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Chicago Manual of Style Citation Guide

Notes and Bibliography System Overview

This system is most commonly used in the Humanities and Arts. The OC Library Guide for Chicago (notes & bibliography system) is also available for download as a PDF.

As the name suggests, the Notes and bibliography system uses footnotes or endnotes (or both) usually in combination with a bibliography. The notes allow space for describing unusual types of sources and provide the opportunity for adding comments on the sources where this might interrupt the flow of the paper. 

A shortened note format can be used in place of full footnotes or endnotes as long as all items are included in the bibliography. For most student papers this will be the preferred method. The shortened note provides limited citation details and directs the reader to the bibliography. However, certain types of items, such as dictionary or encyclopedia entries, websites and social media, will be cited in full in the notes and will not be included in the bibliography. For more detail on when and how to use shortened notes, see section 14.19 of the Chicago Manual.

In a shortened note include the author's last name only, a shortened version of the title (usually the first two or three words) and the page number of the exact citation.

In a full note, include all of the citation details with elements of the citation separated by commas rather than periods. Include the page number of the exact citation.

In the bibliography, invert the first author's name so that the last name appears first. Organize the bibliography by the author's last names. Separate elements of the citation by periods instead of commas. Include the full page range for articles or chapters.

For more information, please refer to the Notes and Bibliography Quick Guide from the Chicago Manual of Style Online.

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