Sample Entries for the Annotated Bibliography

You can find examples of annotated bibliographies on any topic in the world. (I tried googling the words annotated bibliography along with mobile phonesamateur journalism, and buffy the vampire slayer, and I found annotated bibs for them all.) (Yes, this is a valid way to find helpful sources for your project.)

But as I said on the assignment sheet for the annotated bibliography, not everyone writes annotations the same way. So to give an example of what I’m looking for, I’m going to paste in a couple of examples here. Each of them is from a real student, but I tweaked the citations at the beginning to make sure there were no errors.

Sample of a non-scholarly source using APA format

Allabaugh, D. (2013, May 5). Health care lost in translation. Retrieved July 15, 2013, from
This article spends a great deal of time discussing specific events that people needed an interpreter or translator at hospitals or clinics.  This examples prove just how discouraging the frustrating it can be to attempt to take care of people, but fail to do so due to a language barrier.  In rare occasions, hospitals run out of solutions, possibly because a patient speaks a language with a very unique dialect.  In the past, situations like these were never corrected, and although patients still received care, they were not understood due to the language barrier.
However, Skype has made this issue less severe, since it allows medical staff to contact a translator via an online video camera.  The article states, “Interpreters who speak up to 170 different languages, including sign language, are available by Skype 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”  This technology is absolutely remarkable for healthcare workers, because they are able to better understand their patients wants and needs, improving the situation for everyone involved.
This article solely discussed translators and this useful Skype application that is currently available.  The article stated only positives about this technology and did not mention one negative aspect.  This piece was written in an informational manner, attempting to education people about this new software that is now available.
I really liked this article, because I have personally used this Skype software to assist a patient.  I have seen how this software works and as a future nurse, this tool is more than useful for myself and colleagues.  This article was very specific and did not mention too much information about the software’s mechanics or anything of that nature.  This article just discussed that general idea that this type of software is currently available and how effective it can be.  I also like how this article stated that this software can interpret up to 170 different languages, because this factual information is very  helpful when envisioning the effectiveness of this new tool.
The only issues I have with this article is the fact that it was almost too positive and it did not argue anything in particular.  As stated in the summary, this article appeared to be written as an informational piece of writing, designed to educate consumers and businesses about this new up-and-coming device.  The article may have had more substance and strength if it had showcased where Skype needs to improve or some of the faults of this software.

Sample of a scholarly source using MLA format

Phillips, Whitney. “LOLing at Tragedy: Facebook Trolls, Memorial Pages and Resistance to Grief Online.” First Monday 16.12 (2011): n.pag. Web. 15 July 2013.

This paper, written by fourth year Ph.D. student Whitney Phillips, explains different scenarios where Facebook trolling has become a major issue. According to Urban Dictionary, Facebook trolling is “When someone updates their Facebook status, only to get people to comment and “like it.” Phillips opens her paper with a story of Chelsea King, a high school student who went missing one morning. Many Facebook pages and fan pages were made in the hopes to help locate King. These pages soon became memorialized after authorities had discovered that King was raped, murdered, and buried next to a lake in California. A lot of the comments that appeared were common grieving grounds, while other comments that were made were simply rude and inappropriate. Such comments were ultimately removed from the memorial page, as authorities of Facebook do have such a monitoring system. This then lead to other pages being made to mock the Chelsea King’s memorial page. One page in particular, I bet this pickle can get more fans than Chelsea King, was created out of pure mockery and trolling. Even after the news press got involved, the author of the page still seemed unfazed by the situation going public. Phillips goes on in her paper to talk about how other forms of trolling are becoming a huge issue across the Facebook world, and they are most common amongst rest in peace pages.

My thoughts:
I feel like the examples used throughout this paper are well researched and bring Phillip’s points alive. Being able to take all angles into consideration, from the creator of the page, to the fans of the page, to the trolls of the page, to the Facebook mediators of the page, really hits home with how dynamic the whole fan page and memorial page really can be. I feel this paper will help tie to the emotional aspect of my persuasive final project, especially to the members who are emotionally affected by the loss of their loved one or friend. Paulie Socash, a man who monitored his sister’s memorialized Facebook page, looked every day for any harsh comment that would be legitimate enough to ask the Facebook staff to remove the page all together. Phillip ends her paper with a colorfully negative description of how the effects of trolling by stating, “It unearths truths about our relationship to mainstream media. It is simultaneously cruel and amusing and aggressive and playful and real and pretend and hurtful and harmless, as are the trolls themselves.” Not only does she tie the words to the cruel pages and comments themselves, but she also ties them to the Troll who is coming up with these comments. This kind of negativity could help my persuasive point of view by hopefully tying to the emotions of the viewers, because they are real people also.

Annotated Bibliography Assignment

UPDATE: I’ve posted 2 sample annotations here.


Photo of notecards layed outThroughout the second half of the semester, you’ll research a topic of your choice related to digital rhetoric for your final multimodal persuasive project. To keep track of that research and share your progress with me, you’ll add items to an annotated bibliography organized in the free program Evernote. We’ll use Evernote both for its functionality (because it’s useful) and to critically analyze it (to ask how it changes the nature of 21st-century communication).

Don’t let the name annotated bibliography scare you. A bibliography is just a list of sources, usually following some formal standard (like MLA or APA). Annotated means “with notes added to it.” (A book that I’ve scribbled in has been “annotated.”) So an annotated bibliography is a certain kind of bibliography, a certain kind of list of sources, one that has lots of notes added to each entry in the bibliography.

Though annotated bibliographies are made differently by different people, entries in them often include a formal citation, a summary of the source, and an evaluation of the source. Their purpose is always to help others understand sources without their having to take the time to read them. So while writing this annotated bibliography, imagine yourself addressing someone who is trying to decide if these sources are useful for them or not.


Over the course of three and a half weeks, write annotations for twelve sources that would be appropriate to use as sources for your academic essay. (When you’re writing about new technologies, a small number of news and magazine stories are appropriate.) At least five must be articles in peer-reviewed academic journals, and at least one must be a book.

Each annotation must include the following 3 elements:

  1. A formal citation of the source in MLA or APA format (up to you)
  2. A paragraph or section summarizing the source in detail
  3. A second paragraph or section evaluating the source in detail. Your evaluation might include a mini rhetorical analysis of the strategies used by the author, notes on the general strengths and weaknesses of the source, your thoughts on how credible the source is, your prediction of how helpful it will be for your final project (and why), or anything else that occurs to you to comment on.

Write each annotation as a separate note in Evernote. (So when the final annotation is due, you’ll have twelve separate notes.) To share these annotations with me, simply write then in an Evernote folder that you have shared with me. (If you miss class on October 21, you’ll need to get notes from someone in class to show you how to share a folder with me.) Once the note is in a shared folder, I can automatically read it.

I also encourage you to add useful tags to each note, but that’s not a requirement. (Here’s how.)


deeveepix - evernote-iphoneI’ll grade your annotations based on the correctness of your citations (i.e. how exactly it follows MLA or APA format) and the evidence that you put effort into writing a complete summary and a detailed evaluation.

You’ll receive two grades on your annotated bibliography:

  • Check-in: Before class begins on Friday, November 1, have at least four entries completed in your shared Evernote folder. Be as careful with these as possible, so I can give you advice on what you most need to work on before the final check. I’ll give you a 13/20, 17/20, or 20/20 based on how much effort it seems you put into doing those four notes well in all 3 categories (citation, summary, evaluation).
  • Final Check: Before class begins on Friday, November 15, have all twelve entries completed in your shared Evernote folder. (I’ll go get them there; you don’t need to submit anything else.) This grade will count as 10% of your final course grade, so I’ll be more formal with my grading: you’ll get a score for your citations, summaries, and evaluations, and your final score will be the average of these three.


  • Consider setting up a personal schedule for when you will write about longer or shorter sources. For instance, since you’ll have to include one book as a source, it would make sense to identify it early on, read it over a couple of weeks, and then write one of your last annotations on that book. You might want to write about shorter news stories early on and academic articles in the middle, too. It’s up to you.
    • Remember that you can get any book or article that exists through an inter-library loan. It’s free and easy: fill out the form here.
  • Twitter is a great place to find up-to-date information to respond to in an annotation. As you start to imagine what your final project topic will be, I encourage you to search out new Twitter feeds relating to it.
  • If someone else in class is working on a similar topic, feel free to share sources. Your annotations must be written by you, but you can collaborate to find sources if you like.
  • Any reading from the Social Media Reader that we didn’t read as a class is fair game for an annotation. (For the final project, you may use any sources we read throughout the semester, but it wouldn’t make sense to annotate those for this assignment.)

Images: Christmas w/a K, “External Memory – Analog saved me” and deeveepix, “evernote/iphone