Chicago is a documentation style that has been published by the University of Chicago Press since 1906. This citation style incorporates rules of grammar and punctuation common in American English. Typically, Chicago style presents two basic documentation systems: (1) notes and bibliography and (2) author-date. Choosing between the two often depends on subject matter and the nature of sources cited, as each system is favored by different groups of scholars.
The notes and bibliography style is preferred by many in the humanities, including those in literature, history, and the arts. This style presents bibliographic information in notes and, often, a bibliography.
The author-date style has long been used by those in the physical, natural, and social sciences. In this system, sources are briefly cited in the text, usually in parentheses, by author’s last name and date of publication. The short citations are amplified in a list of references, where full bibliographic information is provided.
Not sure how your final paper should look? Check out The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University for a sample Notes and Bibliography paper or a sample Author-Date paper. Purdue OWL is a free service providing extensive information about The Chicago Manual of Style as well as other writing resources and instructional material.
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