Annotated Lists

Tutorial Directory

Why create annotated lists of URLS?

Even an hour after locating a Web site, it can be difficult to remember exactly what you liked about it. An annotation reminds you what you found important about that Web site. It keeps information about the Web site with the address. Note how much the process of annotations has changed since 2003.

An Old School method of creating an annotated list of URLs (2003)

  • Open a word processing program of your choice on your computer. Make the window a little smaller than the size of the screen and move it to the right side of the screen. Now open your browser.
  • Make it a little smaller than the size of the screen and move it to the left side so you can see some of the word processing program's screen at the same time.
  • When you want to save and make comments on a URL, use the mouse to select the URL displayed on the "Location" (Netscape Navigator) or "Address" (Internet Explorer) field at the top of your browser.
  • Usually one click in that field will select the whole URL.
  • Click on the Edit menu and select "Copy" or use the CTRL-C or Open Apple-C keys to copy the selected text.
  • Click on the visible part of the word processing screen to activate that window and then paste the URL into the word processing program page.
  • You can now add comments describing the contents of the page at this URL.
  • Click on the visible part of the browser screen to activate that window.
  • Repeat the process to add to your annotated list of Internet information resources.

In some word processors, such as Microsoft Word, the URLs you paste will become active hyperlinks (underlined in blue), so you can revisit the pages by simply clicking on the links.

What does a good annotated list look like?

The best annotated list contains a citation with at least the author’s name, the original copyright date, the title of the Web page, and the uniform resource locator followed by a concisely written description of the contents of the site and why you found them important. Here is an annotated list of examples of annotated lists.

The Library of California (May 8, 2003) Librarians’ Index to the Internet: New This Week
A weekly updated annotated list of the newest sites indexed by The Library of California.
O'Connor, Dennis. Annotated Links. 21st Century Information. Aurora (IL): 21st Century Information Fluency Project, 16 August 2005- [cited 17 November 2005]. Available from Internet: < This resource supplies annotated links about a wide variety of issues related to information fluency.

How can technology make this process easier?

David Warlick was one of the first to created an online resource to help educators create their own interactive Web sites in a fairly painless manner. "PiNet Library" quickly creates annotated lists while you search without causing undue interruptions. Instructions walk you through each step. Choose to use some or all of the tools. The Landmark Project

As of 2017, there are many note-taking applications; two are noted here:

  • Evernote - with the software installed, whenever you want to save a URL, click the Evernote icon on the browser toolbar. Add comments and save the annotation.
  • Diigo - similar to Evernote, install the software and click the icon to save the URL and add comments. Tag the annotation to save it to custom categories for easier retrieval.

Technology has made it much easier to make annotations. But it still requires taking the step to make the notes. For research projects, having notes to rely on can be a real time-saver.

Authored by Lora K. Kaisler 2003 | Refreshed 2017