Nathan D.
Nathan D.

What is a Chicago Style Bibliography and How to Use It

5 min read

Published on: May 13, 2024

Last updated on: May 21, 2024

Chicago style Bibliography

If you are writing an academic paper in the humanities, you may need to use the Chicago style for your citations and references.

The Chicago style offers two systems of citing sources; author-date style and notes and bibliography style.

The notes and bibliography (NB) system is a widely used format that allows you to acknowledge your sources in footnotes, endnotes, or a bibliography. 

In this blog post, we will explain the basics of the Chicago-style bibliography and show you some examples of how to cite different types of sources.

So, let’s get right into it!

What is a Chicago Style Bibliography?

A Chicago style bibliography is a list of all the sources that you have cited or consulted in your paper. 

It appears at the end of your paper, before any appendices, and gives your reader an overview of all your sources in one place. 

A bibliography is not mandatory but is strongly recommended for all but concise papers. It helps you avoid plagiarism, demonstrate your research, and provide additional information for your readers.

A bibliography entry in the Chicago style consists of four main elements:

  • Author name(s)
  • Title of the source
  • Publication details
  • DOI or URL (if available)

The order and format of these elements vary depending on the type of source. For example, a book citation looks different from a journal article citation or a website citation. 

How to Format a Chicago-Style Bibliography Page?

According to the Chicago Manual of Style (17th Edition), the bibliography should follow these general formatting rules:

Heading 

The heading of the bibliography is bolded and centered at the top of the page. It should appear after your conclusion and the appendices but before the notes section.

Alphabetical Order

The bibliography entries are arranged in alphabetical order by the author’s last name. If a source has no author, use the title instead.

Indentation 

The first line of each entry is flush left, and any additional lines are indented by 0.5 inches. This is called a hanging indent. 

Separating Entries

A single blank line separates the entries. This helps to distinguish each source and makes the bibliography easier to read. Each entry should have a hanging indent. 

Here is what a Chicago bibliography page should look like:

[Infographic]

Formatting Bibliography Entries 

Here is what you should remember about different bibliography entries:

Author Name(s) 

The author names are inverted, meaning that the last name comes first, followed by a comma and the first name. 

If there are multiple authors, only the first author’s name is inverted, and the others are separated by commas. Use the word before the last author’s name.

Title 

The titles of books, journals, websites, and other standalone works are italicized. The titles of chapters, articles, and other parts of a larger work are enclosed in quotation marks.

Publication 

The publication details include the place of publication, the publisher, and the year of publication. Use a colon after the place of publication and a comma after the publisher. 

If the place of publication is not given, use n.p. (no place). If the publisher is not given, use n.p. (no publisher). If the year of publication is not given, use n.d. (no date).

DOI/URL

The DOI or URL of the source is given at the end of the entry, preceded by a period. Use a DOI if available, otherwise, use a URL. 

If the URL is too long or complex, you can use a shortened version or a stable link provided by the website or database. Make sure that the link is still accessible and leads to the correct source.

Page Range 

The page range is abbreviated using the last two digits of the ending page number unless more digits are needed to avoid confusion.

If the source is only one page long, use p. before the page number. For example, p. 12. If the source is more than one page long, use pp. before the page range. For example, pp. 125-29.

Examples of Chicago Style Bibliography Entries

Here are some examples of how to cite different types of sources in a Chicago style bibliography:

Book

Format:

Author's Last Name, First Name. Title of the Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

Smith, John Q. The Art of Chocolate: From Bean to Bar. Chicago: Sweet Publishing, 2020.

Book Chapter

Format:

Author's Last Name, First Name. “Chapter Title”, In Title of the Book. Page Range. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year.

For example:

Doe, Jane R. "Decadent Delights: A History of Chocolate Confections." In Cocoa Chronicles, edited by Samantha A. Baker, 45-67. New York: ChocPrint Press, 2018.

Journal Article 

Format:

Author's Last Name, First Name. "Title of Article." Title of Journal volume number, no. issue number (Month or Season): inclusive page or paragraph numbers.

For example:

Lee, Anna, and Kim, David. “The Effect of Chocolate Consumption on Mood and Stress Levels: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Chocolate Research 12, no. 3 (2025): 321-335. https://doi.org/10.1234/5678.

Website 

Format:

Author's Last Name, First Name. Year of Publication. "Title of Web Page." Title of Website. Date Accessed. URL.

For example:

Brown, Emily. "Chocolate Bliss: The Ultimate Guide to Cacao Varieties." ChocoholicHub, accessed February 10, 2022. https://www.chocoholichub.com/cacao-varieties-guide.


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Nathan D.

WRITTEN BY

Nathan D. (Literary analysis)

Introducing Nathan D., PhD, an esteemed author on PerfectEssayWriter.ai. With a profound background in Literary Analysis and expertise in Educational Theories, Nathan brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to his writings. His passion for dissecting literature and exploring educational concepts shines through in his meticulously crafted essays and analyses. As a seasoned academic, Nathan's contributions enrich our platform, offering valuable perspectives and engaging content for our readers.

Introducing Nathan D., PhD, an esteemed author on PerfectEssayWriter.ai. With a profound background in Literary Analysis and expertise in Educational Theories, Nathan brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to his writings. His passion for dissecting literature and exploring educational concepts shines through in his meticulously crafted essays and analyses. As a seasoned academic, Nathan's contributions enrich our platform, offering valuable perspectives and engaging content for our readers.

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