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Writing and Style Guide: Annotated Bibliography


What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography adds summary and/or evaluative information for each source.

Before starting, consider whether the annotations will be primarily descriptive or will also evaluate the source. Your instructor may have specific requirements in this regard.

Helpful Websites

Explore & learn more from websites on preparing an annotated bibliography:

Writing Annotations


Generally annotations are no more than 150-200 words, although length will vary according to the purpose and scope of the project. Your instructor may have specific requirements.


Describe the item. What is it about? What is its scope or the extent of its coverage? What are its main points?

If evaluating the source is part of the annotation, address whether the source seems authoritative, is it objective or biased, how does it compare with the other sources in your bibliography, how relevant is it to your own purpose or goals?


Bibliographic citations should be in Chicago/Turabian style. For help in formatting using EndNote, see the information about the Annotated Bibliography output style in the box to the right.  Annotations need not always be written in complete sentences.  Check with your instructor.


Use this Word document file to easily format your annotated bibliography.

Two special "styles" will create the indented citation, and the annotation paragraph.

An example of an annotation is linked below.

Annotated Bibliographies using Zotero

1. To create an annotated bibliography easily using Zotero, first download this Chicago annotated style from the Zotero style repository.

2. Zotero will ask if you wish to install the style. Click "Install."

3. In Zotero, select the reference you want to annotate.

4. In the "Extra" field, add your annotation (the "Extra" field is near the bottom of your reference fields).

5. Do the same for each resource that you want to include in your annotated bibliography.

6. When finished, highlight each resource in Zotero that you want to include in your annotated bibliography.

7. Right click and choose "Create bibliography from Selected Items."

8. Zotero will ask you to choose a style. Select "Chicago Manual of Style (note, annotated bibliography)" with Output Mode "Bibliography" and Output Method "Save as RTF." Then click OK.

9. Your annotated bibliography will pop up as a file that you can cut and paste into Microsoft Word or another word processing program.


EndNote Output Style

Add the Annotated Bibliography file to your Endnote Styles folder and use it to create annotated bibliographies.

In your Endnote library:

  • Choose this file as your output style (annotated_Chicago16thA_20140206.ens)
  • Place your annotation in the Abstract data field
  • Select (either with the Shift or Ctrl Key) the references you want to include.
  • Copy formatted (right click or Ctrl + click)
  • Paste into your document