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Webliography Assignment Intubation

Library Instruction:
Annotated Webliography Assignment


An annotated Webliography is an ideal assignment for almost any discipline at any level. Combining the format of a traditional annotated bibliography of print sources with the convenience of online resources, the assignment teaches the student to evaluate resources they drawn to use anyway. It bridges the gap between the research and writing processes where students often lose their footing. Studies have shown that:

  • Students often have a difficult time deciding what to do with authoritative source materials once they have found them.
  • Materials are not used (or documented) appropriately in the final essay.
  • There is an imbalance between the language of the source material and the language (commentary) provided by the student.
  • The essay reads like a "patchwork" of source materials with no real contribution from the student author.
  • Problems with any of the above might lead to the impression that the student has misused or misappropriated (or sometimes, plagiarized) the source materials.

The Annotated Webliography assignment is designed, therefore, to help eliminate these problems and to help the student navigate the research process more easily and, hopefully, more enjoyably.

The Webliography allows the student to list all sources relevant to the topic which can be used later in a documented essay. The Webliography is then "annotated" (amended with notes, reactions, commentary) so that students can think and write critically about the source material in order to better prepare them for writing the documented essay. In brief, the Annotated Webliography should help students become more comfortable with the research process in general. Even though it appears to add a step to the writing process, it should actually save them time in the long run, since the thinking and writing in this assignment can be used directly in a documented essay.

Instruction for Students

Create an annotated Webliography on

A Webliography is much like an annotated bibliography which is a collection of sources on a topic, arranged alphabetically by the authors' last names, with a short summary (usually several sentences) that highlights the significance of the document for the purpose of your project.

A Webliography brings together as many on-line resources pertaining to a particular topic as possible. On-line resources such as Web sites, newspapers, magazines, blogs, online encyclopedias, digital archives, catalogs and online databases.

Search the Internet and select at least 10-20 web sites and evaluate them according to specific criteria, writing a short paragraph on each:

  • Content
  • Currency
  • Reliability
  • Bias

Try to include sites from a variety of domains:

Include the citation of each site in your paragraph in accordance with [MLA, APA, etc.] style guidelines; be sure to include the URL of each web site and the date that you consulted it.

Sample entry

American Planning Association, (2009). About the APA. Retrieved April 5, 2009, from American Planning Association web site. The APA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting planning policy and research. The Web site offers valuable resources to non-members. There is an annotated list of APA publications, including Planners Press and Planners Advisory Service reports on sale in the Planners Book Service pages. A click on "Publications" takes you to a page that offers a searchable database of the APA's publications. A search on 'downtown' yielded 20-30 citations; 'revitalization' resulted in a list of publications including some on historic preservation and economic development. Summaries can be viewed. Planning magazine offers one full-text online article from each issue, and the Journal of APA gives a searchable list of citations for its classic articles, and the contents of back issues. Full-text articles from The New Planner, a newsletter written by the student members of APA, are available.

Provided by Michelle Emanuel, Associate Professor, JD Williams Library

Adapted from “The Annotated Webliography Assignment” ( July 12, 2005)


Use the Webliography tool to work together with your students in creating an annotated bibliography of World Wide websites relevant to your course. Both you and your students can add sites to the Webliography. Students can greatly increase the knowledge capital of the course by submitting websites they have found.

You can sort Webliography entries by the date they were submitted, by category, or by the person who submitted the entry.

If your course must meet accessibilkity requirements, refer to your institution's accessibility policies.

Design tips:

  • Some instructors create an assignment in the first week of class that asks students to find three websites relevant to a specific topic and then add them to the Webliography. The next week, students are asked to evaluate three of the websites that other students posted. This exercise is an effective way to teach students the art of researching on the Web.
  • Set up the Webliography with a few examples of the type of entries students might expect to find. Include a spurious entry along with the legitimate ones to use in a discussion on analyzing information found on the Web. A humorous website also makes a nice addition to the Webliography, especially if the humor is in some way related to the subject.

See also:

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