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Chicago Style Guide - 17th Edition

Bibliography Tips

Writing a Bibliography

The Chicago notes and bibliography (humanities) style uses notes (either footnotes or endnotes) and a bibliography at the end of the paper.

It is strongly recommended, but not absolutely required, that you cite your sources in both notes and a bibliography. If you are considering not providing a bibliography, be sure to consult your instructor first since it is still standard practice to include both notes and a bibliography. 

Key formatting aspects of formatting a bibliography in the Chicago style include:

  • The bibliography is a list of all the sources you have used to research your paper.
  • It appears on a separate page at the end of the essay and is titled "Bibliography" (centred, no quotation marks, no underline).
  • The bibliography is arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name or by the title, if there is no author.
  • Citations in the bibliography are single spaced within entries, but double-spaced between entries (unless your instructor prefers double-spacing throughout).
  • The bibliography is arranged alphabetically by the author’s last name, or, if there is no author, by the first word in the title. When arranging the list ignore, but do not omit, “The”, “An” or “A” at the beginning of the title.
  • After the first line, each entry is indented ½ inch or 5 spaces from the left margin. This is called a hanging indent.  
  • Each entry presents information in a specific order: the author’s name, the title, the publication information.
  • Citations must appear both in the text of your paper (as footnotes or endnotes) and in the bibliography at the end of your paper.

For an excellent sample of a bibliography, check out the Chicago Manual of Style Sample Paper (notes and bibliography/humanities style) from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab.

Bibliographies - The Hanging Indent in MS Word

The Hanging Indent

In the Chicago style, after the first line of each bibliographic citation, each entry is indented ½ inch or 5 spaces from the left margin. This is called a hanging indentFormatting the hanging indent can sometimes be a frustrating task. If you are using MS Word to produce your research paper, you may find it helpful to reveal the ruler tool while you work.

  • Go to the "View" tab.
  • In the "Show" section, click the box next to the word "Ruler."
  • The ruler and indentation markers will now be revealed.
  • Click on and drag the "hanging indent marker" (upwards pointing lower section of the hour-glass shape) to the right to set the hanging indent to the desired position (½ inch from the left margin).​

By setting the hanging indent marker before you begin your bibliography, your entries will be created with the correct indentation formatting as you type or paste them into the Word document – saving time for more important work (like writing the paper itself!).

You can also use the hanging indent marker to adjust the indents of bibliographic entries you have already made. Try selecting all of the text on the page while moving the hanging indent marker to adjust all entries at once. Entries will need to be separated by a hard return (also known as a hard break or full carriage return) in order for this to work.

Hanging indent in MS Word

Annotated Bibliographies

Making an Annotated Bibliography

An annotated bibliography contains descriptive or evaluative comments on the sources included in a bibliography. Each entry consists of two parts: the citation and the annotation.

Annotations are usually brief and limited to approximately 100 to 300 words. However, always be sure to check with your instructor to see what the required word count is for your specific assignment.

Annotations come in various forms. Depending on assignment requirements, they can be merely descriptive, summarizing the authors' qualifications, research methods, and arguments, or contain evaluative information about the quality of scholarship in a resource. Such evaluative information may consider the logic of authors' arguments and the quality of their evidence.  

For more information, see the Camosun guide, Annotated Bibliography: How to Create One


EXAMPLE

Allen, Donald M., ed. The New American Poetry. New York: Grove Press,1960.

Concentrates on the postwar period from 1945 to 1960 and presents the work of poets who identified themselves with anti-formalist movements or waves, often associated with fugitive publications and little magazines.


EXAMPLE

Battle, Ken. "Child Poverty: The Evolution and Impact of Child Benefits." In A Question of Commitment: Children's Rights in Canada, edited by Katherine Covell and Howe, R. Brian, 21-44. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007.

Ken Battle draws on a close study of government documents, as well as his own research as an extensively-published policy analyst, to explain Canadian child benefit programs. He outlines some fundamental assumptions supporting the belief that all society members should contribute to the upbringing of children. His comparison of child poverty rates in a number of countries is a useful wake-up to anyone assuming Canadian society is doing a good job of protecting children. Battle pays particular attention to the National Child Benefit (NCB), arguing that it did not deserve to be criticized by politicians and journalists. He outlines the NCB’s development, costs, and benefits, and laments that the Conservative government scaled it back in favour of the inferior Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). However, he relies too heavily on his own work; he is the sole or primary author of almost half the sources in his bibliography. He could make this work stronger by drawing from others' perspectives and analyses. However, Battle does offer a valuable source for this essay, because the chapter provides a concise overview of government-funded assistance currently available to parents. This offers context for analyzing the scope and financial reality of child poverty in Canada.