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University of Newcastle Library guides

Annotated Bibliography: Annotation Styles

This guide is designed to help students create an annotated bibliography

APA style entry

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Wal-Mart sales employee, the author summarises and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.

An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.


The annotation above both summarises and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.

For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide.

MLA style entry

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. New York: Anchor Books, 1995. Print.

Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic. In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun.

Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.

Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.


In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.

For information on formatting MLA citations, see the MLA Formatting and Style Guide (OWL).

Chicago style entry

Mueller, Laura. Western Art: A Critical Survey. Chicago: Good Lion Press, 2001.

Laura Mueller is a long-time lecturer in both art and literature. In this book, Mueller's experience is evident as she guides the reader through a combination of close observation of individual art works and a clearly organised systematic review of major schools and themes in Western art. The scope is wide, including sculpture, jewellery, and architecture, as well as the main focus on painting. Watercolor is treated alongside the numerous oils, pastels and mixed media. Although printmaking is not a usual focus of such books, Mueller makes an exception for the major contributors, like Durer, Rembrandt, Toulouse-Lautrec and Picasso. Along with her other book on Ukiyo-E Japanese prints, this book shows a profound depth of analysis, but in an amazingly clear style which would benefit the general reader along with the more knowledgeable. Some art history surveys can be tedious, but this one comes through as exciting, personal and profound.


This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book and details about the author. It provides a concise description of the book coverage and major features.

For information on formatting Chicago (Footnotes and Bibliography style) citations, see the Chicago Manual of Style 16th ed Guide (OWL).