How To Write Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format in 5 Easy Steps

So, your teacher told you to write an Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format, or maybe your teacher calls it a Works Cited page. Don’t stress out. They sound scary, but they aren’t that hard. An Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format is kind of like a spork. It’s just two separate assignments that got mashed up into one. If you just do them one at a time, it’s easy. Following are some easy steps to write an Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format:

Step 1 to write Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

Firstly, you’ve probably written bibliographies for previous classes. For our purposes, a Works Cited page is pretty much the same thing as a bibliography. A bibliography, or Works Cited Page, is a list of the sources you used for an essay you wrote where you looked up information created by other people and you used it in your essay. If you were not smart enough to remember to make a note of the websites you used, just, go into the history on your browser and find them. All of your sources are listed in alphabetical order, and they have what’s called a “hanging indent.” The first line begins at the margin, but the rest of the citation is indented a half inch. That way, it’s easy for a reader to skim down and find the source he or she is looking for. And a lot of teachers will pick one source from your bibliography at random and actually investigate it to see if it’s what you say it is.

Step 2 to write Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

Secondly, you can use bibliography-making websites like and But there is definitely value in learning how to do this yourself instead of depending on a machine to know what you could just learn yourself. Next time you’re at the library, look at the latest edition of the MLA Handbook and look over the rules. So, each Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format entry is made up of some pretty basic information: what is it? who wrote it? when was it written? and who published it? That’s easy when you’re using an actual book; it’s all right there before the title page. When you’re using a website as a source, it can get tricky. However, if you spend a few minutes searching the site, you can usually find out when it was posted online. You can use a copyright date if that’s all you have, and if it’s a reputable source, the author can often be found as well. If you can’t find the author, your entry will begin with the title of the page itself, but this looks frustrating incomplete to most teachers, including me. I always want to know: did this kid actually try to find the name of the author? And then I’ll go look at the site myself to check. The key is to do the hunting around and find the information you need. Don’t just paste a URL into EasyBib. That will produce a poor entry like this one, which would be acceptable to virtually no teacher on this planet.

Step 3 to write Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

Thirdly, if you used images taken from the Internet for a poster or a slideshow presentation, just select “digital image” at the bibliography-making website. If you couldn’t find the name of the person who actually owns the rights to this photo, so it begins with the name of the file itself. Unfortunately, that will be the case a lot of the time with digital images copied from the Internet. Basically, it’s the day I downloaded it. When it asks what the publisher is, look at the website. It might just say it, all obvious-like. But if not, look at the root of the URL, the Internet address. It usually follows the two forward slashes—these—and ends with something like .com, .org, .net, .ca if it’s from Canada, and so on. 90% of the time, that’s who produced that web site. After you have all your entries done, put them in alphabetical order by the first letter.

Step 4 to write Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

Fourthly, now, I don’t have the same expectations for a 9th grader that I would have for a university-level student. This blogpost is for beginners, so the annotations will be short and simple. All an Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format is a description of the source and how you used it in your assignment. Sometimes, you won’t actually have any quotes from a source, but you used it as a source of general knowledge on your topic. That’s fine with me. Just explain that in your Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format.

Step 5 to write Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format

Lastly, the format. Your Annotated Bibliography in MLA Format should be double-spaced. Yes, all of it. It may look weird if you’re not used to it but do it anyway. Don’t make it double-spaced by hitting the return key twice. Adjust the line-spacing using the format function on your computer. How that’s done depends on your word processing program. While we’re on this topic, if your program inserts a blank space after each paragraph, try to disable that. Also, don’t forget the hanging indents. You should use Times New Roman for the font if possible. And that’s it. It’s a bit of work documenting your sources correctly, but presumably your research was the hard part. Do a good job in this section or you could raise suspicions that you plagiarized or just made stuff up. So, it’s worth the effort.

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