The Writing Center @ The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The Writer's Handbook
Annotated Bibliography

Which writing style should I use in the annotations?

The most important thing to understand is that entries should be brief.

Only directly significant details will be mentioned and any information apparent in the title can be omitted from the annotation.

In addition, background materials and references to previous work by the same author usually are not included.

Listed below are three writing styles used in annotated bibliographies. Click on a link to see examples of each.


(phrases, non-sentences)

Get the information out, quickly and concisely. Be clear, but complete and grammatically correct sentences are unnecessary..


Complete sentences

In this style you must always use complete sentences.

The length of the sentences varies. Subjects and conjunctions are not eliminated even though the tone may be terse. Avoid long and complex sentences.



When using this form of annotation, you must write a full, coherent paragraph.

Sometimes this can be similar to the form of a bibliographic essay. It goes without saying that you need to use complete sentences.