Annotations - How To

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So you need to write an annotation...

The purpose of an annotation is to let someone who has read/reviewed your paper/project know more about your sources.

An annotation should be a small paragraph in length, 3-5 sentences, and be written in 3rd person (no "I" or "me" statements in your paragraph).

It should tell your audience:

  • the type of source it is (web page, book, magazine article)

  • the author's purpose (inform, persuade)

  • the target audience (general public, researchers, students)

  • a summary (what it is about?)

  • the credibility of the author (how do you know you can trust the information? could it be biased?)

  • the usefulness of this source compared to your others and what you used it for

  • the timeliness of the source (how recent/old is the information?, does "age" of the source matter based on the type of information it is?)

  • other brief comments you'd want someone to know about how valuable/invaluable this source is for your research


Here is a sample annotation about the library web page itself:

This web page's purpose is to give students a variety of computer-based sources of information. This web page allows users to browse through the library's catalog, use different research databases, generate work cited pages, and get other helpful tips for classes at school. While there is not an "updated" date, the information appears to be accurate and the links work. The author of the page is the teacher-librarian and is solely responsible for its upkeep. Any bias would only be toward making research as easy and worthwhile as possible for the students.