CMOS: Notes and Bibliography versus Author-Date

Chicago Style of Citation is most commonly used in humanities, history, art, and literature. This style of citation uses in text citation or notes and bibliography. The notes in Chicago style of citation are footnotes and endnotes. You have to write a footnote or endnote each time you use any source in your text whether you use paraphrase, summary or a quotation.

There are two varieties of Chicago style citation: the notes and bibliography style and the author-date style citation. They have few differences that are explained below other than that both systems are similar.

Notes and bibliography system

In the notes and bibliography style the notes provide some citation about the source and full citation is present in the bibliography. This style is more commonly used in literature, history, and arts. There are footnotes at the bottom of each page for the sources used on that page. There are also endnotes at the end of the chapter. Each note has a superscript number assigned in the text so the reader can find its citation easily.

Why notes?

The proper use of notes help in avoiding plagiarism in Chicago style of citation. The notes are a good way to make the use of source more credible and verifiable. The Chicago style does not use in-text citation but a corresponding superscript number is placed in the text that corresponds to the footnote or endnote. The superscript number is placed at the end of the sentence where the source has been used.

The bibliography is used along with the notes at the end of the research paper, bibliography is not necessary but preferable. When complete bibliographic information is provided in the notes the bibliography does not remain necessary. In CMOS notes alone can fulfill the purpose of complete citation.

Guidelines for notes

  1. In the presence of a bibliography the notes should be shortened to give only the most important information and more detailed citation is in the bibliography. However providing the bibliography is preferred and in the presence of a complete bibliography the notes become short.
  2. If the same source is mentioned more than once in the notes the first time the note will have detailed citation if there is no bibliography. When the same source is mentioned again in the notes it will be a shortened one that includes author’s surname, short form of title, and page number.
  3. If you cite the same source two or more times consecutively you can cite the full source in the first note, if bibliography is not there, the next note should contain the author surname, short title, and page number. If you cite the same source two or more times consecutively and bibliography is also there the firs time write author name, title, and page number in the notes. The next time you cite the same source write just the author surname and page number.
  4. Citing the same note again with same page number you can write the term “ibid” which means in the same place. If page number is different rest of the source is same you can write ibid. and page number in the note.
  5. When you cite the same note in a new chapter it is preferable to cite detailed note but short form of note is also acceptable.

Author-date system

The author-date system is more widely used in the social sciences and sciences. In author-date system a short citation is provided in the text in parentheses. Usually it includes author’s last name and the year of publication. A complete bibliography is present at the end of the manuscript.


  • “Chicago Manual of Style 17th Edition”. Purdue Online Writing Lab. Purdsue Univ. Retrieved on Jan 7, 2019. <>
  • “Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide”. The Chicago Manual of Style Online. Retrieved on Jan 8, 2019. <>



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