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Last Updated: Jan 3, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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What is an annotation?

An annotation is a succinct description of an item that summarizes and evaluates a resource using certain criteria. The summary part of the annotation briefly describes the content, and the critical evaluation discusses the item's quality. Annotations may be written to describe books, websites, articles, government documents, videos, or other items. An annotation should be written in the third person accurately describing the contents and quality of the source.


How do I write an annotation?

An annotation should include:

1) a brief summary of the item's content

2) evaluative comments in such areas as:

  • author qualifications
  • any detected biases
  • comparison of accuracy with similar sources
  • list of references
  • currency (date of publication)
  • quality of links (for websites)
  • contact information (for websites)

Examples of annotations:

Note: The bibliographic citation information for the annotations below follows the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed. Other style guides may be used including APA or Turabian. See the Citing Print and Electronic Sources guide for additional information.




Barber, Benjamin R. Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World.

New York: Ballentine, 1996. Print.

Globalism, tribalism, democracy, and capitalism are discussed. Part I discusses McWorld and its invasion throughout the entire world. Part II focuses on Jihad as people and countries struggle for their own individual and cultural identities. Part III describes the clash of McWorld and Jihad and the resulting disorder. Two appendices are included that describe energy use and population by country in 1990 and twenty-two countries' top grossing films in 1991. The author is a political theorist and currently holds the position of Distinguished University Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park School of Public Policy.

Scholarly Journal Article

Forquer, LeAnne M., et al. "Sleep Patterns of College Students at a Public University." Journal of American College

Health 56.5 (2008): 563-565. Print.


This brief study describes the sleep habits of students at a north central university. The results showed that most college students have roommates or spouses and that the students' sleep habits change dramatically from weekdays to weekends. Approximately a quarter of the students wake at least once during the night, and almost 50 percent use sound to help them sleep. The authors note that sleep performance may improve with better circadian rhythm management, better sleep habits, and using white noise to block out other sounds. The authors were professors at Central Michigan University in the department of psychology at the time the study was conducted. References to scholarly peer reviewed articles are included.

Popular Magazine Article Found in an Article Database

Marano, Hara Estroff. "A Nation of Wimps." Psychology Today Nov./Dec. 2004: 58-62. Academic Search Premier.

         Web. 22 Aug. 2008.

The article decries society's overprotection of children by not allowing them to experience the bumps and bruises life brings. The author notes that college is where the "...emotional training wheels come off..." and where students start running into trouble with anxiety, depression, and binge drinking. The author cites several professionals--a psychologist, college president, a clinical professor of psychiatry, and a sociologist. Even in college, children have immediate access to their parents through the ever-present cell phone which prevents them from making decisions and managing life's inevitable problems on their own. Cheating children out of typical childhood experiences extends the adolescent phase.



Insurance Information Institute. Cell Phones and Driving. June 2008. Web. 23 Sept. 2008.

Cell phones are everywhere and this website describes issues related to the effect of cell phone use while driving. The site focuses on four areas: studies about cell phone use while driving, state and federal initiatives designed to address the problem, businesses which are now prohibiting cell phone use while driving, and a court decision reached in an accident involving a cell phone. The Insurance Information Institute is publicly recognized as a quality source of information and has been working to improve the public's understanding of insurance for the past 40 years. The dates of the studies detailed on the site were published between 2003 and 2008.  Links to scholarly studies and resources were provided.


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