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Chicago Style (17th Edition) Citation Guide: Introduction

A citation guide for Chicago Style 17th Edition. Includes Author-Date style and Notes & Bibliography style.

Who uses Chicago Style?

Chicago has two different styles that are widely used in the academic setting. The notes and bibliography style is preferred by many in the humanities, including those in literature, history, and the arts. The author-date style has long been used by those in the physical, natural, and social sciences. This guide will cover both styles.

What is Chicago Style?

Chicago is a documentation style that has been published by the Chicago University Press since 1906. This citation style incorporates rules of grammar and punctuation common in American English. Typically, Chicago style presents two basic documentation systems: (1) notes and bibliography and (2) author-date.

Notes & Bibliography Style

This style is preferred by many in the humanities, including those in literature, history, and the arts. This style 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.

Author-Date Style

This style has long been used by those in the physical, natural, and social sciences. In this system, sources are briefly cited in the text, usually in parentheses, by author’s last name and date of publication. The short citations are amplified in a list of references, where full bibliographic information is provided. This is sometimes referred to as the "Reference List Style".

Commonly Used Terms

Access Date: The date you first look at a source. The access date is added to the end of citations for all websites except library databases.

Bibliography: Contains details on ALL the sources cited in a text or essay, and supports your research and/or premise.

Citation: Details about one cited source.

Citing: The process of acknowledging the sources of your information and ideas.

Footnote: Details about one source that you cited in the text of your paper, which appears in the footer at the bottom of the page.

Paraphrasing: Taking information that you have read and putting it into your own words.

Plagiarism: Taking, using, and passing off as your own, the ideas or words of another.

Quoting: The copying of words of text originally published elsewhere. Direct quotations generally appear in quotation marks and end with a citation.