Citing in a Chicago Paper

When should you use citations? We cite other people both when we are directly quoting and when we are paraphrasing other writers’ words. This keeps us from plagiarizing, strengthens our arguments, and connects us to other thinkers! When we use them correctly, citations make our work both more persuasive and more meaningful.

When should you use Chicago style? Chicago style is generally used in the disciplines of Business, History, and the Fine Arts. It has two different systems for citing sources: AuthorDate, which uses parenthetical citations (and looks very similar to APA), and NotesBibliography, which uses footnotes at the bottom of every page. The author-date system is more common in the sciences and social sciences, while the Notes-Bibliography (NB) system is more common in the humanities. Since author-date is fairly intuitive if you’ve already worked with APA or MLA, this handout will focus on how to use the Notes-Bibliography system.

Footnotes: The Basics

In the NB system, your reader can glance at the bottom of the page for information about the source you are citing without having to scroll or flip to your bibliography, which streamlines the reading experience. For that purpose, the first time you cite a specific source in a footnote, you include all of the information you will also put in the corresponding bibliography entry. After that first footnote, however, you can abbreviate your citations. For example, if you were to cite an article for the first time, your footnote would follow this format:

1. Author’s Full Name, “Article Title,” Name of Publishing Journal volume #, issue # (Year of Publication): page #. If you immediately cited the same article, however, it would look much simpler:

2. Author’s Last Name, page #.

If you use the article again after having used several different sources, you should put the article title back in, but you do not have to return to the original (full) citation:

6. Author’s Last Name, “Article Title,” page #.

But how should the numbers look on the page? Great question! Refer to the sample paper (URL below) for a more complete picture, but the basics are as follows:

When putting note numbers in your text, place the little (superscript) number directly after the punctuation mark (excluding dashes) at the end of the sentence or clause to which your citation refers:

● This is an example sentence.¹
● Like the previous sentence,² this is an example sentence.
● This example sentence should demonstrate that you cannot put a note number directly after one form of punctuation—the dash.³

Templates for Common Types of Sources


General template:

Footnote or endnote (N):

1. Firstname Lastname, Title of Book (Place of publication: Publisher, Year of Publication), page #.

Corresponding bibliographical entry (B):

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. Place of publication, Publisher, Year of Publication. More than one author? List their names in the order they appear as authors (not alphabetically):


2. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979), 287.


Gilbert, Sandra and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven, Yale University Press, 1979.

Translated work? Put the original author first, but include the translator in the footnote and the bibliography entry:


5. Reinhart Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time, trans. Keith Tribe (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), 90.


Koselleck, Reinhard. Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time. Translated by Keith Tribe. New York: Columbia University Press, 2004.

Book with author and editor? As with the translator, put the main author first, followed by the editor:


3. Julian of Norwich, The Shewings of Julian of Norwich, ed. Georgia Ronan Crampton (Kalamazoo, Medieval Institute Publications, 1994), 39.


Julian of Norwich. The Shewings of Julian of Norwich. Edited by Georgia Ronan Crampton. Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1994.

E-book? Electronic books are cited just like their print counterparts with the addition of a DOI or URL at the end of the entry:


1. Sarah McNamer, Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion, (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010), 3, FO0?sid=f487aeb6-91b2-4f08-b02a-865b0ba8ceeb@pdc-vsessmgr02&vid=0&format=EB.


McNamer, Sarah. Affective Meditation and the Invention of Medieval Compassion. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2010. FO0?sid=f487aeb6-91b2-4f08-b02a-865b0ba8ceeb@pdc-vsessmgr02&vid=0&format=EB.

Other exceptions?

For other, less common variations in citation format for books, check out the Purdue OWL’s section on books: ( ormatting_and_style_guide/books.html)

For a more general but still helpful overview, I’d recommend the Chicago Manual of Style online:

Journal articles


5. Firstname Lastname, “Title of Article,” Title of Journal vol. #, issue # if given (Year of Publication): page #.

Bibliography entry:

Lastname, Firstname. “Title of Article.” Title of Journal vol. #, issue # if given (Year of Publication): page #’s of article.

Accessed online? Include the DOI (or URL) in


4. Anna Mae Duane, “Black Motherhood in Frank J. Webb’s ‘The Garies and their Friends,’” African American Review 38, no. 2 (2004): 201-212,


Duane, Anna Mae. “Black Motherhood in Frank J. Webb’s ‘The Garies and their Friends.’” African American Review 38, no. 2 (2004): 201-212.

Web sources


1. Firstname Lastname, “Title of Web Page,” Name of Website, Publishing Organization, publication or revision date if available, access date if no other date is available, URL.


Lastname, Firstname. “Title of Web Page.” Name of Website. Publishing organization, publication or revision date if available. Access date if no other date is available. URL. No known author/date? Put the title in the first position, and use the date accessed if no other date is available:


1. “Writing Center,” Fordham University, accessed October 20, 2020,


“Writing Center.” Fordham University. Accessed October 20, 2020.

Citing a blog? Blog titles should be italicized, and entries should be put inside quotation marks:


2. Ian Sullivan, “The Importance of Cat Viral Videos; Or, Writing for Others,” The Writing Center at Fordham University (blog), September 25, 2015,

Usually blogs are only cited in notes, but if you use a blog entry extensively in your paper, you may want to include it in your bibliography. Also, if the word “blog” is already in the title, you can leave out the “blog” in parentheses after the blog title.

Looking for more resources on working with sources? 


Chicago Manual of Style Online Quick Guide: