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Chicago Citation Style

Quick Guide to the Chicago Citation Style

The Chicago citation style has two main systems for documenting sources, which are 1) the notes system and a bibliography and 2) the use of author/date system. The choice between these two methods mostly depends on the paper’s topic and the type of sources being cited, and bearing in mind that different scholars have their own preferred method.      

A lot of people writing about humanities subjects, including the arts, history, and literature prefer the notes/bibliography system. In this style, bibliography information is presented in notes form as well, usually, in an end-of paper bibliography. This particular style caters for a great many source types e.g. the esoteric variety that are not always appropriate for the system that requires author/date information.

The author/date method is a long-time favorite of writers in subjects related to the natural, physical, and social sciences. Here, sources should be cited briefly within a text, most often enclosed in parentheses, and arranged by surname of author and publication date. These brief citations are then expanded on in the reference list where comprehensive bibliography details are provided.

Examples of Citations for Note and Bibliography Entries:

The fictional examples provided below show how citations should be presented in note form and as bibliography entries. The notes examples are followed by short forms of citations concerning the same sources. Please refer to the Chicago Style Manual for additional citation examples.

Citing from Books

Books with a single author

  1. Mark Lister, The Vegetarian Dilemma: The History of Vegetarianism (New York: Steed Publications, 2010), 85–97.
  2. Lister, Vegetarians Dilemma,

Lister, Mark. The Vegetarian Dilemma: The History of Vegetarianism. New York: Steed Publications, 2010.

Two authors or more

  1. Karl T. Parker and James Byrne, Second World War: An Extensive History, 1941-1945 (Washington: Mead-Hill, 2010), 45.
  2. Parker and Byrne, War, 55-59.

Parker, Karl T., and James Byrne. Second World War: An Extensive History, 1941-1945. Washington: Mead-Hill, 2010.

In the case of four authors or more, all authors should be listed in the end-of-paper bibliography, but the first author only needs to be listed in the note followed by the term “et al.” This term means “and others.” 

  1. Laura Garner et al., Manufacture of Plastic: Essays on Manufacturing Practices During the Mid 20th  Century …
  2.  Garner et al., Manufacture of Plastics …

Citing an editor, compiler or translator rather than an author

  1. Baltimore Bindes, trans., The Works of Shakespeare (New York: Manhatten Press, 1962, 86-88.
  2. Barnes, The Works, 23.

Bindes, Baltimore, trans, The Works of Shakespeare. New York: Manhatten Press, 1962.

Citing an editor, compiler or  translator as well as an author

  1. Jean Claude Devore, Treatments for Cholera, trans. Maeve Chaney, (London: Mills-Blake, 1991), 231-243.
  2. Devore, Treatments, 25.

Devore, Jean. Treatments for Cholera. Translated by Maeve Chaney. London: Mills-Blake, 1991.

Chapters, sections or other book parts

  1. Jose L. Chantrelle, “Strife and Conflict: The Futility of War,” in Compassion and Global Combat, ed. Jose L Chantrelle et al. (New York: Brook Publishing, 2009), 62.
  2. Chantrelle, “Strife and Conflict,” 73-75.

Chantrelle, Jose L. “Strive and Confict.” In Compassion and Global Combat, edited by Jose L. Chantrelle, John J. Arnall, Jeremy Ives, and Andre Devereaux, 65-82. New York: Brook Publishing, 2009.

Citing a chapter of a volume that has been edited but originally published by another source, e.g., primary source:

  1. Paulo Cedric Bianchi, “Guide to Winning Elections,” in Florence: Principles and Tactics, ed. Jaco Barbato Jr. and Eleanor Green, vol. 3 of the University of Minnesota Readings in European Practices, ed. Salvador Romano and Julie Wells (Minneapolis: University of MN Press, 1991), 24.
  2. Bianchi, “Guide to Winning Elections,” 24.

Bianchi, Paulo Cedric. “Guide to Winning Elections.” In Florence: Principles and Tactics, edited by Jaco Barbato Jr. and Eleanor Green. Vol. 3 of the University of Minnesota Readings in European Practices, edited by Salvador Romano and Julie Wells, 31-41. Minneapolis: University of MN Press, 1991. Originally published in Kathryn P. Walters, trans., Political Letters, vol. 2 (New York: Ball & Cooke, 1948).

Citing from forewords, prefaces, introductions, or similar parts of books:

  1. Leonora Challis, introduction to Shakespeare; or The Contemporary Writer, by John Paul Stone (New York: Ball & Cooke, 1985), xi- xiii.
  2. Challis, introduction.

Challis, Leonora. Introduction to Shakespeare; or, The Contemporary Writer, by John Paul Stone, xii-xxviii. New York: Ball & Cooke, 1985. 

Citing books published by electronic means

Where books are published in a number of formats, cite the format you used/consulted. If you consult a book online, provide the URL; only include the access date if this is required by your tutor, faculty, or publisher. Where page numbers are not available, it is permissible to add the title of a chapter or section or other appropriate number. See the fictional examples below:

  1. Linda Dickens, Wars and Conflicts (Chicago: Chicago City Press, 2011), Kindle edition.
  2. Paul C. Hinds and Ronald Gregg, eds., The Editors’ Association (New York: Taylor and Wall, 1982), accessed March 14, 2011, http://taylorwall-pubs.newyork.com/editors/.
  3. Dickens, Wars and Conflicts.
  4. Hinds and Gregg, Editors’ Association, chap. 11, doc. 15.

Dickens, Linda. Wars and Conflicts. Chicago: Chicago City Press, 2011. Kindle edition.

Hinds, Paul C., and Ronald Greggs, eds. The Editors’ Association. New York: Taylor and Wall, 1982. Accessed March 14, 2011. http://taylorwall-pubs.newyork.com/editors/.

Citing Articles from Journals

Journal article in print version

The particular page numbers a writer consults (if available) should be listed in note entries. The page range for the entire article should be listed in a bibliography.

  1. Jason C Harvey, “Markets in the United States,” Modern Practices 111 (2010): 334.
  2. Harvey, “Markets in United States,” 340-360.

Harvey, Jason C. “Markets in the United States.” Modern Practices 111 (2010): 320-339. 

Citing articles in online journals

A Digital Object Identifier (DOI) should be included where there is one listed in a journal. DOIs are fixed IDs that will take the reader to the article source when added to the website address in a browser. If a DOI is not available, provide the article’s URL. It is only necessary to add the access date if your tutor, faculty, or publisher requires one.

  1. George Barber and Terry T. Vane, “The Importance of Social Networking in the Modern Age,” New York Journal of Technology 213 (2010): 302, accessed May 4, 2012, doi:10.1176/489237.
  2. Barber and Vane, “Importance of Social Networking,” 310. 

Barber, George, and Terry T. Vane. “Importance of Social Networking in the Modern Age.” New York Journal of Technology 213 (2010): 415-65. Accesed May 4, 2012. doi:10.1176/489237.

Citing articles published in newspapers or popular magazines

Rather than citing articles from magazines and newspaper in notes, this can be done in text form e.g. “As Peter Wallis and Jen Bailey stated in an artice in the Washington Post on March 22, 2011, …”). Furthermore, these are usually left out of bibliographies. The fictional examples below show these types of citation in their more formal manner. Add the URL for articles found or consulted online, and you need only provide the access date if a tutor, faculty, or publisher asks for one. Where an author cannot be identified, use the title of the article to start the citation:   

  1. Jonathan Pascal, “This is Not About You,” The Texan, March 18, 2011, 59.
  2. Louise Ann Hinds and Jack Pane, “Cautious Voters Challenge Health Care Bill,” Washington Herald, July 22, 2011, accessed September 24, 2011, http://www.washingtonherald.com/2011/07/22/usa/politics/25health/.
  3. Pascal, “This is Not About You,” 60.
  4. Hinds and Pane, “Cautious Voters.”

Pascal, Jonathan. “This is Not About You.” The Texan, March 18, 2011.

Hinds, Louise Ann, and Jack Pane. “Cautious Voters Challenge Health Care Bill.” Washington Herald, July 22, 2011. Accessed September 24, 2011.


Citing from Book Reviews (fictional examples) 

  1. Desmond Grant, “Entertaining with Food,” review of The Host’s Dilemma: History of Intimate Dining, by Mark Howlan, Michigan Post, June 11, 2007, Weekend Book Review, http://www.michiganpost.com/2007/06/11/books/review/22kamp/.
  2. Grant, “Entertaining with Food.”

Grant, Desmond. “Entertaining with Food.” Review of The Host’s Dilemma: History of Intimate Dining by Mark Howlan. Michigan Post, June 11, 2007, Weekend Book Review.  


Citing from Theses or Dissertations (fictional examples): 

  1. Sam Chin, “Distinguishing Facts from Myths in Chinese Burial Rituals” (PhD diss., Dallas University, 2011).
  2. Chin, “Distinguishing Facts from Myths.”

Chin, Sam. “Distinguishing Facts from Myths in Chinese Burial Rituals.” PhD diss., Dallas University, 2011. 

Citing Papers Presented at Meetings or Conferences 

  1. Libby Trent, “ ‘The Meaning of Dreams’: What Our Subconscious is Telling Us” (paper discussed at the bi-annual meeting of the Biblical Society, Tampa, Florida, October 18-22, 2011).
  2. Trent, “The Meaning of Dreams.”

Trent, Libby. “ ‘The Meaning of Dreams’: What Our Subconscious is Telling Us.” Paper discussed at the bi-annual meeting of the Biblical Society, Tampa, Florida, October 18-22, 2011.

Citing from Websites

Very often, citations relating to websites can mean no more than a mention in-text or as a note e.g. (“On May 18, 2010, Google listed the following changes on its website …”). Where citations need to be more formal, they can be styled as per the fictional examples shown below. Because web content is prone to frequent changes, an access date should be included or, where applicable, the data a site was altered or modified.

  1. “Yahoo User Policy, last modified April 10, 2011, “http://www.yahoo.com/intl/en/userpolicy/.
  2. “Mama’s Restaurants Happy Meals Nutritional Facts,” Mama’s Restaurants, accessed June 14, 2011,


3. “Yahoo User Policy.”

4. “Nutritional Facts.”

Yahoo. “Yahoo User Policy.” Last modified April 10, 2011. http://www.yahoo.com/intl/en/userpolicy/.

Mama’s Restaurants. “Mama’s Restaurants Happy Meals Nutritional Facts.” Accessed June 14, 2011. http://www.mamasrestaurants.com/corp/about/factsheets/.

Citing Blog Entries or Comments

Rather than using notes, it is permissible to cite a blog entry or comment in text form (“In comments posted to The Texan Blog on January 14, 2010, …”) These are usually left out of bibliographies. The more formal styles of citation are shown in the fictional examples below. It is not necessary to include pseud. after a name that is clearly informal or fictitious. (Where access dates are needed, use these prior to the URL.)    

  1. Jake, March 23, 2011 (9:10 p.m.), comment on Paul Roberts, “More Employment in Past Year?,” The Black-Roberts Blog, March 19, 2011, http://utexaslaw.typepad.com/blackroberts/2011/03/more-employment-in-past-year-posner/.
  2. Jake, comment on Roberts, “More Employment.”

Black-Roberts Blog, The. http://utexas.typepad.com/blackroberts/.

Citing E-mails and/or Text Messages

Rather than using notes, it is more usual to cite e-mails and text messages in text format (“In one text message to the original author on August 3, 2011, Jean White suggested . . .”) These are not usually listed in bibliographies. The fictional example below demonstrates the style of a formal note citation.

  1. Jean White, e-mail message to original author, August 03, 2011.

Citing Items from Commercial Databases

Where items or articles are retrieved from commercial databases, the database name and accession number should be added after the publication facts. In the fictional example below, the dissertation already cited earlier is displayed in the same manner it would be if retrieved from ProQuest database.

  1. Chin, Sam. “Distinguishing Facts from Myths in Chinese Burial Rituals.” PhD diss., Dallas University, 2011. ProQuest (ABT 3200516).

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Check also:

APA Citation Style MLA Citation Style Oxford Style of Referencing Turabian Formatting Style CBE Style of Writing Vancouver Referencing System