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Chicago Notes-Bibliography Quick Style Guide: Home

Notes-Bibliography vs. Author-Date

The Chicago Manual of Style contains two citation styles: Author-Date and Notes-Bibliography. Notes-Bibliography is the most commonly used of the two at Wells College, and is therefore the focus of this guide. For information on Author-Date Style, contact your librarians or view The Chicago Manual of Style located in the Ready Reference collection at the circulation desk.

Important Changes with the 17th Edition

  • Rather than using “ibid” to cite the same source cited in the note immediately preceding your current note, the 17th edition of the CMS encourages a shortened version of the citation (for example, the author’s last name and page number). With the shortened version of the citation, you must provide the page number you are referencing, even if it is the same page number that was provided in the previous citation.
  • When citing an online source, you should use the permalink (also called persistent or stable URLs) over the URL taken by copying the address in the web browser. If you are using an online source that is found through a library or other subscription database, you should name the database rather than providing a permalink. 

About CMS

The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) is the most commonly used method of source documentation in history courses, although some humanities courses may also require this method. Research in history emphasizes the origins of sources, therefore footnotes and/or endnotes are used to show on-page where a particular reference was derived. This “Quick Guide” offers examples and guidelines for the general format of CMS research papers, notes, and bibliographies based on the Chicago Manual of Style 17th edition.  

Basic Format

The basic format for CMS is citations provided in footnotes or endnotes supplemented by a bibliography. The notes are numbered and correspond to numbers in the text, provided in superscript.

The basic structure of a footnote is generally author, title, and facts of publication. These elements are separated by commas, and the facts of publication are enclosed in parentheses. The page number is also provided when referencing a particular passage.

The basic structure of a bibliographic entry is the same as the footnote structure, with the exception that the elements are separated by periods and the publication information is not enclosed in parentheses. 

Our Reference Librarian

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Rebecca Johnston
Louis Jefferson Long Library, Room 200A
Wells College
Aurora, NY