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*History: General: Citing

Why Cite?

Citing your sources is an important part of the scholarly writing process. Citations include the key elements that allow your sources to be identified and located - author, title, date, etc. The actual format of the citation depends on the resource type as well as the documentation style you are using.

There are several reasons to cite:

  • Give proper credit to the ideas, words, and works of others you use in your research
  • Allow readers to find your sources - so they can determine if they are reliable, better evaluate your argument, and locate additional information
  • Avoid plagiarism

Citation Style for History: Chicago Manual of Style

Historians generally use the Chicago Manual of Style or its derivative, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (commonly known as Turabian, after its author). Though not identical, the two styles are very similar.

Always check with your instructor to find out which citation style they want you to use.

The library provides access to the Chicago Manual of Style Online
for GSU students/faculty/staff.

The Purdue OWL site is also a good resource for citing information for ChicagoAPAMLA, and AMA styles. 

Hard copies of the Chicago Manual of Style are also available at the Research Support Desk on Library North 1.

Building Blocks of a Reference

      The basic components of a reference are:

  • Author
  • Title (for an article, the article title comes first, followed by journal title)
  • Publication information (publisher location/name)
  • Date
  • Page numbers (where applicable)
  • Online access information (where applicable)

Creative Commons licensed image by Flickr user Holger Zscheyge

Style Guides

The specific format of your citations will depend upon the documentation style you are using. Different disciplines use different styles - check with your professor if you are unsure of which one to use.

Commonly used styles include APA, MLA, Chicago, and Turabian. Each of these has an official style guide. These manuals contain detailed examples on citing a wide variety of sources. In addition, they contain information about proper formating such as margin and font size.

For most styles, you cite your sources in two places:

1) Within your paper - Immediately after using a source, include a parenthetical citation, footnote or endnote.

2) At the end of your paper - Assemble a complete list of your sources. This is knows as a "Bibliography," "Reference List" or "Works Cited" section.

Save time

Use software to manage your sources - download citations from library databases; export the bibliography into your paper.


EndNote is a free download for GSU students, faculty and staff.

Zotero was developed by historians to support historical and related research. It is a free Firefox plugin.
Zotero guide