Chicago Style Citation


The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition) contains guidelines for two styles of citation: notes and bibliography and author-date.



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Chicago Style Citation

The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition) contains guidelines for two styles of citation: notes and bibliography and author-date.
Notes and bibliography is the most common type of Chicago style citation, and the main focus of this article. It is widely used in the humanities. Citations
are placed in footnotes or endnotes, with a bibliography listing your sources in full at the end.
Author-date style is mainly used in the sciences. It uses parenthetical in-text citations, always accompanied by a reference list at the end.



Citing sources with notes

To cite sources in Chicago notes and bibliography style, place a superscript number at the end of a sentence or clause, after the punctuation mark, corresponding to a numbered footnote or endnote.

Footnotes appear at the bottom of each page, while endnotes appear at the end of the text. Choose one or the other and use it consistently.

Most word-processing programs can automatically link your superscript numbers and notes.

Full notes vs. short notes

Citations can take the form of full notes or short notes. Full notes provide complete source information, while short notes include only the author’s last name, the source title, and the page number(s) of the cited passage. The usual rule is to use a full note for the first citation of each source, and a short note for subsequent citations of the same source.

Guidelines can vary across fields, though; sometimes you might be required to use full notes every time, or conversely to use short notes every time, as long as all your sources are listed in the bibliography. It’s best to check with your instructor if you’re unsure which rule to follow.

Multiple authors in Chicago notes

When a source has multiple authors, list up to three in your note citations. When there are four or more, use “et al.” (Latin for “and others”).

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Chicago in-text citations

In Chicago style, there are two options for citing sources: you can use footnotes/endnotes, or include author-date citations in the text.


How to create a Chicago style bibliography

In Chicago style, your bibliography lists full information on all your sources, alphabetized by author last name. It appears at the end of your paper.

Citing sources with Chicago style footnotes

In Chicago style, you can cite sources in footnotes. A short note includes the author's last name, the source title, and the page number.

Chicago note citation examples

A Chicago footnote or endnote citation always contains the author’s name and the title of the source. The other elements vary by the type of source you’re citing.

Page number(s) should be included if you are referring to a specific part of the text. The elements of the citation are separated by commas, and the note always ends with a period.


Creating a Chicago style bibliography

The bibliography lists full references for all your sources. It appears at the end of your paper (before any appendices).

Author names are inverted in the bibliography, and sources are alphabetized by author last name. Each source is listed on a new line, with a hanging indent applied to sources that run over onto multiple lines.

If a source has multiple authors, list up to 10 in the bibliography. If there are 11 or more, list the first seven followed by “et al.”

When to include a bibliography
It is not mandatory to include a bibliography if you have cited your sources with full notes. However, it is recommended to include one in most cases, with the exception of very short texts with few sources.


Frequently asked questions

How do I cite a source with multiple authors in Chicago style?

In a Chicago style footnote, list up to three authors. If there are more than three, name only the first author, followed by “et al.“

In the bibliography, list up to 10 authors. If there are more than 10, list the first seven followed by “et al.”

How do I cite a source with no author in Chicago style?

In a Chicago footnote citation, when the author of a source is unknown (as is often the case with websites), start the citation with the title in a full note. In short notes and bibliography entries, list the organization that published it as the author.

In Chicago author-date style, treat the organization as author in your in-text citations and reference list.

How do I cite a source with no date in Chicago style?

When an online source does not list a publication date, replace it with an access date in your in footnote citations and your bibliography:

Example: Chicago bibliography entry with access date Seekrot. “How to Write a Research Paper.” Accessed June 9, 2020. https://www.Seekrot.com/category/research-paper/.

If you are using author-date in-text citations, or if the source was not accessed online, replace the date with “n.d.” Example: Chicago author-date citation with no date (Seekrot, n.d.)

When should I include page numbers in Chicago style citations?

Page numbers should be included in your Chicago in-text citations when:

You’re quoting from the text.
You’re paraphrasing a particular passage.
You’re referring to information from a specific section.

When you’re referring to the overall argument or general content of a source, it’s unnecessary to include page numbers.

Should I use short notes or full notes for my Chicago citations?

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, the usual standard is to use a full note for the first citation of each source, and short notes for any subsequent citations of the same source.

However, your institution’s guidelines may differ from the standard rule. In some fields, you’re required to use a full note every time, whereas in some other fields you can use short notes every time, as long as all sources are listed in your bibliography. If you’re not sure, check with your instructor.

Do I have to include a bibliography or reference list?

In Chicago author-date style, your text must include a reference list. It appears at the end of your paper and gives full details of every source you cited.

In notes and bibliography style, you use Chicago style footnotes to cite sources; a bibliography is optional but recommended. If you don’t include one, be sure to use a full note for the first citation of each source.