Citations, Footnotes, Endnotes, Notes, and Bibliographies

PurposeQuotations | Format | Bibliographies | Common Errors

A. Purpose:

Citation is important because it reveals the quality of work that supports your writing.  The kind of sources you use, and how you use them, enables a reader to better evaluate your arguments.  A good reference should always provide enough information so that another person can find the source you have used.  Without citation, your professor might think you have committed plagiarism (see the helpful pamphlet, "Help Stop Plagiarism!").

Therefore, you must cite, or note, each and every quote, and/or all other factual information, judgments or analysis drawn from other sources, even when you use your own wording.  Not only specific words, but also unique ideas and thoughts need citations.  In academic writing, borrowed information, even if it is in your own words, must be cited, since you learned it from your source. That means at the end of every sentence with content information you need to decide whether you need to cite or not.

Deciding what to cite may be difficult.  To err in favor of too many rather than too few may be better.  Common knowledge or general information that any high school graduate should know (such as "Hitler ruled Germany from 1933 to 1945.") does not need to be cited.  Actually much that is taught in survey courses, or in your survey textbooks is general knowledge (one reason why we teach it).  

Below are some kinds of information that typically require a citation:

Content notes, where further information is provided on a point made in the text, should be avoided in papers of this length.  Either put the information in the body of the essay or leave it out.  

To cite properly, at the end of the sentence where you have used the information, you should place for the note an Arabic number, slightly superscripted, a bit smaller, immediately after the punctuation mark. That number then links to the note proper with the citation information.  Those notes then may either be located as footnotes at the bottom of the page where they are cited (separated from the text by a short, solid line, as below), or on a separate page labeled as "Endnotes," located after the last page of text and before the Bibliography page.  All sources cited in notes must again be listed in your Bibliography.

Citations must be in the TURABIAN (or Chicago Manual of Style) FORMAT.  For more information, see below.  It is the style most used by historians.  Other common styles, which you may NOT use, are MLA or APA.
Citations are numbered sequentially, with each use of any source deserving its own note (unless a paragraph or several sentences use the same source, but that should be explained in the note).  

Second or later citations of the same source must be in an abbreviated form.Latin terms like ibid., loc. cit., or op. cit. are no longer used.  If every sentence in a paragraph is from the same source, and you think each might require a note, but you do not want to clutter your paper, you may cite the topic sentence and explain your citing the whole paragraph in your citation.  It is better, though, to use numerous sources.  


1Jules R. Benjamin, A Student's Guide to History, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), 96.

2Benjamin, 98.

B. Quotations:

On most assignments in 100-level courses, you may not use quotations.  (And this does not mean you can take someone else's exact words and use them without "quotation marks" or formatting as single spaced and indented if longer than three lines, even if you cite the passage).  Why no quotations?  Too often, students use another author's words rather than thinking through the issue themselves.  It is better to use your own words and show your own mastery of the material.  That means rewriting and paraphrasing your sources.   

Check the syllabus whether you may use quotes from your sources or not.  If you may use quotes, each one must be properly cited.  

Any use of another person's words must be properly identified.  Not to do so is plagiarism.  If you use more than two words of another author in a row,  a distinct combination of two words, or even a unique emphasis on one word, you are directly quoting that author.  

If you use just a few words you put quotation marks ("word") around the borrowed text.  If the text is longer than 3 lines, use a block of single-spaced and indented text.  Either form requires a citation to the original source.  If you edit the quotes somewhat, use the following:
 brackets  -[ ]- to put in your own comments or changes that make the quotes sensible,
 -[sic]-  to indicate an error in the quote that you know is wrong, or 
ellipsis (three dots or periods) - ...- to indicate you have edited out part of the quote.

See also presentation.html.  

C. Format of Citations:

Turabian (or Chicago Manual of Style) format requires specific punctuation and order for your information.  It is often the format used by historians who wrote the books of information available for research.  For format guides see Sample Bibliography, Corgan Library "Citing Sources", or Corgan Library Study Guide # 11, or try <>, or <>.  

Use the same font/typeface as in the rest of your paper.  Only underline or italicize where appropriate;  do NOT use boldface.  

Information should be single spaced within the citation.  Footnotes should have no double-space/blank lines between citations.  Preferably, as explained above, they should be at the bottom of the page where the information is used.  When citations are located on a page at the end of the text they are called endnotes.  The endnotes should be on a separate page, labeled "Endnotes."  In endnotes, citations may have blank lines in between each one.   All citations should be indented on the first line.  

Sample Foot/endnote Citation Format:

1Firstname Blastname, “Title of Particular Article,” Peer-reviewed Scholarly Journal Title 43 (1993): 53.

2Firstname Dlastname, “Title of Internet Page,“ Internet Site Title, 9 November 1996, <> (2 February 1998).

3Firstname Alastname, Title of the Book (City: Publisher, 1994), 231.

4Blastname, 41.

5Firstname Clastname, “Title of Story,” Magazine Title, 11 November, 1997, 67.

D.  Bibliography

A bibliography should list all the sources you have consulted whether cited in a note or not.  Some assignments have a minimum number of sources, and possibly of various kinds (primary, secondary;  printed, electronic).  (For more on sources, see sources.html).

A bibliography should be the last page or pages of your paper, and should be clearly labeled at the top.  The name "Bibliography" should be used instead of "Works Cited" or "Works Consulted."  It does not count toward the required number of pages of writing.  Bibliographic citations are listed in alphabetical order using the author's last name. If no author can be found, you could list it under "N.N." (for no name), or "Anonymous/Anon."   Various kinds of sources are listed together, unless otherwise instructed.  References should be single spaced (although it is usual in shorter bibliographies to have a blank line between references;  if the whole text is single spaced, there must be a hanging indent for each first line.  They are not numbered or bulleted.

Sample Bibliography Format:  

Alastname, Firstname.  “Title of the Particular Article.” Peer-reviewed Scholarly Journal Title 43 (1993): 33-54.

Anonymous.  “Title of Other Internet Document.” WEBsite Name. 27 October 2000. <> (3 February 2002).

Blastname, Firstname. Title of the History Book. City: Publisher, 1994.

Clastname,Firstname. “Title of Popular Journalism Story.” Popular Magazine Title, 11 November, 1997, 66-8.

Dlastname, Firstname. “Title of Internet Document.” Internet Site Title. 9 November 1999. <> (15 February 2002).

Jlastname,  Firstname. “Title of Article.” Journalname 43 (1993): 33-54 [journal online]; available from EBSCOhost;  accessed 12 February 2002.

E. Common Errors

Try to avoid these mistakes in citation format which students make too often:  

PurposeQuotations | Format | Bibliographies | Common Errors


Copyright © MMVI by Brian A. Pavlac
Last Revision: 2012 March 22

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