Skip to main content
University of Newcastle Library guides

Annotated Bibliography Guide:  Home

This guide is designed to help students create an annotated bibliography

What is an annotated bibliography?

What is an annotated bibliography?

An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of citations of published literature where each citation is followed by a brief annotation of about 150 - 200 words. The annotation describes the contents and purpose of the book or article and should inform the reader of its relevance, accuracy, and quality. Depending on your assignment, an annotated bibliography may be one stage in a larger research project, or it may be an independent project standing on its own.

Annotated bibliographies are designed to answer the question:"What would be the most relevant, most useful or most up-to-date sources for this topic?

As an assignment, an annotated bibliography allows you to engage in the work of scholarship in a critical fashion, encouraging the student to utilise their knowledge, research and critical thinking skills.

Purpose of annotated bibliographies

What is the purpose of an annotated bibliography?

Not to be confused with the abstract which merely gives a summary of the main points of a work the annotated bibliography always describes and often evaluates those points. Whether an annotated bibliography concludes an article or book -or is even itself a comprehensive, book-length listing of sources its purposes are the same:

  • To illustrate the scope and quality of one's own research
  • To review the literature published on a particular topic
  • To provide the reader/researcher with supplementary, illustrative or alternative sources
  • To allow the reader to see if a particular source was consulted
  • To provide examples of the type of resources available on a given topic
  • To place original research in a historical context



Annotated Bibliography Planner - James Cook University

What is an Annotated Bibliography? - Learning Centre, University of New South Wales


Debbie Booth
Faculty Librarian Health
Ph: 02 4921 5844

Lindsey Fratus
Faculty Librarian Business and Law
Ph: 02 4921 8627

Lisa Ogle
Liaison Librarian Engineering and the Built Environment
Ph: 02 4921 8621

Ann Stokes
Faculty Librarian Science and IT
Ph: 02 4921 8625

Ruth Talbot-Stokes
Faculty Librarian Education and Arts
Ph: 02 4921 8881



Some of this content is from a guide produced by the University of California Santa Cruz.