Baylor > HOTRHF Home > Historical Research and Writing > Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography lists all of the reference sources you used in your history fair project. Each source listing must be followed by an annotation, that is, a brief explanatory note describing how you used the source in your project and how it helped you understand your topic.

HOTRHF IMPORTANT NOTE: When using automated citation tools, be sure to use one that allows you to select a specific style guide. Some tools, like EasyBib, assign a combination of styles and may result in documentation not being in compliance with Rule 17.
REMEMBER that National History Day RULE 17 states: Style for citations and bibliographic references must follow the principles in one of the following style guides:
1. Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations
2. Joseph Gibaldi, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th or 6th Edition
Regardless of which manual you use, the style must be consistent throughout the paper and bibliography.

Your bibliography should have at least six different types of sources (eg., encyclopedia, newspaper, magazine, book, interview, etc.). It is not acceptable to rely exclusively on Internet sources for your research. Judges will examine your bibliography carefully to see that you consulted and used a wide range of sources.

Your bibliography must be divided into two sections, one listing primary sources and the second listing secondary sources. For more information on these kinds of sources, click here. You should use the annotation to explain why you categorized a particular source as primary or secondary, if that is likely to be at all controversial. Historians do sometimes disagree and there's not always one right answer, so justify your choice to the judges.

There are several format standards for bibliography. These standards, often referred to as style guides, contain rules about what information to include in a citation as well as about punctuation, capitalization, underlining or italicizing, and so on. Whatever style guide you choose, you must use it consistently throughout your bibliography.

Note that as you research your topic, you will look at many more sources than you actually use. You should list in your bibliography only those sources that contributed to the development of your project, helped you understand your topic, and led you to your conclusions. You should list the sources of visual materials, such as photographs and art work, as well as such primary materials as oral interviews, letters, diaries, census records, and so on.

HOTRHF Note: this page is now up to date and current for 2014.