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Last Updated: Dec 3, 2014 URL: http://guides.uscb.edu/english Print Guide

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What is an Annotated Bibliography?

An annotated bibliography includes a summary and/or evaluation of each of your sources. Depending on your project or the assignment, your annotations may do one or more of the following:

  • Summarize: Some annotations merely summarize the source. What are the main arguments? What is the point of this book or article? What topics are covered? If someone asked what this article/book is about, what would you say? The length of your annotations will determine how detailed your summary is.
  • Assess: After summarizing a source, it may be helpful to evaluate it. Is it a useful source? How does it compare with other sources in your bibliography? Is the information reliable? Is this source biased or objective? What is the goal of this source?
  • Reflect: Once you've summarized and assessed a source, you need to ask how it fits into your research. Was this source helpful to you? How does it help you shape your argument? How can you use this source in your research project? Has it changed how you think about your topic?

Your annotated bibliography may include some of these, all of these, or even others. If you're doing this for a class, you should get specific guidelines from your instructor.

See the following link from Purdue University's Online Writing Lab (OWL) for more information and some samples:


Getting Started

When doing research for sources – after you’ve done some basic background investigation of your topic (in the encyclopedia, etc.), first turn to the MLA International Bibliography. That will give you a sortable list of books, essays that have appeared in edited books (edited books are books that contain several essays by different scholars), and journal articles.

To find a book, check our catalog, the USC-system-side catalog, and PASCAL to see if you can get the book that way. If the book does not appear, then request it through Interlibrary loan.

To find an Essay that has appeared in an Edited Book, look for the book. If it doesn’t turn up, then request an electronic scan of the chapter from Interlibrary Loan.

To find an article, if it doesn’t appear linked from the MLA International Bibliography, check TDNet to see if we have the journal electronically (we have very few journals in print at USCB). Then follow through. (TDNet is also available from the Library homepage.) If we don’t have the journal, or we don’t have the volume of the journal you need, then request an electronic scan of the essay from Interlibrary Loan.


General & Short Story Criticism

The resources in this column feature the best places to start or go to if you can’t find information about your work online. Most of these print resources are located at the Historic Beaufort (North) Campus Library and the librarians are happy to help you search for the information you need!

Twentieth Century Literary Criticism
Call Number: Ref PN 771 .G27 v.1-101; North Library

Contemporary Literary Criticism
Call Number: Ref PN 771 .C59 v.1-133; North Library

Short Story Criticism
Call Number: Ref PN 3373 .S56 v.1-41; North Library

Poetry Criticism
Call Number: Ref PN 1010 .P499 v.1-29; North Library

Nineteenth Century Literature Criticism
Call Number: Ref PN 761 .N5 v.1-31; North Library

Shakespearean Criticism
Call Number: Ref PR 2965 .S44 v.1-44; North Library


Selected Books

Cover Art
A Dictionary of Critical Theory - Ian Buchanan
Call Number: ebook
Publication Date: 2010

Cover Art
Literary Research Guide: an annotated listing of reference sources in English literary studies - James L. Harner
Call Number: REF PR 83 .H3 2008
Available at both campuses (In-Library Use Only)
(South Campus - ask at Reference Desk)

Cover Art
Asking the right questions: a guide to critical thinking - M. Neil Browne, Stuart M. Keeley
Call Number: Beaufort South PN 83 .B785 2007
Older ed. also avail. at both Beaufort North and South

Cover Art
Literary theory: a very short introduction [electronic resource] - Jonathan Culle
Call Number: eBook
PLEASE NOTE: In order to access eBooks from off-campus, you'll need to click the "Off Campus Access" button in the upper right-hand corner of the catalog results screen BEFORE you click through to the eBook. Or, just do it here:
Off-campus access button


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Natalee Reese
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Reference Desk: (843) 208-8278
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Mary Alpern
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843 208 8278
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Subject Librarian

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Stephanie Grimm, MSI
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Historic Beaufort Campus Library
801 Carteret St.
Beaufort, SC 29902
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