Does an annotated bibliography require a cover page? What are the spacing/indenting requirements for an annotated bibliography?


This is a hard question to answer via an email format, since there are several follow-up questions needed, such as "is this a stand-alone bibliography, or part of a paper" and "what citation style are you using?"

Let's start with the second follow-up question first. We use two major citations styles at CSS, the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA). And yes, some professors require AMA or Chicago, but we will ignore that at the moment.

If your annotated bibliography is part of a paper, then no, it does not require a separate cover sheet. If you are submitting just an annotated bibliography, then it would seem that yes, you should include one, but there are no rules for how to do it. In this case, I would suggest you follow the rules for paper covers. For info on formatting both your cover sheet & bibliography, see this CSS Library Libguide page -

In regards to the annotated bibliography, it is addressed  on p. 130 of the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition.

"Titles used for other kinds of sources lists include Annotated Bibliography, Works Consulted, or Selected Bibliography. An annotated bibliography, also called an Annotated List of Works Cited, contains descriptive or evaluative comments on the sources ...

Harbord, Janet. The Evolution of Film: Rethinking Film Studies. Cambridge:
     Polity, 2007. Print. A synthesis of classic film theory and an
     examination of the contemporary situation of film studies that draws
     on recent scholarship in philosophy, anthropology, and media studies."

Spacing is address on p. 131.

"Begin each entry flush with the left margin; if an entry runs more than one line, indent the subsequent line or lines one half inch from the left margin. This format is sometimes called the hanging indent, and you can set you word processor to create it automatically for a group of paragraphs. Hanging indention makes alphabetical lists easier to use. Double-space the entire list, both between and within entries. Continue the list on a many pages as necessary."


The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 6th edition, does not mention annotated bibliographies, so I can give you no "official" advice on how to create one in APA style. I would follow the general rules for covers & bibliographies [reference lists] that you can find on the CSS Library LibGuide -

I did find an article from 2008 that is an annotated bibliography that appears to be in APA style. You can view it here -

APA has an "escape clause" that says it defers to "local custom," meaning your professor can decide how she/he thinks it should be done. You can always check with her/him as to how they may wish things done.

Good luck.



  • Last Updated Apr 16, 2020
  • Views 9812
  • Answered By Todd White

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  1. fwiw, Owl has some good additional info on annotated bibliographies at:

    The APA "escape clause" you mention seems key since the particular style/formatting of the document will be probably be determined by the local instructor.
    by Brad Snelling on Sep 24, 2012