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Chicago Style (Notes/Bibliography)

Provides basic information and instructions for preparing a paper using Chicago Manual of Style Notes and Bibliography system.

What is the Notes/Bibliography System?

Requirements of the Notes and Bibliography system:

  1. Insert a number calling attention to each location in your paper that references a source, usually located at the end of the sentence that discusses or quotes the source. Format this number as superscript (above the line, like the number one that follows this¹).
  2. For each numbered reference in your text, type a corresponding note in your paper. You may use footnotes (a numbered list of citations at the bottom of the page on which the reference appears) or an endnotes page (one page after the body of the paper that lists all of the references in the entire paper).  
  3. An alphabetized bibliography containing a full citation for each reference. Citations in a bibliography are formatted differently than citations in notes. The information in this LibGuide should help you to understand the differences.
    NOTE: When arranging bibliography entries in alphabetical order, use the first element of the citation, usually the author's last name. For some, the first element is the title. When using a title to determine order of a citation, ignore initial articles in the title (A, The). Also note that CMS prefers letter-by-letter alphabetization, so "Williamsen, Seth" comes before "Williams, John" in the Bibliography. For more information about alphabetizing bibliography entries, refer to the CMS or contact an LCCC Librarian for assistance with CMS rules.

Full notes or shortened notes? There are two reasons you might use shortened notes:

  1. When a bibliography is required, your professor might indicate that you may use shortened citations for all notes.
  2. When a bibliography is not required, your professor might indicate that you may use a full citation in a note when referring to a source for the first time. If you refer to a source more than once, you may use a shortened citation for the subsequent notes. The short form of a note should always include the author(s) last name(s), the title (shortened if it exceeds four words), and the page(s) to which you are referring.

Components of Notes and Bibliography Style

Within the text of your paper, insert a superscript number after a sentence that refers to a resource. You must include a corresponding citation in a footnote or endnote and include a full citation in the Bibliography. The illustration below shows a superscript note referenced within the text.

Chicago Style: Superscript reference number in text

Depending on the preference of your professor, you may include, on the Notes page, a full citation or a shortened citation.  The image below displays a full citation.

Chicago Style: Full citation in footnote

The following image is a shortened citation. Shortened citations can be used (1) in a work with no bibliography when referencing a source that has already been referenced in full in another citation or (2) in a work that requires a bibliography for all notes.

Chicago Style: Shortened Citation in Footnote

All references noted within the paper must be included in the bibliography. In the bibliography, author names are inverted and ordered alphabetically. Also, note that the publication information is formatted differently than in the note with full citation above.

Chicago Style: Bibliography

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