Skip to Main Content

HU 3900: Inquiry Seminar: The US-China Relationship : Chicago Style Citations

Citation Examples & Sample Papers

To see examples of what Chicago style citations should look like for different source types, check out the following websites. These websites provide guidance on how to format footnotes and bibliography entries for a variety of source types. 

The OWL (Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University has an annotated sample paper in Chicago style, which is helpful for seeing an example of what the formatting of your paper should look like:

Books at the Library

Notes and bibliography (NB)


The Chicago NB (Notes & Bibliography) system is often used in History scholarship and provides writers with a system for referencing their sources through footnote or endnote citation in their writing and through bibliography pages. It also offers writers an outlet for commenting on those cited sources. 

Footnotes and Endnotes:

In the NB system, you should include a note (endnote or footnote) each time you use a source, whether through a direct quote or through a paraphrase or summary. Footnotes will be added at the bottom of the page on which the source is referenced, and endnotes will be compiled at the end of each chapter or at the end of the entire document.

In either case, a superscript number corresponding to a note with the bibliographic information for that source should be placed in the text following the end of the sentence or clause in which the source is referenced.

The first note for each source should include all relevant information about the source: full name(s) of the author(s), source title, and facts of publication. If you cite the same source again, the note need only include the surname(s) of the author(s), a shortened form of the title (if more than four words), and page number(s).

The footnote or endnote itself begins with the appropriate number followed by a period and then a space.


In the NB system, the bibliography provides an alphabetical list of all sources used in a given work. This page, most often titled Bibliography, is usually placed at the end of the work. It should include all sources cited within the work.

Although bibliographic entries for various sources may be formatted differently, all included sources (books, articles, Web sites, etc.) are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name. If no author or editor is listed on a source, the title of that source may be used instead for alphabetization in the bibliography. 

Common Elements

Entries in the bibliography generally include the author (or editor, compiler, translator), title, and publication information.

Author’s Names

The first author’s name is inverted in the bibliography, placing the last name first and separating the last name and first name with a comma; for example, John Smith becomes Smith, John. (If an author is not listed first, this applies to compilers, translators, etc.) If there is more than one author, write the first author's name as Last Name, First Name. Write the other author's names as First Name Last Name. 


Titles of books and journals are italicized. Titles of articles, chapters, poems, etc. are placed in quotation marks.

Publication Information

The year of publication is listed after the publisher or journal name.


In a bibliography, all major elements are separated by periods.

Chicago Citations


Download a copy of the Chicago Citations video tutorial transcript:

This video provides an introduction to writing footnotes and bibliography entries in Chicago Style. Feel free to increase or decrease the playback speed of the video to best suit your learning needs. 

General Format


  • Label your comprehensive list of sources at the end of your paper as “Bibliography.”
  • Start the bibliography on a new page at the end of your paper. 
  • Leave two blank lines between “Bibliography” and your first entry. 
  • Leave one blank line between remaining entries. 
  • List entries in letter-by-letter alphabetical order according to the first word in each entry. 
  • Authors:
    • Use “and,” not an ampersand, “&,” for multi-author entries. 
    • For two to three authors, write out all names. 
    • For four to ten authors, write out all names in the bibliography but only the first author’s name plus “et al.” in notes and parenthetical citations. 
    • When a source has no identifiable author, cite it by its title, both on the references page and in shortened form (up to four keywords from that title) in parenthetical citations throughout the text. 
  • Write out publishers’ names in full. 
  • Do not use access dates unless publication dates are unavailable.  
  • If you cannot ascertain the publication date of a printed work, use the abbreviation “n.d.”
  • If you cannot ascertain the publication date of an online work, write the date that you accessed that work. 
  • Provide DOIs instead of URLs whenever possible
  • ​​If you cannot name a specific page number when called for, you have other options: section (sec.), equation (eq.), volume (vol.), or note (n.). 


  • Note numbers should begin with “1” and follow consecutively throughout a given paper. 
  • In the text, note numbers are superscripted. 
    • Note numbers should be placed at the end of the clause or sentence to which they refer and should be placed after any and all punctuation. 
    • In the notes themselves, note numbers are full-sized, not raised, and followed by a period (superscripting note numbers in the notes themselves is also acceptable). 
    • The first line of a footnote is indented .5” from the left margin. 
    • Subsequent lines within a footnote should be formatted flush left. 
    • Leave an extra line space between footnotes. 
    • Place commentary after documentation when a footnote contains both, separated by a period. 

Related Guides