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Creating Annotated Bibs in Your Citation Manager


Below are tips for creating annotated bibliographies in two common citation management programs, Zotero and Sciwheel.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography in Zotero

How to Create an Annotated Bibliography in Zotero

  1. First, make sure you have the "Item Pane" view enabled: in your Zotero Desktop, go to View, Layout, and then check Item Pane. This will enable you to see all the fields for each citation (e.g. title, author, etc) in a "pane" at the right side of the screen.

  2. Click on the citation of interest in the center pane
  3. In the right-hand pane, scroll down until you see the Extra field:

  4. Write your annotations in the "Extra" field. Note that there may already be some data there (e.g. a PMID). You may wish to save this information before typing over it: I suggest copying it into the Library Catalog field.
  5. Continue this process, selecting each article in the center pane and writing your annotations in the Extra field in the right-hand pane.
  6. When you are ready to create your bibliography, select each of the citations you want to include in the center pane, using shift-click or control-click to select more than one at a time.
  7. Right-click on the group of citations and choose Create Bibliography from Items...

  8. Choose American Psychological Association (APA) 7th edition (annotated bibliography) from the list of Citation Styles. I choose Copy to Clipboard for the Output Method. Click on OK.
  9. Open Word and click Paste. Your annotated bibliography should appear, with your annotations beneath each citation.

Creating an Annotated Bibliography via Sciwheel

You can use the Notes field in SciWheel to write notes on each citation, then open then in Word and insert both the citation and the Notes into your document. I am not sure if this works in Google Docs as well. To be frank, not sure this is easier than writing your annotation in Word, because it involves copying and pasting, but I will describe: 

  1. Make sure you have the SciWheel plug-in for Word (found in Sciwheel under Tools) installed in your Microsoft Word
  2. Start your Word document for your annotated bibliography
  3. Click on SciWheel from Word's main menu. Choose the correct Project, then click on View Project Notes:

  4. From the right-hand list of citations, click on Cite next to the first citation you'd like to add to your bibliography. Note that if you need your bibliography in alphabetic order (e.g. APA style), you must do this yourself as you choose each citation. You'll see a brief Citation (e.g. Smith, 2008) appear in your document.
  5. Again from the list at right, mouse over the citation of interest and this time click on the Insert button for that same citation. You'll see your Notes appear in the document.
  6. Insert a paragraph return (e.g. press the Enter key) after each citation + note.
  7. Continue until you have inserted all the notes.
  8. When you are finished, choose American Psychological Association 7th edition annotated bibliography from the Style area of the Sciwheel menu option in Word.
  9. Click on Create Bibliography from the top Sciwheel menu in Word. Click Yes that you want to insert the Bibliography at the end of the document.
  10. Now copy and paste your notes from the first page(s) underneath each citation of the numbered bibliography at the end.
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