An excellent annotated bibliography by a geography student follows. Note how he takes advantage of all of the stylistic advice offered on the previous page, and how the paper’s sections begin to take shape even in the source descriptions. Note also that the writer's tone is upbeat and informed. We get a strong sense that the writer cares about the topic and will make it interesting to read about.
Click here to open a sample annotated bibliography within this page.
SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
"The Geography of American Graveyards"
by John Lerner
1) Jordan, Terry G. (1982). Texas Graveyards, A Cultural Legacy. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Jordan offers an in-depth look at the hows and whys of Texas graveyards. He divides vernacular burial sites into three categories: Mexican, German, and "Southern folk cemeteries." His physical descriptions of cemetery layout, inscriptions, grave markers, and the like are very detailed.
2) Meyer, Richard E., ed. (1989). Cemeteries and Gravemarkers, Voices of American Culture. Ann Arbor
Meyer’s book is a compilation of works concerning such topics as regional epitaphs, origins of Southern cemeteries, the Afro-American section of a Rhode Island burial ground, and the use of bronze in memorials.
3) Sloane, David Charles (1991). The Last Great Necessity, Cemeteries in American History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Sloane’s work will serve as my primary source of information. He has written a history of American cemeteries in a cultural context concentrating on significant trends in their development. Sloane’s "Notes" section will allow for easy access to other sources.
4) Weed, Howard Evarts (1912). Modern Park Cemeteries. Chicago: R.J. Haight.
Weed was a landscape architect and his work concentrates on how a cemetery should look. Weed offers detailed descriptions of the physical layout of pre-20th century cemeteries.
5) Zelinsky, Wilbur (1994). "Gathering Places for America’s Dead," The Professional Geographer. 46:1, 29-38.
Zelinsky’s article is an intriguing analysis of the spatial patterns of American cemeteries. He calculates and maps the number of cemeteries by county across the country. He then seeks answers as to why there is such a fluctuation in the number per square mile from one place to the next. Zelinsky’s bibliography led me to Sloane’s work.
An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a Reference page but includes an annotation after each source cited. An annotation is a short summary and/or critical evaluation of a source. Annotated bibliographies can be part of a larger research project, or can be a stand-alone report in itself.
Types of Annotations
A summary annotation describes the source by answering the following questions: who wrote the document, what the document discusses, when and where was the document written, why was the document produced, and how was it provided to the public. The focus is on description.
An evaluative annotation includes a summary as listed above but also critically assesses the work for accuracy, relevance, and quality. Evaluative annotations can help you learn about your topic, develop a thesis statement, decide if a specific source will be useful for your assignment, and determine if there is enough valid information available to complete your project. The focus is on description and evaluation.