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ENGL 1158--Moersen Spring 2022: Annnotated Bibliographies

Introductory guide to library research resources and services

Preparing an Annotated Bibliography

A bibliography is a listing of sources on a specific subject, eg. fly fishing, the best Mexican cookbooks of all time, etc. An annotated bibliography is a list of sources with notes ('annotations')  indicating why this source is useful, or interesting, or an important source of quality information on a selected topic. 

Depending on your assignment, you will be asked to identify and evaluate potential sources and then annotate (explain) why you recommend them as important or very useful. 

Finding is the easiest part. There are lots of places to look: the open internet (aka Google), library databases (we have over 100), and so on. 

Evaluating what you find is the next task. First, you have to clarify for yourself what qualities make a source of information desirable:

--depth of coverage of your topic,

--currency (how new or old is the source you select? is it up to date?) 

--audience (is this for beginners to learn about or experts?),

--point of view (what kind of bias does the writer present to you?) 

--authority of the author (is the writer an expert with special qualification in this topic? A degree? 20 years of experience?) 

All of the criteria above are worth considering when you evaluate something you find. What you select depends on the goal of your annotated bibliography. Is it to help a beginner? Is it meant to help people learn about a specialized narrow topic area?  These are the kind of questions to ask yourself and be able to answer for someone else who looks over your annotated bibliography. No AI can replace human intelligence and evaluation skills--this is why annotated biblographies are so useful to researchers. Sure, we can search the internet and find a ton of info very quickly. What is harder, requires thought, and is incredibly useful is the evaluation of a real human being.