Chicago Citation

Learn to write your research paper using the Chicago citation.

The Chicago citation is often used for the preparation and editing of papers and books for publications. The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) details how to prepare and publish manuscripts with the proper usage of grammar and documentation. There are two CMS documentation styles: the Notes-Bibliography System (NB) and the Author-Date System.

Chicago Citation Basics


Definition of Chicago Citation

When creating a Chicago citation, a writer must first determine what type of citation system is being used. There are two types of Chicago citation styles they are the Notes Bibliography system and the Author-Date system. The Notes Bibliography system is used for literature, history, and the art publications. Instead of placing citations within the text, the Notes Bibliography citation simply uses a superscript number within the text.

This superscript number corresponds to a note that can be found at the foot of the page. The Author-Date system is used for Social Sciences and Science publications. As the name suggests, it uses the authors name and date of publication for its in-text citation.

Chicago Citation Example


Chicago Citation - Chicago Citation example.

Chicago citations example

The Notes Bibliography System

The Notes Bibliography system is often used in the humanities, arts, and history. This type of Chicago citation requires footnotes as a means to reference sources. Footnotes are found at the end of each page where a source is used. These footnotes correspond with a superscript number that is located within the text of that page. Instead of having to flip to the bibliography at the end of the document, footnotes allow readers to quickly reference a source at that current page.

The Author-Date System

The second type of Chicago citation is the Author-Date system. Under this system, you cite sources within the text and include the author’s last name and date of publication. Unlike the Notes Bibliography system, the author-date system does not use footnotes. Instead, all of the sources referenced within the text are compiled at the end of the document in a reference list.

Bibliography & Reference List

Each Chicago citation used within the paper must also be listed in a bibliography or reference list at the end of the paper. These entries provide more detailed information about the source used. A bibliography is a list of all of the sources that creates work under the Notes-Bibliography system. The reference list is a compilation of all of the sources used to create a work under the Author-Date system.

The type of source determines the formatting of each reference. For instance, the reference entry for a book source will be formatted differently than the reference entry for a video source. In order to ensure that each source is formatted correctly, refer to the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

The reference or bibliography list must be in alphabetical order by the author’s last name, and each reference must follow proper indentation. That is, the second and subsequent lines of each reference is indented by half an inch.


Chicago Citation - Chicago Citation example of a Bibliography page.

Chicago citations page

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