What is an annotated bibliography
- A bibliography, sometimes referred to as References or Works Cited, is an organized list of sources (e.g., books, journal/magazine articles, Web sites, etc.) consulted in the research process.
- Each source in the bibliography is represented by a citation that includes the author (if given), title, and publication details of the source.
- An annotated bibliography is a bibliography with an additional description or evaluation (i.e., annotation) of each source.
- The purpose of the annotation is to help the reader evaluate whether the work cited is relevant to a specific research topic or line of inquiry.
Annotations versus abstracts
- Abstracts are brief statements that present the main points of the original work. They normally do not include an evaluation of the work itself.
- Annotations could be descriptive or evaluative, or a combination of both. A descriptive annotation summarizes the scope and content of a work whereas an evaluative annotation provides critical comment.
What the annotation includes
Generally, annotations should be no more than 150 words (or 4-6 sentences long). They should be concise and well-written. Depending on your assignment, annotations may include some or all of the following information:
- Main focus or purpose of the work
- Intended audience for the work
- Usefulness or relevance to your research topic (or why it did not meet your expectations)
- Special features of the work that were unique or helpful
- Background and credibility of the author
- Conclusions or observations reached by the author
- Conclusions or observations reached by you
Which citation style to use
There are many style manuals with specific instructions on how to format your annotated bibliography. The style you use may depend on your subject discipline or the preference of your instructor. Whatever the format, be consistent with the same style throughout the bibliography.
Consult our guide on how to cite correctly for examples of how to format citations in different styles such as the MLA, APA, Chicago.
Sample citations and annotations
Below are 2 sample annotations (The citations are in APA Style and are based on the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 5th edition.)
Book citation example with brief descriptive annotation (APA)
Liroff, R. A., & G. G. Davis. (1981). Protecting open space: Land use control in the Adirondack Park. Cambridge, MA: Ballinger.
This book describes the implementation of regional planning and land use regulation in the Adirondack Park in upstate New York. The authors provide program evaluations of the Adirondack Park Agencys regulatory and local planning assistance programs.
Journal article citation example with evaluative annotation (APA)
Gottlieb, P. D. (1995). The “golden egg” as a natural resource: Toward a normative theory of growth management. Society and Natural Resources, 8, (5): 49-56.
This article explains the dilemma faced by North American suburbs, which demand both preservation of local amenities (to protect quality of life) and physical development (to expand the tax base). Growth management has been proposed as a policy solution to this dilemma. An analogy is made between this approach and resource economics. The author concludes that the growth management debate raises legitimate issues of sustainability and efficiency.
For further sources on women photographers and Non-Western photographers see the appropriate tabs, above.
Browne, Turner.Macmillan Biographical Encyclopedia of Photographic Artists & Innovators. New York: London: Macmillan; Collier Macmillan, 1983.
Provides basic biographical information on 2,000+ photographers and innovators in the field, including roughly 500 from the 19th and early 20th centuries; in addition, each entry lists publications, portfolios, collections, dealers/representatives, and address. Photographers were chosen on the basis of “dedication” (photography had to be “a major passion”) and “visibility” (work had to be available in photographic books, journals, museum collections, or through grants and awards, though being well known was not a criterion). Includes inventors, photographic curators, museum directors, gallery owners, photo-historians, and photography critics in addition to photographers.
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Craig, John S. Craig's Daguerreian Registry. Torrington, CT: John S. Craig, 1994.
"Being a unique compilation and cross-indexed reference to the Practitioners of the Art of the Daguerreotype in the United States from 1839 to 1860. Included as well are members of the Allied Professions, including casemaking, apparatus and accessory manufacturing and distribution, coloring, die-engraving, &c."
Clark Stacks NE2612 C73 (3 volumes)
Edwards, Gary.International Guide to Nineteenth-Century Photographers and Their Works: Based on Catalogues of Auction Houses and Dealers.Boston, Mass: G.K. Hall, 1988.
This unique work "constitutes a census of the [19th-century] photographic material that has passed through the hands of booksellers, galleries, and auction houses out into the world" during the period of roughly 1970 - 2000, with a few auction catalogs from the 1950s and 1960s. Organized by photographer, the Guide lists photographic auction catalogs from about 50 major auction houses of America and Britain and a few from Europe (Paris, Munich, Geneva). An invaluable resource for tracing the sales of work by several hundred 19th-century photographers from around the world.
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Hopkinson, Amanda, ed.Contemporary Photographers, 3rd edition. Contemporary Arts Series. Detroit: St. James Press, 1995.
The choice of entrants "is intended to reflect the best and most prominent of contemporary photographers," working in many different areas of photography. The third edition adds more than 140 new entries, necessitating the omission of other photographers listed in the previous edition; previous editions are therefore not superceded. The third edition excludes entrants who died before January 1, 1975 and entrants who have not added significantly to their body of work since 1987. Entries consist of a brief biography, individual exhibitions and a selection of group exhibitions, galleries and museums owning work by the entrant, and a bibliography of books and articles by and about the entrant. Living entrants were invited to contribute a statement on their work or on contemporary photography in general. Each entry includes a signed critical essay.
Clark Reference NE2600 A1 C65 1995
International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House.International Photography: George Eastman House Index Photographers, Collections, and Exhibitions. Edited by Andrew H. Eskind, Greg Drake, Kirsti Ringger, and Lynne Rumney. Enl. and expanded version of the Index to American photographic collections, 3rd enl. ed. New York: London: G.K. Hall; Prentice Hall International, 1998.
Essential reference work with collection and exhibition data on 78,000+ photographers from 615 U.S. and foreign collections. "Photographers" volume features an alphabetical listing and indicates collections that hold work and major exhibitions that included work. "Collections" volume gives addresses for collections and lists the photographers in each collection. "Exhibitions" volume is arranged chronologically with location, dates, and list of photographers exhibited.
Clark Reference N510 A1 1998
Kreisel, Martha.American Women Photographers: A Selected and Annotated Bibliography.Art Reference Collection, no. 18. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1999.
Indexes a substantial body of monographs, exhibition catalogs, journal articles, and dissertations on and by American women photographers. Provides a listing of the artists, many of whom were unknown but others of whom were major influences on documentary photography, experimental photography, and feminist photography.
Clark Reference ZNE2612 K74
Mautz, Carl. Biographies of Western Photographers: A Reference Guide to Photographers Working in the 19th Century American West. Nevada City, CA: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1997.
Biographical dictionary is organized by "western state, territory, or province in North American above the Mexican border" where "western" seems to be defined as west of the Mississippi River except that Missouri and Wisconsin are included. Most entries are brief, including little more than birth and/or death dates, where the photographer was active, and and what kind of work s/he produced, though where information was available entries are considerably longer. Includes an index of photographers and a bibliography.
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Palmquist, Peter E., editor. Photographers: A Sourcebook for Historical Research. Brownsville, CA: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1991.
Six essays focus on the theory and techniques of regional research, giving invaluable information on how to conduct research in the field (pre-Internet, which can be highly illuminating) and sharing personal research experiences. Richard Rudisill'sDirectories of Photographers: An Annotated World Bibliography summarizes directories already in print or in progress at the time of publication.
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———. Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide: A Biographical Dictionary, 1839-1865. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2005.
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———. Pioneer Photographers of the Far West: A Biographical Dictionary, 1840-1865. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2000.
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Companion volumes provide extensively researched, lively, detailed biographical information on daguerreotypists, ambrotypists, and photographers; also on people whose trades or professions had links to photography such as gallery employees, photographic overpainters and printers, dealers and distributors of photographic prints, artists with links to photographic arts such as engravers and lithographers, and people involved with large-format pictorial entertainments such as cosmoramas, dioramas, stereopticons, and magic lanterns. Especially useful are the extensive bibliographies, which include manuscript sources, census records, city/state directories and gazetteers, newspapers and periodicals, books, and articles and unpublished papers. Each entry includes bibliographical references.
———. Shadowcatchers: A Directory of Women in California Photography before 1901. 1st ed. Arcata, Calif: P.E. Palmquist, 1990.
Includes, in addition to several essays on California women and photography during the 19th century, a directory of women in California photography before 1901 and a checklist of women in California photography by region. See the introduction under "Sources" for valuable information about research resources and how to use them. Criteria for inclusion are broad, including not only amateur and fine-art photographers but also gallery owners and employees, photo-supply clerks and managers, women working in the manufacture of photographic materials and the photoengraving trade, and authors and publishers connected with the photographic industry.
Clark Stacks NE2600 A1 P34
Voignier, J.-M. Répertoire Des Photographes de France Au Dix-Neuvième Siècle. Chevilly-Larue: Le Pont de Pierre, 1993.
Dictionary listing of 19th-century photographers in France. Most entries consist of little more than name, location, and basic dates. Geographical index lists photographers active in a given region.
Clark Reference NE2649 A1 V65
Willis, Deborah.An Illustrated Bio-Bibliography of Black Photographers, 1940-1988. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vol. 760. New York: Garland, 1989.
Companion volume to Black Photographers, 1840-1940 (below) that mines "a plethora of scattered, uneven and disparate sources" in order to create a concise, selected guide to the lives and works of photographers active between 1940 and 1988.
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———. Black Photographers, 1840-1940: An Illustrated Bio-Bibliography. Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, vol. 401. New York: Garland, 1985.
Features the work of 65 important African-American photographers, most of whom were born in the United States and all of whom were active during the first 100 years of photography. The photographs selected for the book include every aspect of rural and urban life in America and illustrate such subjects as transportation, social life, military, fraternal organizations, education, families, architecture, and landscapes, thus serving as a source for finding photographic images of black America. Each entry includes photographer's name and studio name, dates, location, principle subjects, processes, collections, exhibitions, a select bibliograph, and illustrations. See An Illustrated Bio-Bibliography of Black Photographers, 1940-1988 (above) for extended coverage.
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Witkin, Lee D., and Barbara London. The Photograph Collector’s Guide.Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1979.
Includes an essay on the art of collecting photographs by Lee Witkin, a collector's chronology of important developments and events in the history of photography, information on the care and restoration of photographs, a biographical dictionary of selected photographers, a listing of contemporary group exhibitions and catalogs, and an appendix for U.S. and international museums, galleries, auction houses, and exhibitions spaces that could be of historical interest.
Clark Stacks NE2600 W58