Documentation, part 2:
The University of Chicago Style

The University of Chicago style is one of the two standard ones used for art history. The notes and bibliography form of the Chicago style is particularly well-suited to the scholarship of art history because the numbered footnotes allow for full citations and also plenty of room for additional notes that in your judgment don't belong in the main text of your paper. It works best for your reader to put the footnotes at the bottom of each page rather than at the end of your paper. And Microsoft Word manages footnotes beautifully, re-numbering all them automatically if you add or remove a footnote. Different editions of Microsoft Word have different methods of inserting footnotes, so if you're not sure how to insert a footnote use the "Help" function in Microsoft Word.

Remember that footnotes and bibliographies have different formats, and there are appropriate formats for different types of publications. For example, citations for a book and a journal article have different formats.

Listed below are some guides to the Chicago Manual of Style. Remember that in art history we use the notes and bibliography format rather than the less informative method of putting the author's name and the date in parentheses in the text:

Barnet's A Short Guide to Writing About Art includes a good overview of the basics of the University of Chicago style. In the 11th edition the page numbers are 335-344. Instructions for citing electronic materials are on pages 289-92.

The Chicago Manual of Style Online gives an overview that is brief and helpful for quick reference--so long as you keep in mind that in art history we use the notes and bibliography style rather than author's name and the date in parentheses in the text.

The Citation Machine allows you to fill out an online form, and then generates a citation in the Chicago Style:

Citation Machine NEW VERSION: bibliographic entry only
Citation Machine OLD VERSION: footnote & bibliography


When using resources in digital form, when possible consult the facsimile of the hard copy so that your page references will be correct. There are a number of electronic databases that feature the same publications, and a traditional citation is more informative than (for example) a Jstor URL. Imagine a reader who wants to snowball from your work, but has no access to the database you used, or may be trying to find the source in hard copy. It follows that there's no reason to use the word "Print" at the end of a citation of a source that you happened to consult in hard copy.

For a work that was developed as a digital source, or in the absence of page numbers as they appear in the print version, use the citation format for an electronic source. Instructions for citing electronic sources are on pages 289-93 of the 11th edition of Barnet's A Short Guide to Writing About Art You can also use this online guide published by Purdue University.


To cite images: The Library at Dickenson College, Carlisle PA has a good online guide


An extensive and detailed guide that you probably won't use right away is: Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations--which is constantly going into new editions. So don't go out and buy this until you really need it.

© Jan Mainzer