Library 103 Fourth Session

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Bibliography and Citation

A bibliography is a list of books, articles, web pages and other sources of information on a specific topic. The bibliography follows a certain format called a citation:

        citation: noun: A quoting of an authoritative source for substantiation.
                                                                    The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 4th Ed.

A citation is a brief description of one particular source of information. Each citation is made up of parts giving specific information about the source; as a result you can usually tell what type of source is used by looking at the format of the citation. Citations allow the reader of the work to find the source the writer is referencing. Citation information and format varies according to the particular style manual followed. Generally, at the community college level, one of two style manuals is used. English classes and other humanities classes generally require the MLA  ( Modern Language Association ) style of citations. Sciences and social sciences generally use the APA  ( American Psychological Association ) publication manual. Citation help for the MLA style citations is available at the Purdue Online Writing Lab .

Compiling An Annotated Bibliography

According to the Web page: How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography, the purpose of an annotated bibliography is to "inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy , and quality of the sources cited." "An annotated bibliography is defined as a list of citations to books, articles, and reports that focus on a central theme or topic. Each citation is followed by a brief descriptive and evaluative paragraph to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited." 1

Often in a periodical database, an abstract will be included along with the citation. Remember that an abstract is a summary; it is only descriptive. An annotation is both descriptive and critical. An annotation should be brief about 150 words. The authority and audience should be evaluated including other criteria such as publication date.

The steps in compiling an annotated bibliography are as follows:

  • Finding information on your topic using a variety of sources

  • Actually looking at the specific source

  • Evaluating each source to determine if it is authoritative and appropriate for your topic

  • Citing the source in the required format and style

1 "How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography." Leslie J. Savage Library Western State College.  2009.
            Web.  7 Oct. 2009.


Sample Annotated Bibliography with MLA Style Citations

Example from a Periodical Database:

Carlson, Allen.  "On the Aesthetic Appreciation of Japanese Gardens.” British Journal of  
 Aesthetics 37.1 (1997): 47-56. Expanded Academic ASAP. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.
This article discusses Japanese gardens from an intellectual perspective with the conclusion that with the blending of the essence of nature and design elements Japanese gardens are conducive to contemplation and serenity. The author is a professor emeritus from the Department of Philosophy, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He has published widely in the field of environmental aesthetics. This article appears in a scholarly journal published by Oxford University. The article is footnoted. The article is not recent, but for this type of discussion, it is current enough.

Example from a Book:

Hayakawa, Massao. The Garden Art of Japan. Trans. Richard L. Gage. New York:
         Weatherhill/Heibonsha, 1973. Print.

This book gives an historical view of the Japanese garden as well as the types and elements of the gardens. It is well illustrated. It is part of a 30 volume set of works on Japanese arts and crafts. There are no footnotes or bibliography, but the author is an architecture graduate from the University of Tokyo. This book is an historical overview, so the publication date is probably recent enough; however, there are many newer and more practical books currently in print.

Example from a Web Site:

Olds, Clifton C. The Japanese Garden. 27 Aug. 2008. Bowdoin College. n.d. Web. 26 Apr. 2011.

This well illustrated web site presents an overview of Japanese gardens. It includes the fundamental elements and the history with emphasis on the historical gardens of Kyoto. There is a bibliography and glossary. Additional links are provided with annotations. Very few of the links are “dead links”. The web site is current enough for the topic. The author is Professor Emeritus of History and Criticism of Art at Bowdoin College which hosts this site.


Date Last Updated: 10/21/14 
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Last Updated: 10/21/2014 9:43 AM