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Assignment | Pre-Gothic Humanities Presentation (Truax): MLA Citations: Written & Oral

HUMA 1301 | Prof. K. Truax (Spring 2021)


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MLA: Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography is a works cited list, but each citation is followed by a paragraph of explanation and justification: why is this source one of your sources? What does it bring to your research?

You will summarize the relevant information you're getting from that source (but remember, this isn't your paper -- you are summarizing, not presenting all the information itself) as well as how this well help you in your research (by providing background information, by exploring a certain angle, by presenting a contrary idea...).

Creating an annotated bibliography is not simply an academic exercise. An annotated bibliography is a tool to help you summarize your source content and evaluate its place within your research. If a source satisfies your "usefulness" criteria, that source belongs on your annotated bibliography.

This process begins the transition from reading sources to incorporating content (ideas, quotes, paraphrasing) into your work. It is time to "make sense" of the knowledge you have gained from your research. This knowledge is the foundation on which to build your own voice, explain your methodology, discuss your conclusions, make and report on your new knowledge. 

Of course, evaluation of sources goes beyond "usefulness" to the other elements of authority, credibility, currency, and purpose.

Consulted Saylor Academy's open access course on research concepts and the writing process:  Research Writing in The Academic Disciplines. Annotated bibliographies have additional purposes that depend on the intent of the writer/researcher and the specific discipline.  
  1. Citation
  2. Annotation is a brief and concise statement about the source. Think in terms of a "note" consisting of 5-6 sentences.
  • One sentence to evaluate why the author is an expert on the topic(authority).
  • A sentence on the intended audience of the source (purpose).
  • A few sentences (perhaps a paraphrase) that explain how this source will illuminate your topic and how you will use the content in your paper (usefulness or relevance).
  • Any other criteria of note for this topic or discipline? 

Image of MLA 9th annotated bibliography example


Examples of MLA Citations

These tabs contain a few quick examples for sources you're likely to use for this assignment.

For more examples, please refer to the big MLA guide.

Remember, in MLA, just keep going through the list of elements (author, title, source name, etc) until you've identified all the major paths to locating your source. Start with information about the source itself (like the creator of a photograph) before looking to add information about the database or website you found it on. Keep in mind that you want a reader to be able to track down your same source based solely on your citation -- a vague citation is a useless citation!

Scott, Cord. "Written In Red, White, and Blue: A Comparison Of Comic Book Propaganda From World War II and September 11." Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 40, no. 2, 2007, pp. 325-343. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection, doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5931.2007.00381.x.

In-Text: (Scott 330)


Cootner, Paul H. “The Role of the Railroads in United States Economic Growth.” The Journal of Economic History, vol. 23, no. 4, 1963, pp. 477–521. JSTOR,

In-Text: (Cootner 498)

Print Book:

Janaro, Richard, and Thelma Altshuler. The Art of Being Human: The Humanities as a Technique for Living. 11th ed., Pearson, 2016.

In-text citation: (Janaro and Altshuler), (Janaro and Altshuler 354)


Digital Textbook:

Janaro, Richard, and Thelma Altshuler. The Art of Being Human: The Humanities as a Technique for Living. 11th ed., Pearson, 2017. Ebook.

In-text citation: (Janaro and Altshuler)

Chapter in an E-Book from the Databases (Unique Author):

Steinbach, Penny. "The Implications of Horizontality and Verticality in the Iconography of a Class Maya Emblem." Maya Imagery, Architecture, and Activity: Space and Spatial Analysis in Art History, edited by Kaylee R. Spencer and Maline D. Werness-Rude, University of New Mexico Press, 2015, pp. 106-139. ProQuest Ebook Central,

In-text citation: (Steinbach 107)


E-Book from the Database:

Bundrick, Sheramy D. Athens, Etruria, and the Many Lives of Greek Figured Pottery. University of Wisconsin Press, 2019. EBSCO eBook Collection,,cpid&custid=s1088435&db=nlebk&AN=1985604&site=ehost-live.

In-text citation: (Bundrick), (Bundrick 215)

Oral Citation

  • As in writing, citations provide evidence that experts support your statements. This makes your speech credible. Oral citations give proof of well-researched content.
  • Cite your source whether you are quoting or paraphrasing. Protect yourself from PLAGIARISM always.
  • Include a slide at the end to list all the sources you used. It may even be helpful to provide a handout with these!
  • Give some variety to your oral citations: "According to...."  "This is supported by...."   "John Doe says...."   "As Jones states in his paper...." 
    • Don't forget to introduce the person the first time, though! "Psychologist Jane Doe has suggested... Doe also reports..."
    • Who should you namedrop?
      • If it's someone who did the original research and/or is an expert in the field, go for it.
      • Is it just a journalist reporting on what someone else did, and any news source could have given you similar info? Leave it as a parenthetical. At best, you'd state, "According to The New York Times..." with a little (Doe) parenthetical on your slide.