Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

Bibliographies and Footnotes

Introduction to Chicago Style

The Chicago Manual of Style was first published in 1906 under the title Manual of Style: Being a compilation of the typographical rules in force at the University of Chicago Press, to which are appended specimens of type in use. It has since had 15 further editions and has expanded from 200 pages in its original iteration to over 1000 in its latest version, published in August 2010. The latest edition (August 2010) has been greatly expanded to cover the vast amount of electronic sources now available to scholars. The Chicago Manual of Style has been largely responsible for the standardization of history citations over the past century. The book is available in the library and all history essays written at TRU or nearly any post-secondary institution in North America must be based on it.

In an ideal world the all history professors would have the Chicago style memorized but sadly this is not the case. As previously stated the book is over a thousand pages and is in its 16th edition. Unfortunately professors often have contrary ideas about what is actually in the guide, or are unaware of recent changes to the guide. When in doubt it is best to ask, and if the professors asks you to do something unusual its probably best to follow their advice.

The most important thing when your unsure of how to cite, and you don't have time to ask a professor for advice, is to be consistent. For instance it has recently begun to be accepted to italicize rather then underline titles in the works cited section. In a case like this it is probably best to follow conservative practices (your less likely to loose marks to a professor not familiar with updates to the Chicago manual of style), but more important is to be consistent. Do not underline some titles and italicize others as this is a sure way to lose marks. Just as you should not change your font halfway through your essay or present other obvious errors of continuity.

There are to be some notes to be provided here which to overcome some common misconceptions.

  • The letter(s) p and pp (to indicate page and pages) are rarely used anymore. Simply cite the page numbers.
  • The place of publication is always a city, not a country. There are no exceptions. Names of major cities need no further elaboration. For example "Toronto" and "Los Angeles" are sufficient; you need not put "Toronto, Ontario" or "Los Angeles, California". Smaller places, perhaps not so well known, might require elaboration, keep the knowledge of your target audience in mind when using abbreviations and other shortcuts.
  • Typically at TRU smaller American and Canadian Cities can be identified by placing a province or state beside their name without the need to add the country, but cities in any other country should be identified by country only (no province should be mentioned).
  • Notes are numbered; bibliographical entries are not.