Citing Sources: Chicago Notes/Bibliography Style

This guide gives general guidelines and specific examples for using the Chicago Style Notes and Bibliography citation format.

Understanding the Bibliography

You may be familiar with creating a Works Cited page in a citation style like MLA. In Chicago style, you will create a bibliography that lists all your sources at the end of the paper.

Every source that was cited in a footnote should appear in the Bibliography, but the formatting will be different:

FOOTNOTE: 1. Mary S. Estill, Vision Realized: History of Sam Houston State University (Huntsville, TX: Sam Houston Press, 1970), 12.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Estill, Mary S. Vision Realized: History of Sam Houston State University. Huntsville, TX: Sam Houston Press, 1970.

How to Order the Citations in a Bibliography

In the bibliography, citations should be listed alphabetically by author's last name.

If there is no author, use the first word of the title to alphabetize the citation; ignore a, an, or the at the beginning of a title.


Alphabetization should be done letter by letter.

This means you compare each letter in order, disregarding spaces. For example, Fernández, Angelines, will come before Fernán Gómez, Fernando. This is because the f-e-r-n-a-n letters are the same, but next comes d versus g. The space in the second name is ignored.


Sources by the same single author:

If you have multiple sources by the same single author (no co-authors), they should be alphabetized by the title of the work (ignoring a, an, or the). After the first citation, the author's name may be replaced by a 3-em dash in the subsequent citations. For example:

Doe, John. First Book. New York: Publisher, 1997.

———. Second Book. New York: Publisher, 2003.

(Tip: To create a 3-em dash in Microsoft Word, go to Insert -> Symbol -> More Symbols. Click the Special Characters tab. Select Em Dash and insert it 3 times.)


Same name in a single-author source and a multi-author source:

If you have a source by a single author, and a multi-author source that starts with the same author's name, then the single-author citation will come first in the alphabetization. For example:

Doe, John. A History of the World. Chicago: A Publisher, 2000.

Doe, John, and Jane Doe. A History of Australia. New York: Another Publisher, 2006.


Same author with different co-authors:

If you have two sources that have the same first author with different co-authors, alphabetize them according to the second author's last name. For example, with these two sources, Jane Doe comes before Adam White :

Doe, John, and Jane Doe. A History of Australia. New York: Another Publisher, 2006.

Doe, John, and Adam White. Introduction to Historiography. Boston: Publishing Inc, 2003.

Hanging Indents: Indenting Bibliography Entries in Microsoft Word

Bibliography entries are formatted with a "hanging indent." The first line of each citation starts against the left margin and any additional lines are indented half an inch.

Hanging indents should be formatted using indent options in word processing software (in other words, do not create the indents by pressing Enter in the middle of the citation and then inserting spaces or using the Tab key). If you are using Microsoft Word, follow these steps to correctly achieve the hanging indents:

  1. Highlight / select all of your citations.
  2. Go to the Home tab, look for the Paragraph group, and click the arrow in the right corner.
  3. In the Paragraph formatting window that opens, look under the "Indentation" heading. In the drop-down menu labeled "Special," select Hanging; then set the "By" value to 0.5".

Paragraph settings in Microsoft Word

Paragraph options dialog box in Microsoft Word

Other General Formatting Guidelines

  • Double-space text, including the bibliography.
  • Capitalize All the Major Words in a Title (Like This).
  • Titles of "long" works (books, journals, magazines, and newspapers) are written in italics.
  • Titles of "short" works (book chapters, articles, and web pages) are written in "quotes."
  • Note that author names are reversed in footnotes vs. bibliography: they are written as "FirstName LastName" (John Smith) in footnotes, but as "LastName, FirstName" (Smith, John) in the bibliography.
  • In footnotes, the various pieces of information in a citation are separated with commas. In the bibliography, many of those pieces of information are instead separated with periods.
  • In footnotes, certain publication details (like a book's place of publication, publisher, and date of publication) are enclosed in parentheses. In the bibliography, these parentheses are removed.
  • Use the abbreviations ed. or eds., comp. or comps., or trans. to indicate editor, editors, compiler, compilers, or translator.


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