How to Write an Annotated Bibliography - APA Style (7th Edition)

What is an annotation, how is an annotation different from an abstract, what is an annotated bibliography, types of annotated bibliographies, descriptive or informative, analytical or critical, to get started.

An annotation is more than just a brief summary of an article, book, website, or other type of publication. An annotation should give enough information to make a reader decide whether to read the complete work. In other words, if the reader were exploring the same topic as you, is this material useful and if so, why?

While an abstract also summarizes an article, book, website, or other type of publication, it is purely descriptive. Although annotations can be descriptive, they also include distinctive features about an item. Annotations can be evaluative and critical as we will see when we look at the two major types of annotations.

An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100–200 words in length.

Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  • Provide a literature review on a particular subject
  • Help to formulate a thesis on a subject
  • Demonstrate the research you have performed on a particular subject
  • Provide examples of major sources of information available on a topic
  • Describe items that other researchers may find of interest on a topic

There are two major types of annotated bibliographies:

A descriptive or informative annotated bibliography describes or summarizes a source as does an abstract; it describes why the source is useful for researching a particular topic or question and its distinctive features. In addition, it describes the author's main arguments and conclusions without evaluating what the author says or concludes.

For example:

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulties many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a legal nurse consulting business. Pointing out issues of work-life balance, as well as the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, the author offers their personal experience as a learning tool. The process of becoming an entrepreneur is not often discussed in relation to nursing, and rarely delves into only the first year of starting a new business. Time management, maintaining an existing job, decision-making, and knowing yourself in order to market yourself are discussed with some detail. The author goes on to describe how important both the nursing professional community will be to a new business, and the importance of mentorship as both the mentee and mentor in individual success that can be found through professional connections. The article’s focus on practical advice for nurses seeking to start their own business does not detract from the advice about universal struggles of entrepreneurship makes this an article of interest to a wide-ranging audience.

An analytical or critical annotation not only summarizes the material, it analyzes what is being said. It examines the strengths and weaknesses of what is presented as well as describing the applicability of the author's conclusions to the research being conducted.

Analytical or critical annotations will most likely be required when writing for a college-level course.

McKinnon, A. (2019). Lessons learned in year one of business.  Journal of Legal Nurse Consulting ,  30 (4), 26–28. This article describes some of the difficulty many nurses experience when transitioning from nursing to a nurse consulting business. While the article focuses on issues of work-life balance, the differences of working for someone else versus working for yourself, marketing, and other business issues the author’s offer of only their personal experience is brief with few or no alternative solutions provided. There is no mention throughout the article of making use of other research about starting a new business and being successful. While relying on the anecdotal advice for their list of issues, the author does reference other business resources such as the Small Business Administration to help with business planning and professional organizations that can help with mentorships. The article is a good resource for those wanting to start their own legal nurse consulting business, a good first advice article even. However, entrepreneurs should also use more business research studies focused on starting a new business, with strategies against known or expected pitfalls and issues new businesses face, and for help on topics the author did not touch in this abbreviated list of lessons learned.

Now you are ready to begin writing your own annotated bibliography.

  • Choose your sources - Before writing your annotated bibliography, you must choose your sources. This involves doing research much like for any other project. Locate records to materials that may apply to your topic.
  • Review the items - Then review the actual items and choose those that provide a wide variety of perspectives on your topic. Article abstracts are helpful in this process.
  • The purpose of the work
  • A summary of its content
  • Information about the author(s)
  • For what type of audience the work is written
  • Its relevance to the topic
  • Any special or unique features about the material
  • Research methodology
  • The strengths, weaknesses or biases in the material

Annotated bibliographies may be arranged alphabetically or chronologically, check with your instructor to see what he or she prefers.

Please see the  APA Examples page  for more information on citing in APA style.

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APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : No Author, No Date etc.

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No page numbers.

No Title 

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If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title/name of the item you are citing instead. Follow the title/name of the item with the date of publication, and the continue with other citation details.

Note : an author/creator won't necessarily be a person's name. It may be an organization or corporation, for example Health Canada or a username on a site such a YouTube.

If no author or creator is provided, use a shortened version of the title where you'd normally put the author's last name. 

If you're citing something which is part of a bigger work, like an article from a magazine, newspaper, journal or encyclopedia, or chapter or short story from a book, put the shortened title in quotation marks in your in-text citation. 

Example, paraphrasing: ("A few words", 2014) 

If you're citing an entire work, like a book, website, video, etc., italicize the shortened title in your in-text citation

Example, 'paraphrasing: ( A few words , 2014)

If and only if an item is signed as being created by Anonymous, use "Anonymous" where you'd normally put the author's name.

Alphabetical Order in References List

When putting works in alphabetical order, ignore initial articles such as "the", "a", or "an". For example the title The best of Canada would be alphabetized as if it started with the word best instead of the word The

If the title begins with a number, alphabetize it as if the number was spelled out. For example the title 5 ways to succeed in business would be alphabetized under F as if it had started with the word Five .

If no date is provided, use the initials n.d. where you would normally put the date.

Also use the initials n.d. if the date of content is difficult to determine, such as on a Wikipedia page.

Page numbers may not be provided for some items, such as online materials. If this is the case:

References List

If a citation would normally include page numbers but none are provided, skip the page numbers in the citation.

In-Text Citation - Quoting Directly

When quoting directly in the text of your paper, you would normally include page numbers if they were given. If there are no page numbers given:

  • Indicate the paragraph number instead of the page number with the word "para." before it. For example: (Smith, 2012, para. 3)
  • If there are headings, give the name of the heading, followed by the word "section" and the number of the paragraph within the section it is from. For example: (Smith, 2012, Discussion section, para. 3)
  • If there is only one paragraph, provide the author's last name and the year and omit the page number

Occasionally an item may not have a title. If you are citing something with no identified title, write a description of the item placed in square brackets. Put this description in brackets where you'd normally put the title.

If you find an article through the  search bar  on the main library page, you might be unsure which database the article is from, because this searches across many different databases.

You can find the name of the database a few ways:

Method 1. Click on the title of the article in the search results list. This will bring you to a page with a description of the article as well as other useful information. Scroll down to the bottom of this list of information, and you should see "Database" listed near the bottom.

Method 2. You can also find the name of the database in the summary of information just below the title of the article in the search results list. It will look something like this:

Notice the name of the database is listed at the end.

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How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography

  • The Annotated Bibliography
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Explanation, Process, Directions, and Examples

What is an annotated bibliography.

An annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

Annotations vs. Abstracts

Abstracts are the purely descriptive summaries often found at the beginning of scholarly journal articles or in periodical indexes. Annotations are descriptive and critical; they may describe the author's point of view, authority, or clarity and appropriateness of expression.

The Process

Creating an annotated bibliography calls for the application of a variety of intellectual skills: concise exposition, succinct analysis, and informed library research.

First, locate and record citations to books, periodicals, and documents that may contain useful information and ideas on your topic. Briefly examine and review the actual items. Then choose those works that provide a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Cite the book, article, or document using the appropriate style.

Write a concise annotation that summarizes the central theme and scope of the book or article. Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic.

Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

For guidance in critically appraising and analyzing the sources for your bibliography, see How to Critically Analyze Information Sources . For information on the author's background and views, ask at the reference desk for help finding appropriate biographical reference materials and book review sources.

Choosing the Correct Citation Style

Check with your instructor to find out which style is preferred for your class. Online citation guides for both the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA) styles are linked from the Library's Citation Management page .

Sample Annotated Bibliography Entries

The following example uses APA style ( Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association , 7th edition, 2019) for the journal citation:

Waite, L., Goldschneider, F., & Witsberger, C. (1986). Nonfamily living and the erosion of traditional family orientations among young adults. American Sociological Review, 51 (4), 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

This example uses MLA style ( MLA Handbook , 9th edition, 2021) for the journal citation. For additional annotation guidance from MLA, see 5.132: Annotated Bibliographies .

Waite, Linda J., et al. "Nonfamily Living and the Erosion of Traditional Family Orientations Among Young Adults." American Sociological Review, vol. 51, no. 4, 1986, pp. 541-554. The authors, researchers at the Rand Corporation and Brown University, use data from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women and Young Men to test their hypothesis that nonfamily living by young adults alters their attitudes, values, plans, and expectations, moving them away from their belief in traditional sex roles. They find their hypothesis strongly supported in young females, while the effects were fewer in studies of young males. Increasing the time away from parents before marrying increased individualism, self-sufficiency, and changes in attitudes about families. In contrast, an earlier study by Williams cited below shows no significant gender differences in sex role attitudes as a result of nonfamily living.

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How do I cite a source that has no author?

Note: This post relates to content in the eighth edition of the MLA Handbook . For up-to-date guidance, see the ninth edition of the MLA Handbook .

When a work is published without an author’s name, begin the works-cited-list entry with the title of the work. Do not use Anonymous in place of an author’s name:

“English Language Arts Standards.” Common Core State Standards Initiative , 2017, www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/.
“An Homily against Disobedience and Wylful Rebellion.” 1570. Divine Right and Democracy: An Anthology of Political Writing in Stuart England , edited by David Wootton, Penguin Books, 1986, pp. 94–98.

For works created by a corporate author—an institution, a government body, or another kind of organization—list that entity as the author:

Hart Research Associates. It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success . Association of American Colleges and Universities , 2013, www.aacu.org/publications-research/periodicals/it-takes-more-major-employer-priorities-college-learning-and.

An exception: if a corporate author is also the work’s publisher, list that entity as the publisher and skip the “Author” slot:

Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America . National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004.

Cite these works in your text by title or by corporate author—that is, by the first item in the works-cited-list entry:

The homily argues that rebelling against the English monarch amounts to rebelling against God (“Homily” 97).
Eighty percent of employers believe that all college students “should acquire broad knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences” (Hart).

Review a source carefully before deciding that it has no author. It’s important to credit authors for their work.

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Creating an Annotated Bibliography

  • What is an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an Annotation

Formatting an annotated bibliography.

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Components of an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is an APA reference list that includes a brief summary and analysis -- the annotation --  under the reference entry.  

An annotated bibliography includes:

  • APA Title page
  • Pages are numbered beginning with title page
  • References centered and bolded at top of page
  • Entries listed in alphabetical order
  • Annotations begin under its associated reference
  • Annotations are indented 0.5 inches from the left margin
  • The entire document is double spaced; no extra space between entries

Example of an annotated bibliography entry:

annotated bibliography no author

An  an n otated bibliography is composed of the full APA reference for a source followed by notes and commentary about that so urce. T he word  “annotate” means “critical or explanatory notes” and the word “bibliography” means “a list of sources”.  Annotation s are meant to be critical in addition to being descriptive.

Annotations are generally between five to seven sentences in length and appear directly under the APA reference.  The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inch from the left margin and lines up with the hanging indent of the APA reference.

Use the question prompts below as a guide when writing annotations:

• 2 to 4 sentences to  summarize   the main idea(s) of the source.

     - What are the main arguments?

     - What is the point of this book/article?

     - What topics are covered?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  assess   and  evaluate   the source.

     - How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography?

     - Is this information reliable? current?

     - Is the author credible? have the background to write on this topic?

     - Is the source objective or biased?

• 1 or 2 sentences to  reflect   on the source.

     - Was this source helpful to you?

     - How can you use this source for your research project?

     - Has it changed how you think about your topic?

  • a title page, and
  • the annotated bibliography which begins on its own page with the word References bolded and centered at the top of the page.

Each entry begins with an APA reference for the resource with the annotation appearing directly beneath. The entire annotation is indented 0.5 inches from the left margin.

Entries are listed in alphabetical order. The entire document is typed on one of the six approved font styles and sizes and is double spaced.  There is no additional space between entires.

Consider using Academic Writer or NoodleTools to create and format your annotated bibliography.  

annotated bibliography no author

APA Citation Style Resources and Tools

Apa academic writer.

Use the tools in the  References tab to create APA references for the resources in your annotated bibliography.  The form includes a text box for your annotation.  You can create your title page and assemble your annotated bibliography in the Write tab in this authoritative resource.

  • APA Academic Writer This link opens in a new window Formerly APA Style Central, Academic Writer is a digital library of quick APA guides and tutorials: - Learn - view videos and tutorials, test your APA knowledge with quizzes, and view sample papers, references, tables, and figures. - Reference - view tutorials, search APA dictionaries, develop research ideas, plan and track your research, and manage your references. - Write - use templates to write papers (includes step-by-step help), and work on saved papers. (Must create a personal account to use.)

Create and format your annotated bibliography in NoodleTools .  Find information on how to create an account, create APA references, and creating and formatting an annotated bibliography in the NoodleTools Guide.

  • NoodleTools Guide

This video below provides an overview of how to create an annotated bibliography including evaluating resources, writing annotations, creating APA references, and formatting the final document in the APA style. 

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Annotated Bibliography Samples

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This handout provides information about annotated bibliographies in MLA, APA, and CMS.

Below you will find sample annotations from annotated bibliographies, each with a different research project. Remember that the annotations you include in your own bibliography should reflect your research project and/or the guidelines of your assignment.

As mentioned elsewhere in this resource, depending on the purpose of your bibliography, some annotations may summarize, some may assess or evaluate a source, and some may reflect on the source’s possible uses for the project at hand. Some annotations may address all three of these steps. Consider the purpose of your annotated bibliography and/or your instructor’s directions when deciding how much information to include in your annotations.

Please keep in mind that all your text, including the write-up beneath the citation, must be indented so that the author's last name is the only text that is flush left.

Sample MLA Annotation

Lamott, Anne. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life . Anchor Books, 1995.

Lamott's book offers honest advice on the nature of a writing life, complete with its insecurities and failures. Taking a humorous approach to the realities of being a writer, the chapters in Lamott's book are wry and anecdotal and offer advice on everything from plot development to jealousy, from perfectionism to struggling with one's own internal critic.

In the process, Lamott includes writing exercises designed to be both productive and fun. Lamott offers sane advice for those struggling with the anxieties of writing, but her main project seems to be offering the reader a reality check regarding writing, publishing, and struggling with one's own imperfect humanity in the process. Rather than a practical handbook to producing and/or publishing, this text is indispensable because of its honest perspective, its down-to-earth humor, and its encouraging approach.

Chapters in this text could easily be included in the curriculum for a writing class. Several of the chapters in Part 1 address the writing process and would serve to generate discussion on students' own drafting and revising processes. Some of the writing exercises would also be appropriate for generating classroom writing exercises. Students should find Lamott's style both engaging and enjoyable.

In the sample annotation above, the writer includes three paragraphs: a summary, an evaluation of the text, and a reflection on its applicability to his/her own research, respectively.

For information on formatting MLA citations, see our MLA 9th Edition (2021) Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample APA Annotation

Ehrenreich, B. (2001). Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America . Henry Holt and Company.

In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America. Taking jobs as a waitress, a maid in a cleaning service, and a Walmart sales employee, the author summarizes and reflects on her work, her relationships with fellow workers, and her financial struggles in each situation.

An experienced journalist, Ehrenreich is aware of the limitations of her experiment and the ethical implications of her experiential research tactics and reflects on these issues in the text. The author is forthcoming about her methods and supplements her experiences with scholarly research on her places of employment, the economy, and the rising cost of living in America. Ehrenreich’s project is timely, descriptive, and well-researched.

The annotation above both summarizes and assesses the book in the citation. The first paragraph provides a brief summary of the author's project in the book, covering the main points of the work. The second paragraph points out the project’s strengths and evaluates its methods and presentation. This particular annotation does not reflect on the source’s potential importance or usefulness for this person’s own research.

For information on formatting APA citations, see our APA Formatting and Style Guide .

Sample Chicago Manual of Style Annotation

Davidson, Hilda Ellis. Roles of the Northern Goddess . London: Routledge, 1998.

Davidson's book provides a thorough examination of the major roles filled by the numerous pagan goddesses of Northern Europe in everyday life, including their roles in hunting, agriculture, domestic arts like weaving, the household, and death. The author discusses relevant archaeological evidence, patterns of symbol and ritual, and previous research. The book includes a number of black and white photographs of relevant artifacts.

This annotation includes only one paragraph, a summary of the book. It provides a concise description of the project and the book's project and its major features.

For information on formatting Chicago Style citations, see our Chicago Manual of Style resources.

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APA 7th Edition Style Guide: Annotated Bibliography

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Below is an example of an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography allows your professor to see the sources you will use in your final research paper. It shows that you have planned ahead by conducting research and gave thought to the information you will need to write a complete research paper. The annotations may summarize or evaluate the sources used. The references need to follow the APA rules for citations. The title page of your annotated bibliography follows the same rules as an APA research paper.

  • Example APA Annotated Bibliography Remember, always follow your professor's instructions when creating an annotated bibliography.
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Introduction to Annotated Bibliographies

Always check with your professor to confirm their guidelines and preferences for any annotated bibliography assignments.

The format and content of annotated bibliographies can vary based on citation style and course requirements.

They are essentially a list of citations, each citation followed by an annotation, or a (typically short) piece of writing describing and/or evaluating the source.

Annotations can be descriptive, evaluative, and/or critical, and they are designed to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the cited source.

General Guidelines for Making an Annotated Bibliography

  • Look through more sources than you need
  • Filter out works that don't fit within your topic
  • Choose works that provide you with enough perspective
  • You may use RefWorks and should consult our Citing Sources Guide to ensure correct formatting
  • Citation formatting may vary based on the format of the source (e.g., the citation guidelines for academic journals differ from the guidelines for books or websites)
  • Read each source
  • Comment on the authority of the author
  • Comment on the intended audience
  • Compare and contrast the source to your other source
  • Comment on how this source works with your topic

General Format of an Annotation

Refer to the tabs on the left for specific guidelines for each citation style.

  • Follow the appropriate citation style
  • Add an annotation to the end of the entry​
  • Indent between 0 to 1 inch (depending on citation style) to distinguish from the hanging indent of the source entry
  • Annotations describe or evaluate the source - follow the instructor's guidelines​
  • If you do use more than one paragraph, do not skip a line between paragraphs
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CNW:3633 Personal Writing - Bonner, Spring 2024: Annotated Bibliography

Annotated bibliography.

What is an Annotated Bibliography? 

A bibliography, as you know, is a list of sources that you’ve used when researching your topic (vs works cited, which will include only the sources cited in the essay). An annotated bibliography includes a brief summary and evaluation of the usefulness of each source. Like the mind maps and outlines we used for the first essay, annotated bibliographies are a valuable way to organize your ideas for a research paper; they give you an overview of what has already been said and areas you could contribute.

Annotations are written in paragraph form. Each annotation should include the following information:

1. Medium (book, movie, article, etc.)

2. Purpose of the source (what did the creator of the source want you to take away?)

3. Summary of the key features or arguments in the source

4. Information on the author/creator and related credentials. Is it in a peer-reviewed journal? Is it a fan on YouTube? (Both of these are valuable, but would be used differently in your essay)

5. Failures or shortcomings of the source. Did it overlook something major?

6. The value of this source to your essay. How does it help you?

For the first assignment, you will create an annotated bibliography with 3 sources ; each annotation will be about one paragraph (150 words), so your final annotated bib will be about 450 words. These annotations will be in MLA format. You must include two web sources and one book. 

If you are looking for information on annotated bibliographies, these resources provide an overview and examples:

  • Purdue OWL - Annotated Bibliographies
  • Cornell University Libraries - How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography
  • University of Nevada - Reno - Writing an Annotated Bibliography
  • << Previous: MLA
  • Last Updated: Feb 19, 2024 9:20 AM
  • URL: https://guides.lib.uiowa.edu/cnw3663

Frequently asked questions

How do i cite a source with no author in chicago style.

In a Chicago footnote citation , when the author of a source is unknown (as is often the case with websites ), start the citation with the title in a full note. In short notes and bibliography entries, list the organization that published it as the author.

In Chicago author-date style , treat the organization as author in your in-text citations and reference list.

To automatically generate accurate Chicago references, you can use Scribbr’s free Chicago reference generator .

Frequently asked questions: Chicago Style

The director should always be listed in the author position in a Chicago film citation , followed by the label “director.” Other contributors to the film (actors, cinematographers, writers, composers, producers, etc.) may be listed after the film title, e.g., “Featuring Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson. Cinematography by Jarin Blaschke.”

Only the contributors relevant to your discussion of the film should be added. You might mention actors whose performances are discussed in detail, or the composer if the use of music in the film is examined. It’s also fine to mention no contributors other than the director, if none are relevant to your discussion.

In Chicago style , when a source does not include page numbers but you still want to point the reader to a specific point within it, an alternative locator should be used in your Chicago footnote or Chicago in-text citation . With audiovisual sources (e.g., films , videos , podcasts, songs), this is a timestamp, e.g. 1:15:28.

Webpages are usually short enough that no specific locator is needed. However, for a particularly long web page, you can use a subheading from the page, in quotation marks , e.g., “Citing Sources with Notes.”

Note that page numbers should be left out of newspaper citations , even when they are available. This is because page numbers can vary between different editions of a newspaper.

In Chicago style , when you don’t just refer to an image but actually include it in your (research) paper , the image should be formatted as a figure. Place the figure before or after the first paragraph where it is mentioned. Refer to figures by their numbers in the text (e.g., “see fig. 1”).

Below the figure, place a caption providing the figure number followed by a period (e.g., “Figure 1.”), a reference to the source (if you didn’t create the image yourself), and any relevant information to help the reader understand the image (if needed).

The caption is single-spaced and left-aligned, and followed by a blank line before the continuation of the main text.

In a Chicago style footnote , list up to three authors. If there are more than three, name only the first author, followed by “ et al. ”

In the bibliography , list up to 10 authors. If there are more than 10, list the first seven followed by “et al.”

The same rules apply in Chicago author-date style .

When an online source does not list a publication date, replace it with an access date in your Chicago footnotes and your bibliography :

If you are using author-date in-text citations , or if the source was not accessed online, replace the date with “n.d.”

Chicago format doesn’t require you to use any specific font, as long as you choose something readable. A good standard choice is 12 pt Times New Roman.

  • A reference list is used with Chicago author-date citations .
  • A bibliography is used with Chicago footnote citations .

Both present the exact same information; the only difference is the placement of the year in source citations:

  • In a reference list entry, the publication year appears directly after the author’s name.
  • In a bibliography entry, the year appears near the end of the entry (the exact placement depends on the source type).

There are also other types of bibliography that work as stand-alone texts, such as a Chicago annotated bibliography .

Turabian style is a version of Chicago style designed specifically for students and researchers. It follows most Chicago conventions, but also adds extra guidelines for formatting research papers , theses and dissertations .

More information can be found in A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate L. Turabian, now in its ninth edition.

Footnotes appear at the bottom of the relevant page.  Endnotes appear in a list at the end of the text, just before the reference list or bibliography. Don’t mix footnotes and endnotes in the same document: choose one or the other and use them consistently.

In Chicago notes and bibliography style , you can use either footnotes or endnotes, and citations follow the same format in either case.

In APA and MLA style , footnotes or endnotes are not used for citations, but they can be used to provide additional information.

In Chicago author-date style , your text must include a reference list . It appears at the end of your paper and gives full details of every source you cited.

In notes and bibliography style, you use Chicago style footnotes to cite sources; a bibliography is optional but recommended. If you don’t include one, be sure to use a full note for the first citation of each source.

In Chicago notes and bibliography style , the usual standard is to use a full note for the first citation of each source, and short notes for any subsequent citations of the same source.

However, your institution’s guidelines may differ from the standard rule. In some fields, you’re required to use a full note every time, whereas in some other fields you can use short notes every time, as long as all sources are listed in your bibliography . If you’re not sure, check with your instructor.

When a source has four or more authors , your in-text citation or Chicago footnote should give only the first author’s name followed by “ et al. ” (Latin for “and others”). This makes your citations more concise.

In your bibliography or reference list , when a source has more than 10 authors, list the first seven followed by “et al.” Otherwise, list every author.

Page numbers should be included in your Chicago in-text citations when:

  • You’re quoting from the text.
  • You’re paraphrasing a particular passage.
  • You’re referring to information from a specific section.

When you’re referring to the overall argument or general content of a source, it’s unnecessary to include page numbers.

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annotated bibliography no author

  • Earl K. Long Library
  • Library Guides
  • Research Guides
  • ENGL 1158--Sullivan Spring 2024
  • Annotated Bibliographies

ENGL 1158--Sullivan Spring 2024: Annotated Bibliographies

  • What is a Peer-Reviewed Article?
  • Citation Help
  • Last Updated: Feb 21, 2024 9:33 AM
  • URL: https://libguides.uno.edu/sullivan_2024

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

A  bibliography  is a listing of sources on a specific subject, eg. fly fishing, the best Mexican cookbooks of all time, etc. An  annotated bibliography  is a list of sources with notes ('annotations') indicating why this source is useful, or interesting, or an important source of quality information on a selected topic. 

Depending on your assignment, you will be asked to identify and evaluate potential sources and then annotate (explain) why you recommend them as important or very useful. 

Finding is the easiest part. There are lots of places to look: the open internet (aka Google), library databases (we have over 100), and so on. 

Evaluating what you find is the next task. First, you have to clarify for yourself what qualities make a source of information desirable:

-- depth of coverage  of your topic,

-- currency  (how new or old is the source you select? is it up to date?) 

-- audience  (is this for beginners to learn about or experts?),

-- point of view  (what kind of bias does the writer present to you?) 

-- authority of the author  (is the writer an expert with special qualification in this topic? A degree? 20 years of experience?) 

All of the criteria above are worth considering when you evaluate something you find. What you select depends on the goal of your annotated bibliography. Is it to help a beginner? Is it meant to help people learn about a specialized narrow topic area?  These are the kind of questions to ask yourself and be able to answer for someone else who looks over your annotated bibliography. No AI can replace human intelligence and evaluation skills--this is why annotated bibliographies are so useful to researchers. Sure, we can search the internet and find a ton of info very quickly. What is harder, requires thought, and is incredibly useful is the evaluation of a real human being. 

  • << Previous: Citation Help

Home / Guides / Citation Guides / Harvard Referencing / Harvard Referencing Style Examples / Referencing sources with no author in Harvard style

Referencing sources with no author in Harvard style

This guide shows you what to do when the source you need to reference has no author. Sometimes, you’ll come across sources that don’t have authors listed. These types of sources are often ones like reference books, Wikipedia pages or newspaper articles. How you reference a source with no author varies somewhat, based on the type of source. The general rule is to use the title of the book, article or newspaper in the place of the author in both the in-text citation and full reference.

Here are some examples of how to reference sources with no author in Harvard style.

Books with no author

If you are referencing a book with no author, simply use the title of the book in italics where you would have used the author’s surname.  

In-text citation template:

( Book name, Publication year, Page number)

The moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical orbit in 27 days and 8 hours ( Children’s illustrated treasury of knowledge: Earth, 2013, p. 5).

The word ‘ballast’ is defined in the Concise Oxford English dictionary (2011, p. 101) as ‘a heavy substance, such as gravel or lead, placed in the bilge of a ship to ensure its stability’.

When referencing a book with no author in the reference list, the following format is used:

Title of the book (Publication year) Place of publication: Publisher name.

Children’s illustrated treasury of knowledge: Earth (2013) London: BPI Worldwide.

Concise Oxford English dictionary (2011) 12th edn. New York: Oxford University Press.

Web page with no author

For web pages with no author, such as Wikipedia pages, you’ll use the page title in single quotation marks in place of the author’s surname.

Here’s how the in-text citation would look:

Early New High German was an early form of German predominant in the early modern period (‘Early New High German’, 2020).

For the full reference, you’ll follow a similar format:

‘Early New High German’ (2020) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_New_High_German (Accessed: 19 October 2020).

Often when citing websites, it may appear that the web page has no author when it actually has an organization as its author, or the author is using a handle or username instead of their real name. This guide on how to cite a website in Harvard style provides details on how to cite web pages with different types of authors.

Newspaper/magazine articles with no author

When citing a newspaper or a magazine article in which the author’s name is not given, the format used for the in-text citation is:

( Name of the newspaper, Year of publication)

The article ( The Guardian , 2020) stated that …  

For the reference list, you’ll also use the newspaper title where you would normally place the author’s name. This is followed by the year of publication, the title of the article, the day and month, and, finally, a page reference if it is a print article, or a URL and access date if it is an online article.

Full reference template:  

Newspaper title (Year of publication) ‘Title of the article’, Day Month of publication. Available at: URL (Accessed: Day Month Year).

The Guardian (2020) ‘Wednesday briefing: last orders in fight to avoid lockdown’, 23 September. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/23/wednesday-briefing-last-orders-in-fight-to-avoid-lockdown (Accessed: 23 September 2020).

Published October 29, 2020.

Harvard Formatting Guide

Harvard Formatting

  • et al Usage
  • Direct Quotes
  • In-text Citations
  • Multiple Authors
  • Page Numbers
  • Writing an Outline
  • View Harvard Guide

Reference Examples

  • View all Harvard Examples

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IMAGES

  1. Annotated Bibliography Definition and Examples

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  2. 😎 Mla format annotated bibliography template. MLA Annotated

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  3. Annotated Bibliography

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  4. Annotated bibliography apa

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  5. Chicago Style Annotated Bibliography: Format + Example

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  6. Annotated Bibliography Chapter Of A Book

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  1. "Annotated Bibliography" (Brief Description/Instructions)

  2. Primary Source in an Annotated Bibliography

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  4. Digital Annotated Bibliography

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COMMENTS

  1. How to cite in APA when there are no authors

    To add a reference with no author to the reference list, first move the title of the reference to the author position in your citation. For further information on creating reference list citations, see this guide on APA citations. Reference list examples:

  2. What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

    Published on March 9, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on August 23, 2022. An annotated bibliography is a list of source references that includes a short descriptive text (an annotation) for each source. It may be assigned as part of the research process for a paper, or as an individual assignment to gather and read relevant sources on a topic.

  3. Annotated Bibliographies

    Definitions A bibliography is a list of sources (books, journals, Web sites, periodicals, etc.) one has used for researching a topic. Bibliographies are sometimes called "References" or "Works Cited" depending on the style format you are using.

  4. No Author, Date, or Title in APA Style

    Revised on January 17, 2024. Webpage citations in APA Style consist of five components: author, publication date, title, website name, and URL. Unfortunately, some of these components are sometimes missing. For instance, there may be no author or publication date.

  5. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography is an organized list of sources (like a reference list). It differs from a straightforward bibliography in that each reference is followed by a paragraph length annotation, usually 100-200 words in length. Depending on the assignment, an annotated bibliography might have different purposes:

  6. MLA Citation Guide (9th Edition): No Author, No Date etc

    How Do I Cite? In-Text Citation Works Quoted in Another Source Works Cited List & Sample Paper On this Page What To Do When Information is Missing No Author If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title of the source you are citing instead. Do not use "Anonymous" as the author's name.

  7. APA Citation Guide (7th edition) : No Author, No Date etc

    Sample Paper, Reference List & Annotated Bibliography More Help? No Author No Author If no author or creator is provided, start the citation with the title/name of the item you are citing instead. Follow the title/name of the item with the date of publication, and the continue with other citation details.

  8. The Annotated Bibliography

    Include one or more sentences that (a) evaluate the authority or background of the author, (b) comment on the intended audience, (c) compare or contrast this work with another you have cited, or (d) explain how this work illuminates your bibliography topic. Critically Appraising the Book, Article, or Document

  9. MLA Style Annotated Bibliography

    Published on July 13, 2021 by Jack Caulfield . Revised on June 14, 2022. An annotated bibliography is a special assignment that lists sources in a way similar to the MLA Works Cited list, but providing an annotation for each source giving extra information.

  10. How do I cite a source that has no author?

    An exception: if a corporate author is also the work's publisher, list that entity as the publisher and skip the "Author" slot: Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America. National Endowment for the Arts, June 2004. Cite these works in your text by title or by corporate author—that is, by the first item in the works-cited ...

  11. LibGuides: MLA Style Guide, 7th Edition: Work with No Author

    Annotated Bibliography; Work with No Author. If a book has no author's or editor's name on the title page, begin the citation with the title. Do not use Anonymous or Anon. Material Type : In-text Citation : Works Cited : Book with no author (New York Public 199-203) New York Public Library American History Desk Reference. ...

  12. Annotated Bibliography Examples for MLA & APA

    Table of contents What is an annotated bibliography? Why include annotations? Step 1: Analyze your sources Step 2: Write the descriptions Step 3a: Formatting an MLA style annotated bibliography Step 3b: Formatting an APA style annotated bibliography Annotated Bibliography Templates Using the EasyBib Annotation Tool

  13. RasGuides: APA 7th Edition Guide: Annotated Bibliographies

    An annotated bibliography is an APA reference list that includes a brief summary and analysis -- the annotation -- under the reference entry. An annotated bibliography includes:

  14. APA Annotated Bibliography Format

    Citation Generator Source Type Search The American Psychological Association states that your instructor should set the guidelines for your annotated bibliography, but does ask that the list be formatted according to their standard reference page rules (see Section 9.51 of the Publication Manual ).

  15. Annotated Bibliography Samples

    Nickel and dimed: On (not) getting by in America. Henry Holt and Company. In this book of nonfiction based on the journalist's experiential research, Ehrenreich attempts to ascertain whether it is currently possible for an individual to live on a minimum-wage in America.

  16. LibGuides: APA 7th Edition Style Guide: Annotated Bibliography

    Annotated Bibliography. Below is an example of an annotated bibliography. The annotated bibliography allows your professor to see the sources you will use in your final research paper. It shows that you have planned ahead by conducting research and gave thought to the information you will need to write a complete research paper.

  17. How to Do APA Citations With No Author

    Breaking down references for a web page in APA style is pretty simple. List the article title. This is the first piece of information you note, and it goes in the place of the author. Add the published date in parentheses. The date follows the format: year, month, and day, if available. Name of the website.

  18. How to Write an Annotated Bibliography, With Examples

    An annotated bibliography is a type of bibliography that includes a comment by the author about the source in addition to the source's publishing information. The author's notes, or annotations, can discuss anything relevant to the topic, such as the source's accuracy, the context in which it was written, or even your personal views on the source.

  19. Research Guides: Annotated Bibliographies: Welcome

    The format and content of annotated bibliographies can vary based on citation style and course requirements. They are essentially a list of citations, each citation followed by an annotation, or a (typically short) piece of writing describing and/or evaluating the source. ... Comment on the authority of the author; Comment on the intended ...

  20. MLA

    No Author in MLA. When no author is given, omit the author section and start the citation with the title. MLA also discourages the use of "Anonymous" as a replacement for the author's name ("How"). The Epic of Gilgamesh. Translated by N. K. Sandars, Penguin Books, 1964.

  21. Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated bibliography includes a brief summary and evaluation of the usefulness of each source. Like the mind maps and outlines we used for the first essay, annotated bibliographies are a valuable way to organize your ideas for a research paper; they give you an overview of what has already been said and areas you could contribute.

  22. Chicago Style: Citing No Authors

    This page will help you to create Chicago-style citations for works without clear authors. It covers how to build these citations in both notes-bibliography and author-date styles. The examples and information on this page adhere to the guidelines in the 17th edition of Chicago Manual of Style, but this page is not officially linked to the CMOS ...

  23. How to Cite a Website with No Author

    Here is how to cite a webpage without an author in three of the most popular citation styles: APA 7, MLA 9, and Chicago (17th ed.). APA 7 Reference Entry Template: Title of webpage/article. (Year, Month Date of publication). In Website Name. URL Reference Entry Example: Giant panda. (2022, June 29).

  24. How do I cite a source with no author in Chicago style?

    In a Chicago footnote citation, when the author of a source is unknown (as is often the case with websites ), start the citation with the title in a full note. In short notes and bibliography entries, list the organization that published it as the author.

  25. ENGL 1158--Sullivan Spring 2024: Annotated Bibliographies

    A bibliography is a listing of sources on a specific subject, eg. fly fishing, the best Mexican cookbooks of all time, etc.An annotated bibliography is a list of sources with notes ('annotations') indicating why this source is useful, or interesting, or an important source of quality information on a selected topic.. Depending on your assignment, you will be asked to identify and evaluate ...

  26. Referencing sources with no author in Harvard style

    These types of sources are often ones like reference books, Wikipedia pages or newspaper articles. How you reference a source with no author varies somewhat, based on the type of source. The general rule is to use the title of the book, article or newspaper in the place of the author in both the in-text citation and full reference. Here are ...