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APA Style, 7th Edition

The APA Style 7th Edition guide serves to provide APA support starting January 2020


An annotated bibliography is a list of citations for various books, articles, and other sources on a topic. The annotated bibliography looks like a References 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 does the document discuss, 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.

Writing an Evaluative Annotation

  1. Cite the source using APA style.
  2. Describe the main ideas, arguments, themes, theses, or methodology, and identify the intended audience.
  3. Explain the author’s expertise, point of view, and any bias he/she may have.
  4. Compare to other sources on the same topic that you have also cited to show similarities and differences.
  5. Explain why each source is useful for your research topic and how it relates to your topic.
  6. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each source.
  7. Identify the observations or conclusions of the author. 
 Remember: Annotations are original descriptions that you create after reading the document. When researching, you may find journal articles that provide a short summary at the beginning of the text. This article abstract is similar to a summary annotation. You may consult the abstract when creating your evaluative annotation, but never simply copy it as that would be considered plagiarism. 

Basic Tips on Writing & Formatting

  • Each annotation should be one paragraph, between three to six sentences long (about 150- 200 words).
  • Start with the same format as a regular References list.
  • All lines should be double-spaced. Do not add an extra line between the citations.
  • If your list of citations is especially long, you can organize it by topic.
  • Try to be objective, and give explanations if you state any opinions.
  • Use the third person (e.g., he, she, the author) instead of the first person (e.g., I, my, me)


Annotated bibliographies are formated in the method below.

Use a hanging indent for any references that are longer than one line.

The text of the annotation (where you explain who wrote the article, what they found, and why it is relevant to your paper) goes in a paragraph that has been indented directly below the reference entry. 


Johnston, M.P. (2013). School librarian & technology specialist: Partnership for effective technology integration. Knowledge Quest, 42(1), 70-75.

Written by an assistant professor of library and information science and based on her personal experience, observations, and evidence-based research, this article attempts to cement the necessity for open communication between the school librarian and technology specialist. A cohesive relationship with mutual support proves to be a better way for the educational world to navigate the productive use of technology. If librarians and technology specialists are at odds within a school, then the only ones that suffer are the teachers and the students. A cohesive team of media specialists can better serve the school while teaching and integrating new technology in the classroom. Productivity for media specialists, both librarians, and technology specialists, also demands working cohesively with classroom teachers since many need assistance with technology integration. Open communication and consideration are integral to this process and only when these two factors happen in tandem can a school fully realize the possibilities inherent in technology. 

Moreillon, J., (2013). Leadership: Teaching digital citizenship. School Library Monthly, 30(1), 26-27.

Written by an assistant professor of library and information studies in Texas, this article focuses on digital citizenship. The information, from the author’s personal observations and through discussions with colleagues, highlights the tools librarians currently use to increase their digital clout and technological presence within a school setting and recommends other tools that are potentially available. The author surmises that teaching digital citizenship purposefully helps integrate the correct use of technology while following standards set by the Common Core State Standards. Being advocates for teaching staff and students about digital citizenship acutely brings to focus the need for informed library specialists and the need for adequate technology resources. The author recommends fostering a proactive community in order to help students and staff become informed digital citizens prepared to navigate the wide world of technology.