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How to reference a Website using the Chicago Manual of Style
The most basic entry for a website consists of the author name(s), page title, website title, web address, and date accessed.
Last Name, First Name. “Page Title.” Website Title. Web Address (retrieved Date Accessed).
Smith, John. “Obama inaugurated as President.” CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/01/21/obama_inaugurated/index.html (accessed February 1, 2009).
The first author’s name should be reversed, with a comma being placed after the last name and a period after the first name (or any middle name). Titles and affiliations associated with the author should be omitted. A suffix, such as a roman numeral or Jr./Sr., should appear after the author’s given name, preceded by a comma.
For a page with two or more authors, list them in the order as they appear on the website. Only the first author’s name should be reversed, while the others are written in normal order. Separate author names by a comma.
Smith, John, and Jane Doe. “Obama inaugurated as President.” CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/01/21/obama_inaugurated/index.html (accessed February 1, 2009).
If no author is available, begin the citation with the website owner.
Cable News Network. “Obama inaugurated as President.” CNN.com. http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/01/21/obama_inaugurated/index.html (accessed February 1, 2009).
The full page title, which is followed by a period, should be placed within quotation marks. Place the period within the quotation marks. Then include the website title, followed by a period. If the website title is not available, include the website owner in its place.
Smith, John. “Obama inaugurated as President.” Cable News Network. http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS/01/21/obama_inaugurated/index.html (accessed February 1, 2009).
Include the web address of the page. Next, place the text “accessed” and the date on which you accessed the website (written in the format of “month day, year”) in parentheses. Conclude the citation with a period after the parentheses.
For informal websites (such as home page or fan websites) or websites without formal titles, use descriptive phrases in your citation in place of page or website titles.
If the website has a print counterpart, such as the website for a newspaper, place the website title in italics.
Smith, John. “Catalonia Declares Independence from Spain.” New York Times. http://www.newyorktimes.com/POLITICS/11/21/catalonia_spain.html (accessed February 1, 2017).
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Chicago-style source citations come in two varieties: (1) notes and bibliography and (2) author-date. If you already know which system to use, follow one of the links above to see sample citations for a variety of common sources. If you are unsure about which system to use, read on.
Notes and Bibliography or Author-Date?
The notes and bibliography system is preferred by many working in the humanities—including literature, history, and the arts. In this system, sources are cited in numbered footnotes or endnotes. Each note corresponds to a raised (superscript) number in the text. Sources are also usually listed in a separate bibliography. The notes and bibliography system can accommodate a wide variety of sources, including unusual ones that don’t fit neatly into the author-date system.
The author-date system is more common in the sciences and social sciences. In this system, sources are briefly cited in the text, usually in parentheses, by author’s last name and year of publication. Each in-text citation matches up with an entry in a reference list, where full bibliographic information is provided.
Aside from the use of numbered notes versus parenthetical references in the text, the two systems share a similar style. Follow the links at the top of this page to see examples of some of the more common source types cited in both systems.
Most authors choose the system used by others in their field or required by their publisher. Students who are unsure of which system to use will find more information here.
For a more comprehensive look at Chicago’s two systems of source citation and many more examples, see chapters 14 and 15 of The Chicago Manual of Style.