Skip to Main Content

Chicago Citation Guide: Chicago Best Practices

Curry Library's guide for the Chicago Manual of Style citation style.

Chicago Best Practices

1). Always write for the convenience of your audience

In most cases, WJC students will be using Chicago citations in a class assignment. While this guide may provide general guidance on citation best practices and examples for Chicago, always consult with your course syllabus and instructor on what their preferences are for citations in course assignments.

2). Be consistent

No matter which style you use, apply the style consistently to your paper. This will add to the convenience of your reader (i.e. your instructor) in reading and grading your assignment.

3). Have a process in place

It is highly recommended that you save/organize your sources' citations throughout your research process rather than saving that work for the end. This will ensure you don't lose any sources that might be useful, and you aren't rushing to finish your citations properly at the last minute. 

A digital object identifier (DOI) is a more permanent link attached to a published source by a publisher (ex. a journal article or an online web site). Typically, DOIs are more stable and reliable to link to than a web page's uniform resource locator (URL) found commonly in the address bar of your browser. URLs may change, but DOIs rarely do.

For this reason, when citing an online work in a database or website use a DOI when made available by the publisher. If a DOI is not present, including the title of the database AND a permalink or stable link made available by a publisher or library database is the next best thing.

When citing a DOI, an article's number will often be presented link this:

ex. 10.12738/estp.2016.1.2837

If not present, add the following string to precede the resource's DOI:

Thus, a cited DOI should look link this:

For more information, see pgs 746 and 748 in the 17th edition.

Whenever using a citation generation tool found online or in a library resource, remember to double check the elements and style of the citation. These include:

  • The edition of the citation style
  • The punctuation (commas, periods, quotation marks, etc.)
  • The stylization (italics, URLs/DOIs)
  • Spacing between elements

Also double check on the edition of the citation style being used by each generation tool. This guide utilizes the current edition of MLA (9th), but many library databases still generate citations using the 8th edition. Differences between the two styles may be minimal, but if your instructor is requiring the most recent edition of MLA be aware you may need to convert any auto-generated citations.

Historically, The Chicago Manual of Style was a more fitting resource for supporting the professional publication of academic works while Kate Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations (i.e. Turabian) was a more truncated version of Chicago that summarized the citation style guidance essential for academic researchers, such as students. Because of this there were often differences between the two styles.

As of the 9th edition of Turabian (2018), both it and the 17th edition of Chicago (2017) now effectively cite sources in the same way with only a few minor differences. Because of this, Curry Library Services has opted to only support a citation guide for the 17th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.

If your instructor specifically requires Turabian as a citation style for your research, please consult with the Library's physical copy of the Turabian manual below.

Works with multiple authors (or editors) in Chicago are treated differently depending on what format you are using. Information on both formats listed below:


For works containing 4-10 authors (or editors), include all names in the bibliography entry and only the first author's name followed by et al. in the note.

For works containing more than 10 authors (or editors), list only the first seven in the bibliography, followed by et al. In the note list only the first author's name, followed by et al.

For more information, see pgs. 786-787 in the seventeenth edition.


For works containing 4-10 authors (or editors), include all names in the reference list.

For works containing more than 10 authors (or editors), list only the first seven in the reference, followed by et al.

For in-text citations of works containing more than three authors, only list the name of the first author followed by et al.

For more information, see pg. 906 in the seventeenth edition.

Formatting Quick Tip

When formatting a works cited or bibliography, using the keyboard shortcut CTRL (Windows) or Command (macOS/iPadOS) + T on highlighted text in a word processor (such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs) will convert the highlighted text to a hanging indent.