collection are reviewed in detail. An expanded annotation differs from a brief one by a more detailed description of the content of the work, for example, of a scientific monograph. Headings and tables of contents can be used here. Detailed annotations are compiled when characterizing publications of great scientific value.

Evaluation annotation has a specific element – an analytical (critical, evaluative) part. Such an annotation is the result of a special (scientific) study of a documentary source, an assessment of its significance primarily from the point of view of social information, that is, qualitatively new and valuable information in relation to the informational communication already existing in the system. Such an annotation either may be limited to the analytical part as a supplement to the bibliographic description or contain the signal part, which characterizes the document in general.

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Annotated Bibliography Format

When preparing annotations for one author, you may indicate the names of two or three works, if they are not listed in the bibliographic description. The annotation on the collection of poems must give the names of the cycles or indicate the names of three or four of the most famous works. When preparing annotations for a digest consisting of works by different authors, the names of the authors and the names of the works need to be indicated only if they are not listed in the bibliographic description.

A brief disclosure of the topic is advisable to give an indication of the industry, section of science or economy. Usually, the specific subject of the research is given in the title of the book in the bibliographic description; it is not necessary to repeat it in the annotation. The disclosure of the topic is organically linked with information about the novelty of the publication. A generalized indication of the theme of the book should be used in the preparation of annotations on the publications in natural science and technical subjects.

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