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HIST 4290: Enslavement in the Americas (Fuller/Fall 2018): Citing

Citation styles for history

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.

The Chicago/Turabian style offers two systems:
1) notes and bibliography (humanities style)
2) author-date

Historians prefer the humanities style because it accomodates a wide variety of sources. Documentation is presented by notes (either footnotes or endnotes) and a bibliography.

Find copies of these manuals in the library

Basics of Turabian


  • After using a source, put a superscript number at the end of your sentence:

Marius notes that "history and writing are inseparable."3

  • Cite the source in a correspondingly numbered note at the end of the page (footnote) or at the end of your paper (endnote):

3. Richard Marius. A Short Guide to Writing about History, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 1999), 5.

  • If you use this source again, subsequent notes are shorter:

9. Marius, 105.

  • In your bibliography, list the source alphabetically according to the author's last name:

Marius, Richard. A Short Guide to Writing about History, 3rd ed. New York: Longman, 1999.


Turabian examples

Note format Bibliography format
Book (one author)
Jenny L. Presnell. The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007), 98.
Presnell, Jenny L. The Information-Literate Historian: A Guide to Research for History Students. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.
Article in a print journal Jonathan Dewald, "Crisis, Chronology, and the Shape of European Social History," American Historical Review 113 no. 4 (October 2008): 1037.
Dewald, Jonathan. "Crisis, Chronology, and the Shape of European Social History." American Historical Review 113 no. 4 (October 2008): 1031-1052.
Article online Emily Chao, "Dangerous Work: Women in Traffic," Modern China 28 no. 4 (October 2002): 73, (accessed June 14, 2008).
Chao, Emily. "Dangerous Work: Women in Traffic." Modern China 28 no. 4 (October 2002): 71-107. (accessed June 14, 2008).


Be aware of small differences across similar formats. For example:

  • Book citations vary slightly for edited collections, multiple authors, translations, or new editions.
  • Articles have subtle differences if they are newspapers, weekly magazines, or scholarly journals.


Online Help

Check out the Chicago Manual of Style Online - the Quick Guide is very useful for getting started.

Excellent tutorials are also available from:
University of Wisconsin Writing Center
UC Berkeley Library
UNC Library

Subject Guide

Joseph Hurley's picture
Joseph Hurley
CURVE | Library South | 2nd floor


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 plaigarism


Save time


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

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

Features comparison chart: Zotero, Endote and others

Using another style?

Using APA or MLA?

Get help on our general citation guide.