|Creating an Annotated Bibliography|
FAQ from NHD National Website.
What is an annotated Bibliography?
Why create one for the NHD project?
Creating an annotated bibliography lets your reader know what sources you used in the creation of your project. First, an annotated bibliography tells the reader how many sources you used and the quality and range of sources used in your research. It provides evidence of the many hours that you spent doing research in libraries, archives, classrooms, and on the internet. Second, the annotation informs the reader about how you used your sources and why they were valuable to understanding your topic. An annotated bibliography is crucial to the NHD process because it shows judges the scope and depth of your research.
What are the key elements of an Annotated Bibliography?
Some key elements to consider when creating an annotated bibliography:
Your list should be titled “Annotated Bibliography.” Not Bibliography, not Works Cited. Put this title in the top center of your first page.
Divide your Annotated Bibliography into two sections, labeled Primary Sources and Secondary Sources
Other key formatting instructions:
The NHD Contest Rule Book allows citations in Chicago or MLA Style, We are using the MLA style for our National History Day project.
As you complete your research, you should sort your research into primary and secondary sources. For complete definitions of primary and secondary sources, as well a complete set of the Contest Rules, go to www.nhd.org/rules.
Building Your Annotated Bibliography
You should build your bibliography as you conduct your research. Simply put, if you wait until the end of your project, this task will be messy, confusing, and complicated. It is easy to forget sources, mix up one source with another, and make simple mistakes. Let us start by citing a simple source together.
This year, we will use NoodleTools, a web-based program to help you create a polished, accurate annotated bibliography and also keep track in note cards of the quotes and paraphrases and where you found them in your sources. Since it is saved on a server, you do not have to worry about a water bottle exploding in your backpack and your notes getting soaked—the materials are always there when you log into the computer or via your tablet.
Let’s say that I am researching the Panama Canal, and I found Edmund Morris’ book about President Theodore Roosevelt called Theodore Rex. While I will skim the book to get a sense of the author’s purpose and argument, I want to use the Table of Contents or Index to focus in on the section that relates to my research. Using the index, I can jump to the section of the book where President Roosevelt is approached by Philippe Bunau-Varilla about a plan to get control of the canal that a French company began digging.
To cite a book, I need five key elements:
Now we need to create an annotation to support that citation. Essentially, we are giving the reader a hint about what he or she could find in this source. A good annotation contains three components:
Note that my annotation and citation are single-spaced, and all lines after the first line are tabbed in one-half (1/2) inch. And please do not color code in your bibliography—this is just to demonstrate HOW to do it.
So for my book, my annotation would look something like this:
Morris, Edmund. Theodore Rex. New York: Modern Library, 2001.
This biography of Theodore Roosevelt helped me understand the way in which Philippe Bunau Varilla was able to get President Roosevelt to recognize the revolutionary government of Panama. It also gave me details regarding the specific treaties signed between the two nations that gave the U.S. control of the canal zone.
An annotation normally should be about 2-4 sentences long. Really long annotations generally do not impress people. Get to the point!
Please understand that it is NOT the purpose of an annotation to summarize the book but to assess its value to your research.
The NHD Contest Rule Book states that the annotations “must explain how the source was used and how it helped you understand your topic.” Do not recount what the source said in detail. Sometimes there are some other details that you might want to include in an annotation, including:
o “This book included three letters between person X on the frontier and person Y in New England, which provided insight into the struggles and experiences of the settlers.”
o “This book provided four photos of settlers on the Great Plains and their homes, which were used on the exhibit.”
Most Common Types of Resources Used: