Skip to main content

Primary Sources in History - Titusville Campus: Annotations & Samples

Designed to assist History students distinguish between Primary and Secondary Sources

Additional Writing Help & Sample Annotations

How to Write an Annotation

An annotation is a brief description (not a summary) of a book, article, web site or other publication, including audio-visual materials. Its purposes are to describe an item in such a way that the reader can decide whether or not to read/view the entire work and to explain the item's usefulness and content. After reading the annotation the reader should have a clear picture of the item's purpose, contents, and special features.

Annotations are one of two kinds: descriptive or critical.

Descriptive annotations describe the content of an item and point out its unique features.

Critical annotations evaluate the usefulness of an item, as well as, describing its contents.

Annotations should:

mention the goals of the work

• identify the intended audience

• provide a comment on the item's importance and usefulness to its subject area

• state the author's qualifications (unless the author is extremely well known)

• point out any bias on the part of the author

• indicate the level of reading difficulty

• explain how data was gathered or research was conducted

• compare this item to other works on the same subject

• provide the author's conclusions; include all additional materials contained in the item, such as maps, photos, illustrations, charts, etc.


Subject Guide

Marc Ross's picture
Marc Ross