Writing a Perfect MNL Style Bibliography

Your annotated bibliography requires you to list all of the sources that you have referred to within your research and to provide the reader with a concise annotation. The annotation will typically summarize the content of the source and then evaluate it for the reader. The National Library of Medicine (NLM) will require your writing to be completed within a very precise set of guidelines.

How an Annotated Bibliography Is Created
  • search for relevant sources3 min / source
  • skim through the referencefrom 7 min / source
  • read info about the authorfrom 4 min / source
  • write an annotationfrom 6 min / source
  • format the referencefrom 2 min / source
Are you sure you want to waste over 20 minutes of your life on bibliography?

Your NLM annotated bibliography (or any CSE format example) must follow their very strict writing guidelines for how the citations within your bibliography are constructed. Not following the requirements accurately and in a consistent manner will cause your work to be potentially rejected at later stages in your education. It is vital that you master this style if you want to get the results you need from your writing.

how to make NLM Bibliography

The annotation must also be written in a very careful academic style and should meet the expectations of your supervisor. They will inform you as to what should be covered within the annotation and the expected length of your writing. This could be anything from 150 words through to a few pages depending on the purpose of your bibliography.


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Getting Your NLM Bibliography Format Right

Preparation is key when writing an annotated bibliography in any style. You have to ensure that you collect all of the relevant information when you conduct your research so that you have it to hand when writing your bibliography. The following guidance will help you to conduct your research, note taking and writing in an effective manner:

  • Correct NLM Annotated Bibliography SampleBe clear as to what information you need to collect for your NLM citations such as the author, book name, publisher, date, city of publication, total pages in the book, etc.
  • Have a clear research question that will provide you with focus for finding relevant sources for your review.
  • Use reliable sources for your research. Websites cannot all be trusted as being reliable sources; use a scholarly search engine and refer mainly to government or educationally hosted websites. Always try to trace information back to its primary source.
  • Understand what is required for your annotation so you have a clear idea as to what notes you will need to take when conducting your research of literature.
  • When writing a summary of the source you will need all of the following information as a minimum:
    • The research questions addressed by the source
    • The methodology employed by them
    • The findings that they made
  • To evaluate a source you need the minimum of:
    • The authority of the authors; what else have they published in this field?
    • The relevance of the writing to your own narrow line of research?
    • The audience that the work was written for
    • Whether there is any bias within the writing
    • If there are any inaccuracies or gaps in what has been uncovered
    • A comparison between this source and the others that you have cited
  • Write your annotation when the writing is still fresh in your memory to cover it effectively.
  • Proofread what you write very thoroughly so that you can be sure there are no errors remaining to detract from your work.

The following information from Amy Gratz of Mercer University should be considered:

“Keep in mind that annotations are supposed to highlight the most important points of a resource. If you’re struggling to keep your annotations short, make sure you’re not getting too specific – if people reading your bibliography want to know more, they can find the work and read it directly. Also, always remember that annotations should be as unbiased as possible – keep your personal opinions out!”

NLM Style Bibliography Citation Examples

The following are some examples of how your citation needs to be structured within your bibliography:

For a published book:

Stien FR, Smith AP, Morris BC. Diagnosing and Treating Cancer. 3rd ed. New York: American Cancer Society; 2009. 948 p.

For a Journal:

Smith P, Brown Q, Patel JK, Taylow AA. cardiovascular diseases and their diagnosis. Physiol Rev. 2004 Apr;82(3):579-586.

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