Annotated Bibliographies and Pathfinders

Resources | Pathfinders

An annotated bibliography is simply a bibliography with additional information (notes, or annotations) for each source. The information included varies depending on the intended audience, but generally includes some evaluation or analysis of the material. A pathfinder is a type of annotated bibliography often created for library patrons to expose or unearth hidden resources within a collection or suggest areas of further research. Depending on the topic, annotated and bibliographies are often arranged chronologically, by subtopic, or alphabetically by author.

If you are creating an annotated bibliography for a specific class assignment, please consult instructor guidelines. Some common points of inclusion in many annotated bibliographies include descriptions, evaluations or analysis of some or all of the the following:

  • Audience
  • Authorship
  • Bias or intent
  • Breadth, depth and scope
  • Context
  • Importance
  • Relevance or utility
  • Reliability
  • Timeliness

Very few annotated bibliographies are intended to be a complete accounting of all available information on a given subject, but rather as a cross-section of material identified as important for a particular audience. We’ve included links to some other sites that describe annotated bibliographies, and some examples of bibliographies and pathfinders created here at PNCA.

Resources for writing annotated bibliographies

Writing an Annotated Bibliography by the library at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Cornell University Library has an excellent resource on How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography.

And, as always, our friend the OWL at Purdue University has a resource on Annotated Bibliographies.


These pathfinders were created by library volunteer, Brandon Wilkinson, and contain items accessible through the PNCA library.

Download the PDFs by clicking the links below

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