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A bibliography is a list of citations put together on a topic of interest. Citations follow a specific format depending on the subject area; for example, researchers in the humanities usually follow the style set by the Modern Language Association (or MLA).
An annotation is a commentary a reader makes after critically reading an information source. It can include a summary of the reading, the reader’s response to the reading, and/or questions/comments addressing the article’s clarity, purpose, or effectiveness.
An annotated bibliography is an alphabetical list of research sources (citations to books, articles, and documents). Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words or 4-6 sentences long) 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.
- Main focus or purpose of the work (its relevance, accuracy, and quality of sources cited)
- Background and credibility of the author
- Intended audience
- Special unique features
- Weakness or bias
Questions to ask yourself as you critically analyze the item:
The following examples follow MLA format.
Robertson, Marta. "Musical and Choreographic Integration in Copland's and Graham's Appalachian Spring." Musical Quarterly 83.1 (Spring 1999): 6-26.
Martha Graham was the original choreographer for Copland's ballet, Appalachian Spring. Using both the composer's score and a filmed version of the original ballet, the author studies how Graham expressed Copland's music in dance. There are notated musical examples for particular parts of the score and transcriptions of dance rhythms for some of the soloist's steps. As both a dancer and a musicologist, the author offers a unique view combining both fields.
Smith, Julia. Aaron Copland: His Work and Contribution to American Music. New York: E. P. Dutton, 1955. 194-198.
Smith calls this book a "biographical-critical study" (Acknowledgments). The section on Appalachian Spring included in Chapter VII, "Third Style Period," provides a somewhat more technical analysis than some of the other studies do. Smith gives details about the work's commission from the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation, first performance on Oct. 30, 1944, in the then-new Coolidge Auditorium in the Library of Congress, highly favorable critical reception, and receipt of the Pulitzer Prize for Music (1945) and Music Critics' Circle Award for outstanding theatrical work in the 1944-45 season. The brief but clear technical discussion comments on nearly all the eight sections of the 1945 orchestral arrangement, noting folk idioms and Shaker characteristics. Smith refers to the work of Manfred Buzofzer in discussing Copland's contrapuntal treatment of the Shaker hymn "Simple Gifts" in Section VII. She also cites some of S. M. Barlow's summary comments on Appalachian Spring , calling it "limpid, sparkling, and rhythmically diversified" (page 194). Three figures show sections of the score. Appendix II (pages 312-318) lists recordings, arranged by recording company, of Copland's works prior to this book's publication. There are four listed for Appalachian Spring .