Research Guide: Citations

MLA Annotated Bibliographies

Taylor, Lou. "Dress." New Dictionary of the History of Ideas, edited by Maryanne C. Horowitz, Charles Scribner's Sons, 2005, pp. 596-605.

      "Dress," by Lou Taylor, provides an historic, theoretical, and cultural overview of the academic study of dress. Though an academic reference book article and not an in-depth study, "Dress" offers a clear and insightful explanation of how clothing provides a window into history: namely that the clothing one wears reflects one's individual and group identity. In other words, the study of dress offers insight into what's sacred in a society; generational differences; occupation, economic and vocational status in a society; ethnicity, community, nationality and racial identification; gender and sexuality; and individual values.                                                                       While Taylor's focus is outside of the US, his discussion is highly relevant to the study of dress in any context. I will use the analysis to support my analysis of 1970s counter-culture fashion.

MLA specific guidelines for annotated bibliographies:

  • Style the source as would in your works cited list
  • Indent the annotation an inch from the start of the entry
  • Annotations are generally written as succinct phrases but can also be given as complete sentences.
    • Examples:
      • Comprehensive history of American foreign policy, with discussion of current policy issues and potential future concerns.
      • The book provides a comprehensive history of American foreign policy as well as discusses current policy issues and potential future concerns.
  • Annotations should generally be no more than one paragraph
  • If annotations require more than one paragraph, ident each one but no not add an extra space between paragraphs
  • The list of annotated bibliographies should be title Annotated Bibliography or Annotated List of Works Cited
  • Annotated bibliographies are generally organized alphabetically by author or title (like a normal works cited list) but can also be organized by publication date or subject depending on your instructor's guidelines

What is an Annotated Bibliography?


A Bibliography is a list of the sources you used to research your topic.

An Annotated Bibliography includes a citation and a short summary/analysis (called an “annotation”) for each source. 

Follow your instructor's specific guidelines for the length and content of your annotated bibliography.

A common structure for the annotation is:

Summary: Include answers to some of these questions:

  • what type of source is this? (book, article…etc.)
  • what is this source about? – a brief summary
  • what topic(s) does it cover?  how extensive is its coverage?
  • what are its main arguments or themes?

Analysis: Include answers to some of these questions:

  • why did you choose this source?
  • in what ways is it an authoritative and credible source for your purposes?
  • how is it helpful for your project or how does it shape your argument?
  • how does it fit in with the rest of your research?

Quick Guide - MLA

Quick Guide - MLA Citation Style

Automatic Citation Generator


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