The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) covers a variety of topics from manuscript preparation and publication to grammar, usage, and documentation, and as such, it has been lovingly dubbed the “editor's bible.”
The material on this page focuses primarily on one of the two CMOS documentation styles: the Notes-Bibliography System (NB), which is used by those working in literature, history, and the arts. The other documentation style, the Author-Date System, is nearly identical in content but slightly different in form and is preferred by those working in the social sciences.
Though the two systems both convey all of the important information about each source, they differ not only in terms of the way they direct readers to these sources but also in terms of their formatting (e.g., the position of dates in citation entries). For examples of how these citation styles work in research papers, consult our sample papers:
Author-Date Sample Paper NB Sample Paper
In addition to consulting The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition) for more information, students may also find it useful to consult Kate L. Turabian's Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th edition). This manual, which presents what is commonly known as the "Turabian" citation style, follows the two CMOS patterns of documentation but offers slight modifications suited to student texts.
Notes and Bibliography (NB) in Chicago style
The Chicago Notes and Bibliography (NB) system is often used in the humanities to provide writers with a system for referencing their sources through the use of footnotes, endnotes, and through the use of bibliography. This offers writers a flexible option for citation and provides an outlet for commenting on those sources if needed. Proper use of the Notes and Bibliography system builds a writer’s credibility by demonstrating their accountability to the source material. In addition, it can protect writers from accusations of plagiarism, which is the intentional or accidental uncredited use of source material created by others.
Introduction to Notes
In the Notes and Bibliography system, you should include a note (endnote or footnote) each time you use a source, whether through a direct quote, paraphrase, or summary. Footnotes are added at the end of the page on which the source is referenced, while endnotes are 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, along 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.
If a work includes a bibliography, which is typically preferred, then it is not necessary to provide full publication details in notes. However, if a bibliography is not included with a work, the first note for each source should include all relevant information about the source: author’s full name, source title, and facts of publication. If you cite the same source again, or if a bibliography is included in the work, the note only needs to include the surname of the author, a shortened form of the title (if more than four words), and the page number(s). However, in a work that does not include a bibliography, it is recommended that the full citation be repeated when it is first used in a new chapter.
In contrast to earlier editions of CMOS, if you cite the same source two or more times consecutively, CMOS recommends using shortened citations. In a work with a bibliography, the first reference should use a shortened citation that includes the author’s name, the source title, and the page number(s), and consecutive references to the same work may omit the source title and simply include the author and page number. Although discouraged by CMOS, if you cite the same source and page number(s) from a single source two or more times consecutively, it is also possible to utilize the word “Ibid.,” ( from the Latin ibidem, which means “in the same place,”) as the corresponding note. If you use the same source but draw from a different new page, the corresponding note should use “Ibid.” followed by a comma and the new page number(s).
In the NB system, the footnote or endnote itself begins with the appropriate full-sized number, followed by a period and then a space.
Introduction to Bibliographies
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 preceding the index. It should include all sources cited within the work and may sometimes include other relevant sources that were not cited but provide further reading.
Although bibliographic entries for various sources may be formatted differently, all included sources (books, articles, websites, etc.) are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name. If no author or editor is listed, the title or, as a last resort, a descriptive phrase may be used.
Though useful, a bibliography is not required in works that provide full bibliographic information in the notes.
All entries in the bibliography will include the author (or editor, compiler, translator), title, and publication information.
The 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.
Titles of books and journals are italicized. Titles of articles, chapters, poems, etc. are placed in quotation marks.
The year of publication is listed after the publisher or journal name.
In a bibliography, all major elements are separated by periods.
For more information and specific examples, see the sections on Books and Periodicals.
Please note that this OWL resource provides basic information regarding the formatting of entries used in the bibliography. For more information about Selected Bibliographies, Annotated Bibliographies, and Bibliographic Essays, please consult Chapter 14.61 of The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition).
Since The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) is primarily intended as a style guide for published works rather than class papers, these guidelines will be supplemented with information from, Kate L. Turabian’s Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (8th ed.), which is largely based on CMOS with some slight alterations.
Please use the example at the bottom of this page to cite the Purdue OWL in CMOS.
A NOTE ON CITATIONS
Unlike many citation styles, CMOS gives writers two different methods for documenting sources: the Author-Date System and the Notes-Bibliography (NB) System. As its name suggests, Author-Date uses parenthetical citations in the text to reference the source's author's last name and the year of publication. Each parenthetical citation corresponds to an entry on a References page that concludes the document. In these regards, Author-Date is very similar to, for instance, APA style.
By contrast, NB uses numbered footnotes in the text to direct the reader to a shortened citation at the bottom of the page. This corresponds to a fuller citation on a Bibliography page that concludes the document. Though the general principles of citation are the same here, the citations themselves are formatted differently from the way they appear in Author-Date.
If you are using CMOS for school or work, don't forget to ensure that you're using your organization's preferred citation method. For examples of these two different styles in action, see our CMOS sample papers:
Author-Date Sample Paper NB Sample Paper
GENERAL CMOS GUIDELINES
- The text should be consistently double-spaced, except for block quotations, notes, bibliography entries, table titles, and figure captions.
- For block quotations, which are also called extracts:
- A prose quotation of five or more lines, or more than 100 words, should be blocked.
- CMOS recommends blocking two or more lines of poetry.
- A blocked quotation does not get enclosed in quotation marks.
- A blocked quotation must always begin a new line.
- Blocked quotations should be indented with the word processor’s indention tool.
- Page numbers begin in the header of the first page of text with the Arabic number 1.
- Subheadings should be used for longer papers.
- CMOS recommends you devise your own format but use consistency as your guide.
- For CMOS and Turabian’s recommendations, see “Headings,” below.
SUPPLEMENTAL TURABIAN STYLE GUIDELINES
- Margins should be set at no less than 1”.
- The typeface should be something readable, such as Times New Roman or Courier.
- Font size should be no less than 10 pt. (preferably, 12 pt.).
MAJOR PAPER SECTIONS
- According to Turabian style, class papers will either include a title page or include the title on the first page of the text. Use the following guidelines should your instructor or context require a title page:
- The title should be centered a third of the way down the page.
- Your name, class information, and the date should follow several lines later.
- For subtitles, end the title line with a colon and place the subtitle on the line below the title.
- Double-space each line of the title page.
- Different practices apply to theses and dissertations (see Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, ad Dissertations [8th ed.].
- Titles mentioned in the text, notes, or bibliography are capitalized “headline-style,” meaning the first words of titles and subtitles and any important words thereafter should be capitalized.
- Titles in the text as well as in notes and bibliographies are treated with quotation marks or italics based on the type of work they name.
- Book and periodical titles (titles of larger works) should be italicized.
- Article and chapter titles (titles of shorter works) should be enclosed in double quotation marks.
- The titles of most poems should be enclosed in double quotation marks, but the titles of very long poems should be italicized.
- Titles of plays should be italicized.
- Otherwise, take a minimalist approach to capitalization.
- For example, use lowercase terms to describe periods, except in the case of proper nouns (e.g., “the colonial period,” vs. “the Victorian era”).
- A prose quotation of five or more lines should be “blocked.” The block quotation should match the surrounding text, and it takes no quotation marks. To offset the block quote from surrounding text, indent the entire quotation using the word processor’s indentation tool. It is also possible to offset the block quotation by using a different or smaller font than the surrounding text.
In Flowers of Freedom: Reframing Political Thought, Rose eloquently sums up his argument in the following quotation:
In a society of control, a politics of conduct is
designed into the fabric of existence itself, into the
organization of space, time, visibility, circuits of
communication. And these enwrap each individual life
decision and action—about labor [sic], purchases, debts,
credits, lifestyle, sexual contracts, and the like—in a web
of incitements, rewards, current sanctions, and foreboding
of future sanctions which serve to enjoin citizens to
maintain particular types of control over their conduct.
These assemblages entail the securitization of
identity is not unified, but dispersed, not hierarchical
but rhizomatic, not totalized but connected in a web or
relays and relations. (246)
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- Label the first page of your back matter, your comprehensive list of sources, “Bibliography” (for Notes and Bibliography style) or “References” (for Author-Date style).
- Leave two blank lines between “Bibliography” or “References” and your first entry.
- Leave one blank line between the remaining entries.
- List entries in letter-by-letter alphabetical order according to the first word in each entry, be that the author's name or the title of the piece..
- 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.”
- Provide DOIs instead of URLs whenever possible.
- If no DOI is available, provide a URL.
- 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 all punctuation, except for the dash.
- In the footnotes:
- Note numbers are full-sized, not raised, and followed by a period (superscripting note numbers in the notes themselves is also acceptable).
- Lines within a footnote should be formatted flush left. Place commentary after source documentation when a footnote contains both; separate commentary and documentation by a period.
- In parenthetical citation, separate documentation from brief commentary with a semicolon.
- Do not repeat the hundreds of digits in a page range if it does not change from the beginning to the end of the range.
For more information on footnotes, please see CMOS NB Sample Paper.
While The Chicago Manual of Style does not include a prescribed system for formatting headings and subheads, it makes several recommendations.
- Maintain consistency and parallel structure in headings and subheads.
- Use headline-style for purposes of capitalization.
- Subheadings should begin on a new line.
- Subheadings can be distinguished by font size.
- Ensure that each level of the hierarchy is clear and consistent.
- Levels of subheads can be differentiated by type style, use of boldface or italics, and placement on the page, usually either centered or flush left.
- Use no more than three levels of hierarchy.
- Avoid ending subheadings with periods.
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Turabian has an optional system of five heading levels.
TURABIAN SUBHEADING PLAN
Here is an example of the five-level heading system:
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TABLES AND FIGURES
- Position tables and figures as soon as possible after they are first referenced. If necessary, present them after the paragraph in which they are described.
- For figures, include a caption, or short explanation of the figure or illustration, directly after the figure number.
- Cite the source of the table and figure information with a “credit line” at the bottom of the table or figure and, if applicable, after the caption. The credit line should be distinguished from the caption by being enclosed in parenthesis or written in different types.
- Cite a source as you would for parenthetical citation, and include full information in an entry on your Bibliography or References page.
- Acknowledge reproduced or adapted sources appropriately (i.e., photo by; data adapted from; map by...).
- If a table includes data not acquired by the author of the text, include an unnumbered footnote. Introduce the note with the word Source(s) followed by a colon, then include the full source information, and end the note with a period.
HOW TO CITE THE PURDUE OWL IN CMOS
On the new OWL site, contributors’ names and the last edited date are no longer listed at the top of every page. This means that most citations will now begin with the title of the resource, rather than the contributors' names.
Footnote or Endnote (N):
1. “Title of Resource,” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/.
1. “General Format,” The Purdue OWL, https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/.
Corresponding Bibliographical Entry (B):
“Title of Resource.” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name. http://Web address for OWL resource.
“General Format.” The Purdue OWL. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02/.
Author Date In-text Citation:
("Title" Year of publication).
("General Format" 2017).
Author Date References Page Citation:
Year of Publication. “Title of Resource.” List the OWL as Publishing Organization/Web Site Name. http://Web address for OWL resource.
2017. “General Format.” The Purdue OWL. https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/717/02.