• 3-minute read
  • 3rd July 2020

Frequently Cited Sources in Chicago Footnote Referencing

Chicago footnote referencing has special rules for repeat citations. If you cite a source more than once, for example, you can use a shortened citation format. But what if you cite one source many times? Or have several frequently cited sources?

Let’s take a look at how to handle frequently cited sources in Chicago style.

Citing One Source Repeatedly

If you need to cite one source many times (e.g. if you’re writing a commentary on a particular book or poem), you can give repeat citations in brackets rather than using a footnote every time. You still need to cite the source in full the first time, including the edition you’re using (unless it’s a first edition).

But when you do this, you should add a note saying:

  • Subsequent citations of the source will be ‘text references’.
  • What the text citations will reference (e.g. page or line numbers).

Usually, this note will come after the main citation and say something like ‘Text references are to page numbers of this edition’. For instance:

1. Gary Jones, Repeat Citations, 2nd (London: Proofed Publications, 2020), 45. Text references are to page numbers of this edition.

After this, you can give pinpoint references in brackets in the main text. Here, for instance, we’ve citing page 34 of the source in the footnote above:

He confirms that ‘it’s important to understand repeat citations’ (34).

This works fine if you’re only citing one source repeatedly. But what about if you’re referring to lots of different sources? Read on to find out.

Abbreviating Frequently Cited Sources

If you’re citing a few different sources repeatedly, you need to let the reader know which one you’re referring to each time. And to do this in Chicago referencing, you can use abbreviated source titles.

This works by giving the shortened title at the end of the first footnote citation for each source you plan to cite repeatedly. After that, you can either give the abbreviated version in the main text or in a footnote.

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If you are using in-text citations, make sure to note this in the first footnote:

3. Anthony Palmer, The Joys of Referencing, 3rd edn. (London: Proofed Publications, 2020), 38 (hereafter cited in text as TJR).

Subsequent citations would then require giving the abbreviation and a pinpoint citation in brackets:

Palmer seems genuinely excited by citations (TJR, 42).

For repeat footnote citations, meanwhile, you just need to give the abbreviated title in the first footnote:

4. Bobby Greene, Guidelines for Referencing in Chicago Style (London: Proofed Publications, 2018), 60 (hereafter cited as Chic. Guidelines).

After that, you can use this abbreviated title, plus a pinpoint citation, each time you cite the source. For example:

8. Chic. Guidelines, 65.

If you have ten or more frequently cited sources, moreover, you should add their abbreviated titles to a list of abbreviations at the start of your document (typically titled ‘Abbreviations’). This will help your reader keep track of the various abbreviations used in your writing.

Finally, if you want someone to double check the referencing in a document, or any other aspect of your writing, our team of expert academic proofreaders is always at the ready. Just let us know how we can help!

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