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Chicago-Style Citations

Over the years, many authors have used facts, research and opinions from other authors to support their own work. Yet a major problem has been in how to give proper credit to these sources. This issue has led to the development of citation guidelines and referencing styles. Among the variety of guidelines, each has strengths or preference in given environments or disciplines.

One such style is known as “Chicago Style,” which is used heavily in the publishing industry. It is considered one of the more difficult to master due to its inconsistent handling of citation formats of which it has three distinct formats whose use depends on where they are found and what referencing style has been used.

A Word on Referencing Style

Referencing style refers to the manner in which the text of the book or article is marked regarding where the information was derived. There are two basic styles of referencing: marker/notation and parenthetical notation.


Marker/notation is the use of symbolic markers after the cited material, which points to footnotes or endnotes designated by the symbol used. Historically such marking used printer’s “daggers” and were page-specific. Over time this practice was altered to a numerically-based marking which allowed the associated notes to be page-specific, chapter-specific, or document-wide in scope, allowing a far greater level of flexibility. The distinction between the three scopes is when the numbering sequence is restarted at “1.”

Using footnotes places the associated notation at the bottom of the pageupon which the in-text marker is found. Such footnotes may contain source citations or side material that, though relevant to the text, does not fit within the flow or message of the document.

Endnotes are normally gathered at the end of the work involved. If document-wide scope is used, they are found at the end of the book. If chapter-specific scope is used, they may be found at the end of the chapter or at the end of the book. If they are found at the end of the book, they are separated into individual sections, one for each chapter. Though commonly used purely for citations, it is not unheard of for endnotes to include additional information in the same manner as footnotes.

Parenthetical Referencing

Parenthetical referencing, known as Harvard-style referencing, is the use of abbreviated citation information enclosed in parentheses within the body of the document itself. This referencing style points to reference citations found within a list of references, or bibliography, located in the end material of the document.

Parenthetical references, in general, use a “name – date – page” format to provide a pointer to the relevant bibliographic citation. An exception to this is references to websites or blogs. When referencing a website, the name of the author may be replaced with the full name of the hosting organization. Blog posts follow a “name – blog name – entry date” format.

Under parenthetical referencing, there are times when additional specification is required, such as when a specific author might have more than one document published in a given year. This is achieved by including a suffix letter at the end of the date to designate which specific citation is being referenced.

Citation Building

Chicago-style citations are a little more challenging than most other citation styles in that there are three distinct formats whose use is dictated by where in the document they are found and what form of referencing style is used: notation, bibliographic, reference list. The order of citation elements in the presentation is not the same in all of them, though all elements are included in all three formats:

  • Author Name et al. – As with all citation styles, the author’s name comes first. In footnote/endnote citations the name follows common usage (First I. Last), the others use the standard citation format (Last, First I.). Another difference is when using more than three named authors. In the footnote/endnote citations only the first author is listed, followed by “et al.” In both bibliographic and reference list citations, all authors are listed.
  • Article Title – Used only in referencing periodical articles, articles in anthologies or entries in encyclopedias. Enclosed in quotation marks in notations and bibliographic citations, but not in reference list citations.
  • Book or Periodical Title – Always italicized in Chicago citations
  • Volume and Edition – Volume and edition information is relevant to periodicals and encyclopedias, though edition may also be relevant to textbooks.
  • Editor’s Name – Typically found in anthological or encyclopedic citations. Can also be in place of the author’s name if the author’s name is missing.
  • Location and Name of Publisher – Should be used for all citations. The publisher’s name can also be used in place of the author’s name if the author’s name is missing and there is no listed editor.
  • URL (accessed Date) – For materials found online, the URL (or address) of the materials should be noted along with the date accessed. The date accessed is important due to the volatile nature of the Internet.

You will note that no mention of the publication date has been made yet. The location of the date is highly volatile in Chicago citation, so we will address it as a separate issue. In notations and bibliographic entries, the date of publication is listed after the location and name of the publisher. In reference list entries, the date is listed after the author’s name. Additionally, when dealing with periodicals in reference lists, the month or exact publication day is included in parentheses after the volume/edition information.

An additional note should be made regarding citations from a book’s forward, introduction or retrospective. When citing such materials, list the author of the extra material section first and alter the book title to read “Forward to …”, “Introduction to …” or “Retrospective of …” Then note the book author’s name after the book title with the prefix “Written by …”

Final Words

Understand, this guide is a simplification of the Chicago citation guidelines. With all the details, students can easily make mistakes when preparing resource citations. This can cause students a great deal of stress, but fortunately there is hope. The hundreds of writers who work for us are highly skilled and knowledgeable in research, writing and source documentation required for acceptable academic and professional works. Even if you have already completed your own assignment, we have professional writers who can review your work, recommend improvements, and even assist you with refining the details of your project.

Contact us today for help with your assignment, regardless of size.

Older posts:
Oxford Referencing Style - Aug 08, 2011
AMA Citation Style - Aug 08, 2011
MLA Citation Style - Aug 08, 2011
Harvard Referencing Tips - Aug 08, 2011
APA Citation Style - Aug 08, 2011

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