Formatting Guides

How to Do a Chicago Bibliography: Simple Formatting Rules & Example

Chicago Bibliography
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Chicago style bibliography is a standardized method of citing sources in academic writing. In Chicago style, the bibliography is typically included at the end of a research paper, thesis, or dissertation. It lists all the sources that were used in the research, both cited and uncited. The bibliography should be arranged alphabetically by the author's last name. Each reference should contain the author's name, title of the work, publication information, and date of publication.

There are also additional rules for citing specific kinds of sources that require extra information, such as including the name of an editor or a URL where the source was retrieved from. And in this blog post we will discuss each case in detail. Keep on reading and discover how to write a bibliography in Chicago style.

What Is Chicago Turabian Bibliography

Chicago/Turabian bibliography is a special version of Chicago style. It is specifically designed for students and researchers. Main guidelines of Chicago Turabian bibliography are:

  1. This style's bibliography section should start from a new page.
  2. It should begin with an exact title ‘Bibliography’, centered.
  3. The first entry should start after two blank lines.
  4. Entries should be single-spaced, each one followed by a blank line.
  5. 0.5 in indent should be applied to the whole page. First line of each entry should be flushed left.
  6. Full first name of each author is to be provided as well.

Formatting the Chicago Style Bibliography

These are general rules of how to format Chicago style bibliography:

  1. Bibliography is the last section of your paper that starts from a new page.
  2. This section should be single-spaced, unlike other parts of your paper.
  3. A heading saying, ‘Bibliography’ should be placed at the top of the first page, bold and centered.
  4. Each reference entry is a separate paragraph, indented 0.5 in. Exception is for the first line that is flushed left. An empty line should be put after each entry.
  5. Complete information about a source is provided.

There are also strict guidelines regarding the formatting of various kinds of citations that may appear in your paper. Let us review them in detail.

Chicago Style Citation Bibliography

Let us take a closer look at how each reference entry in Chicago citation bibliography is to be formatted. This style recommends taking a special approach to citing different kinds of sources, such as:

  • books
  • websites
  • magazines
  • journals

While basic requirement is to provide all important information about the source in your citation, the exact details may vary. We will now fully describe how you should make Chicago-styled reference in each of these cases. Examples will be provided as well. Please note that only author's first name will be used in each of the examples. Special requirements regarding authors in Chicago bibliography style will be covered in our next section.

Chicago Style Bibliography Book

Let us start with formatting a Chicago book bibliography entry. General structure is as follows:

General format

Author Last Name, First Name. Book Title: Subtitle. Edition. Place of publication: Publisher, Year. DOI/URL.

Some additional rules apply here:

  • Always abbreviate an edition name or number.
  • When citing a specific chapter in a book, enclose chapter title into double quotes. Start your citation with author’s name of each chapter.
  • Only include the URL if you’ve retrieved this book online.

An example of a Chicago book bibliography entry:

Chicago book bibliography entry

Looking for Chicago style book citation? We have one more blog dedicated to this topic.

Bibliography Chicago Style Website

Format is slightly different when you need to make a Chicago bibliography website reference. No publisher information is required, but you must provide the URL of site cited. Typically, your reference also includes title of that page where you have found your material on and an exact date when this page was created.

Take a look at this general structure:

General format

Author Last Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Name. Month Day, Year. URL.

You should also know these additional rules:

  • For anonymous pages, put website’s name instead of author’s one. Do not repeat it later in this reference.
  • Specify an exact date when you have accessed this page in case no publication date is provided.

Consider this example:

Bibliography chicago style website

Chicago Style Bibliography Magazine

You need to make a Chicago bibliography magazine citation for every magazine article you have consulted when writing your paper. Name of magazine you are citing should be italicized. Don't provide any page numbers. Magazine articles can get other materials inserted inside them, including ads.

Here's how a general structure should look like:

General structure

Author last name, First name. “Article Title.” Magazine Name, Month Day, Year.

A URL must be also specified in case you have used an online version of a magazine.

An example of a Chicago style bibliography magazine reference:

Chicago style bibliography magazine

Chicago Style Bibliography Journal

In a Chicago bibliography journal citation you need to provide additional details, such as page range where your material was taken from and specific issue which contains this article. The journal’s name must be italicized. The general structure is as follows:

General structure

Author Last Name, First Name. “Article Title.” Journal Name Volume, no. Issue (Month Year): Page range. DOI/URL.

A digital object notificatore (DOI) must be provided for articles accessed online. In case DOI is not available, provide article’s URL instead.

Take a look at this example:

Chicago style bibliography journal

Authors in a Chicago Bibliography

Now let us examine what information should be provided in Chicago, author bibliography about your sources’ authors. According to guidelines of this style, rules are as follows:

  • Use full first names. Middle initials (e.g. when name is John A. Doe) should stay abbreviated.
  • Put authors’ names before title of source you are citing.
  • Do not alphabetize multiple names within one reference. The original order of a book’s authors should be kept.
  • At the same time, follow an alphabetization order (A to Z) among all references.

There are several specific cases where some special rules apply. Let us explore them in detail.

Chicago Bibliography Multiple Authors

When composing your Chicago bibliography, you often might come across a book or an article written by multiple authors. When citing such a source, make only the first author’s name inverted . Leave all subsequent names in their usual order.

If your source has 10 authors or less, you have to provide all their names in an order they appear in source your are citing. Separate them by commas and put “and” before last one, not ‘&’. If it has more than 10 authors, provide first seven names and put “et al.” in the end.

The example is as follows:

Chicago bibliography multiple authors

Chicago Style Bibliography Same Author Multiple Works

Another common case in Chicago bibliography is using multiple works by same author. This might be useful for your research. 

The list of such sources should be formatted in following way:

  • Author’s name is provided for the first source only.
  • Other works by the same author are listed beneath it in an alphabetical order. They should be sorted by title. Use an alphabetizer to organize your references quickly.
  • For each of them, replace author’s name with three ‘3-em dashes’ (or long dashes). The other information in each citation should be provided as usual.

Consider the following example:

Chicago style bibliography same author multiple works

Chicago Bibliography No Author

In Chicago bibliography, it also might happen that your source has no author: e.g. when you cite an anonymous website page. In such a case, it is necessary to place an organization that published it as the first element of your reference entry. For a website Chicago format, you should put the name of its owner instead of the name of that organization. And in case its owner is unknown, just start your reference with the website's name.

Take a look at this example:

Chicago bibliography no author

Chicago Style Bibliography Example

In order to illustrate the above information, we have composed an example bibliography, Chicago style. This is a brief list of different samples of references. Each of them covers a different type of source for your convenience. Depending on your research topic, this section could be bigger or smaller. It can contain 20 sources or even more. This example includes only the types of sources we have described above in order to keep it short.

Chicago style bibliography example

Bibliography vs Reference List

Let us review the difference: reference list vs bibliography. Actually, it depends upon the substyle you have chosen for your paper. For an author-date system where you have to provide your Chicago style in text citation in parentheses. The section with the complete list of sources is named the Reference list and it is also mandatory. 

If you choose the Notes and Bibliography substyle, this section is named Bibliography. Both kinds of reference sections contain the sources with the complete information about them. The only differences between them are the section heading and the placement of the date when the source was published (or when you have consulted it). In a reference list, the date is placed immediately after the author’s name.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Chicago style bibliography

1. How do I cite a source with no date in Chicago style?

When writing a bibliography, Chicago-styled, you are allowed to use sources with no publication date provided. Most often, it happens with materials posted online. In this case you are expected to provide the date when you have accessed this specific material or web page. Put the word ‘Accessed’ before the date to make it clear.

In footnote citations, you need to provide the same date for this specific source. It should also start with ‘Accessed’.

2. What is the difference between a bibliography and an annotated bibliography?

A bibliography (Chicago style) is a section where all sources you have used when writing your work are listed, with all information about them provided (including author’s, titles, date and publication information). This section must also correspond to all footnote citations in your paper.

An annotated bibliography is a special section in a research paper. It examines each source you have picked, evaluates the level of its relationship to the topic and concludes whether it is appropriate for your work.

3. What's the difference between endnotes and a bibliography?

In your Chicago style bibliography, you need to provide complete information about your source. Also, where you can find it. This is necessary to locate a specific version of an article or a book edition.

Endnotes in your paper are used to provide more information on where your specific argument or statistic came from. Endnotes are made using an in-text superscript numbering system to make it easier to locate them.

4. Is a Chicago style bibliography double spaced?

There are strict rules about spacing on the Chicago bibliography page. Chicago style in general prefers double spacing across the entire paper. However, a bibliography page must have one-inch margins all around and single spacing for each entry. You need to add a single-spaced line between each entry to make them distinguishable. Besides, your instructor might prefer double-spacing throughout this whole work as well.

Article posted on:Aug 10, 2022
Article updated on:Aug 31, 2023


Leave your comment here:
9/30/2022 7:34 AM
Hello there. I am currently working on a bibliography for my paper in chicago style and one question came to my mind. What is the difference between bibliography and annotated bibliography in chicago style?
9/30/2022 7:49 AM
Hi Susan,

Thank you for your question. The answer is quite simple. The difference is that bibliography is a list of sources you cited in your research. It includes an author, title, and publication of the source. In turn, annotated bibliography is everything we mentioned above, but also includes a paragraph of brief information summarizing each citation. Hope this helps!
10/7/2022 9:20 AM
Hi! I also have a similar question about differences. What is the difference between bibliography and reference list in Chicago style?
10/7/2022 9:28 AM
Hi Mike,

The question is pretty common, so let’s finally figure out the difference between bibliography and reference page. When it comes to reference list, there should be included sources that have been directly cited in the body of your paper. Each source will have at least one in-text citation. On the other hand, your bibliography should include all the sources and materials that you have used when writing your paper, whether they are directly cited in text or not.
10/11/2022 2:26 PM
Wow, I didn’t know that! Thanks for sharing this information. I’m also working on my paper and don’t know whether I should create a bibliography or a reference list. Any thoughts about this?
10/11/2022 2:28 PM
Hi Charlie,

It actually depends on what citation style you use in your paper. If you use Chicago style, you are more likely to use bibliography. In turn, APA, AMA, and MLA citation styles include reference lists more often. Anyway, the best idea is to consult with your professor about the citation style you should use and whether you should create a bibliography or a reference list. Good luck!