Effective Technical Writing in the Information Age

Sample Annotated Bibliography


An excellent annotated bibliography by a geography student follows. Note how he takes advantage of all of the stylistic advice offered on the previous page, and how the paper’s sections begin to take shape even in the source descriptions. Note also that the writer's tone is upbeat and informed. We get a strong sense that the writer cares about the topic and will make it interesting to read about.

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"The Geography of American Graveyards"
by John Lerner

1) Jordan, Terry G. (1982). Texas Graveyards, A Cultural Legacy. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Jordan offers an in-depth look at the hows and whys of Texas graveyards. He divides vernacular burial sites into three categories: Mexican, German, and "Southern folk cemeteries." His physical descriptions of cemetery layout, inscriptions, grave markers, and the like are very detailed.

2) Meyer, Richard E., ed. (1989). Cemeteries and Gravemarkers, Voices of American Culture. Ann Arbor

Meyer’s book is a compilation of works concerning such topics as regional epitaphs, origins of Southern cemeteries, the Afro-American section of a Rhode Island burial ground, and the use of bronze in memorials.

3) Sloane, David Charles (1991). The Last Great Necessity, Cemeteries in American History. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Sloane’s work will serve as my primary source of information. He has written a history of American cemeteries in a cultural context concentrating on significant trends in their development. Sloane’s "Notes" section will allow for easy access to other sources.

4) Weed, Howard Evarts (1912). Modern Park Cemeteries. Chicago: R.J. Haight.

Weed was a landscape architect and his work concentrates on how a cemetery should look. Weed offers detailed descriptions of the physical layout of pre-20th century cemeteries.

5) Zelinsky, Wilbur (1994). "Gathering Places for America’s Dead," The Professional Geographer. 46:1, 29-38.

Zelinsky’s article is an intriguing analysis of the spatial patterns of American cemeteries. He calculates and maps the number of cemeteries by county across the country. He then seeks answers as to why there is such a fluctuation in the number per square mile from one place to the next. Zelinsky’s bibliography led me to Sloane’s work.