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Chicago Style Citations

Notes and Bibliography System Basics

Notes and Bibliography System Basics 

The notes and bibliography citation method is used by professionals in humanities, such as literature, history, and the arts.  This system of citation uses numbered footnotes or endnotes for its citations. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page the source is cited on, endnotes are at the end of the document. A bibliography will be found at the end of the academic writing. 

  • A note is included each time that a source is utilized, through direct quotation, summary, or paraphrase. 
  • Notes will correlate to a superscript number in the text.
  • The superscript will be found at the end of the in-text citation. 
  • Notes can include commentary on the source in addition to the citation.  See Footnote & Endnote Basics box below for more details.

Footnote and Endnote Basics

The structure of footnotes and endnotes is the same. The author's first name appears after the note number.  It is then followed by the title (italicized or enclosed in quotations marks and not italicized). The facts of publication (i.e. publisher, date, etc.) appear in parenthesis at the end of the note. Elements are separated by commas. Words like editor, translator, volume, and edition are abbreviated. See the examples throughout the guide for further details.

A footnote will be added at the bottom of the page on which the source is utilized. Endnotes should be listed at the end of each chapter or at the end of the entire document. They are not to be placed at the end of each page on which the source was used. 

The first note number should be "1", and each consecutive note will follow in numerical order, throughout the academic work. 

  • Note numbers:
    • The number will be superscripted. 
    • The superscript will be placed at the end of the quotation, summary, or paraphrased item.
    • The superscript should be placed after the punctuation mark, but precedes a dash. 
    • When a note is needed for text that is within a parenthesis, it generally placed after a closing parenthesis.
  • In notes:
    • Normally, the note number is not superscripted, but full-sized and followed by a period.
    • Each note should correspond to the correct superscripted quotation, summary, or paraphrased item.

To cite multiple sources in one note, separate the sources with a semicolon. If the citations are to several works or quotations in the text, the order should be the same as it is in the text.

Author's or editor's names are an essential part of a note. Some works have multiple authors and some are anonymous.


  • If a work has two or three authors or editors, all the names are listed, separated by a comma, first name first. 
  • If the work has four to ten authors or editors, the first author's name should appear in the note followed by and no italics. There also should be no comma after the first author's name.

No person's name given on the title page

  • Begin the note with the work's title, ignoring "the" or "a."
  • Sometimes a work is authored by an organization and there is no person listed on the title, if so, use the organization name in place of the author's name. 

Publication dates

The date may be missing from a work's title page. If this is the case, put n.d. (not in italics) in place of the date in the note.

Abbreviated notes 

Abbreviated notes can be used once the source has been fully cited either in a previous note or in a bibliography. The basic structure is the author's last name, abbreviated title, and the page number separated by commas. Abbreviated notes are to be favored over the use of ibididem, loc. cit. and op. cit.

  • Authors
    • If there are two or three authors include last names only.
    • If more than three, give the first and last name of the first author plus et. al.
    • If the author is the editor or translator, it is only necessary indicate that in the first subsequent note.
  • Shortened titles
    • Usually shortened if the title is longer than four words.
    • When the title begins with "the" or "a" it can be omitted.
    • The word order should not be changed.
    • Doesn't necessarily need to include the first words of the title.
    • Like a full title, it can be italicized or enclosed in quotation marks.

Bibliography Basics

Bibliography Basics

The bibliography entries are much like the notes entries in the Notes and Bibliography system, a notable exception being that the first author's name appears last name first. Elements are separated by periods instead of commas. Also, facts of publication are not enclosed in parentheses.

  • They arranged in alphabetical order by the author's or first author's last name.
  • An author's single author works precede their multi authored works in the bibliography.
  • Multiple works by the same author are arranged alphabetically by title.
  • Words such as author, editor, translator, and compiler are abbreviated but not in italics.

Names in bibliography entries

  • If there is no author listed or the author is anonymous, the entry should begin with the title, any leading articles (the, a, or an) are ignored for alphabetization purposes.
  • If there are two or three authors or editors, the first author's last name will appear last name first with a comma before and after the author's first name. Join the names with "and."
  • Works with more than ten authors, should list the first seven authors.
    • The first author's name should appear last name first.
    • The remaining authors should be listed first name first, followed by et. al., no italics or comma.
  • An organization can be listed as the author in the bibliography if no personal author's name appears on the title page.

No date

When there is no date of publication given, n.d. takes its place.