James D. Lester


Chapter Five:
Footnoting Electronic Sources in the Chicago Style

Citing Cyberspace | Back to Chapter Four | On to Chapter Six

Contents of Chapter Five

Using Superscripts

Writing Footnotes


The fine arts and some fields in the humanities (not literature) employ traditional footnotes, which should conform to standards set by the The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., 1993. With this system, you must employ superscript numerals within the text and place a footnote at the bottom of the page (although some instructors allow endnotes; that is, all your notes are gathered on one page at the end of your paper).

Using Supercript Numerals in Your Text

In your text use arabic numerals typed slightly above the line (like this15) to signal a citation that will be found in a footnote or endnote. Place this superscript numeral at the end of quotations or paraphrases, with the numeral following immediately without a space after the final word or mark of punctuation, as in these examples:

Robert B. Dove makes the distinction between a Congressional calendar day and a legislative day, noting, "A legislative day is the period of time following an adjournment of the Senate until another adjournment."1

Commenting on Neolithic sites of the Southern Levant in the online magazine Biblical Archaeologist, E. B. Banning argues the "Natufians set the stage for the development of large villages with an increasing reliance on cereal grains and legumes that could be cultivated."2 Banning's work shows that small villages often existed for a time only to disappear mysteriously, perhaps because of plagues, invaders, or--most likely--a nomadic way of life.3

In an essay in Electronic Antiquity, Richard Diamond explores the issue of blindness in Oedipus Rex:

Thus Sophokles has us ask the question, who is blind? We must answer that Teiresias is physically blind, yet he sees himself and Oidipous' nature. Oidipous is physically sighted, but he is blind to himself, to his own nature.4

Abigail Ochberg has commented on the use of algae in paper that "initially has a green tint to it, but unlike bleached paper which turns yellow with age, this algae paper becomes whiter with age."5

Writing the Footnotes

Place your footnotes at the bottom of pages to correspond with superscript numerals. Some papers require footnotes on almost every page. Follow these conventions:

  1. Use single spacing within each footnote, but use a double space between footnotes.
  2. Indent the first line 5 spaces.
  3. Number the footnotes consecutively throughout the entire paper.
  4. Collect at the bottom of each page all the footnotes to citations made on this page (or gather all notes at the end of your paper).
  5. Distinguish footnotes from the text by (1) using a smaller type size, (2) triple spacing, or (3) placing a 12-space bar line beginning at the left margin.
  6. Cite electronic sources in this general order:
    • author
    • title of article
    • the text in which the article appears, preceded by in
    • paragraph number(s) that you are citing (par. 6)
    • the type of online source, within brackets [database online]
    • publication data within parentheses; that is, the place, publisher, volume, and date, as appropriate, with the date that you cited the source within brackets inside the parentheses, followed by a semicolon
  7. the address, preceded by available from

Online Journal

     1. E. B. Banning, "Herders of Homesteaders? A
Neolithic Farm in Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan," in 
Biblical Archaeologist, par. 6 [online journal] (vol. 
58.1, March 1995 [cited 9 April 1997]); available from 
World Wide Web @

Online Magazine

     2. Jon Guttman, "Constitution: The 
Legendary Survivor," in Military History, 
par. 46 [online magazine] (1997 [cited 28 April 1997]); 
available from World Wide Web @

Online Magazine, No Author listed

     3. "Health-Care Inflation: It's Baaack!"
in Business Week, par. 3 [magazine online] (17 Mar. 1997 
[cited 18 March 1997]); available from World Wide Web @

Government Document

     4. United States Congress, Senate, Superfund
 Cleanup Acceleration Act of 1997 [database online] (105th 
Cong., Senate Bill 8, 21 January 1997 [cited 4 March 1997]); 
available from World Wide Web
query/ 2?C105:S.8:

Gopher Site

     5. Richard Diamond, "Seeing One's Way: The Image
and Action of "Oidipous Tyrannos," in 
Electronic Antiquity, par.4 [magazine online] (vol. 1, 
1993 [cited 6 March 1997]); available from gopher @

     6. Armand D'Agour, review of Classical Women Poets,
by Josephine Balmer, ed. and trans. [electronic bulletin board] 
(Newcastle-upon-Tyne: Bloodaxe Books, 1996 [cited 10 March 1997]); 
available from gopher @

Listserv (Email Discussion Group)

     7. Rosemary Camilleri, "Narrative Bibliography"
[electronic bulletin board](10 March 1997 [cited 11 March 1997]); 
available from listserv @ H-RHETOR


     8. Richard Link, "Territorial Fish," [electronic
newsgroup] (11 Jan. 1997 [cited 14 March 1997]); available from 

Telnet Site

     9. United States Navel Observatory, "The Mercury
Ion Frequency Standard," par. 3 [electronic bulletin board] 
(cited 6 March 1997); available from Telnet @ duke.ldgo.
columbia. edu/port=23 login ads, set terminal to 8/N/1

FTP Site

     10. Argiris A. Kranidiotis, "Human Audio 
Perception Frequently Asked Questions," par. 2 
[electronic bulletin board] (7 June 1994 [cited 11 March 
1997]); available from
comp.speech/info/HumanAudio Perception


     11. Abigail Ochberg, "Algae-based Paper."
[Recycling Discussion Group] (9 Oct. 1996 [cited 18 June 1997]); 
available from HyperNews posting
BWDiscuss/get/ recycleD.html?embed=2

Linkage Data (a file accessed from another file)

     12. "What Happens to Recycled Plastics?"
[Lkd. Better World Discussion Topics at Recycling Discussion 
Group] (1996 [cited 18 June 1997]); available from World Wide 
Web @


     13. "Abolitionist Movement," in 
Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia [CD-ROM] 
(Softkey Multimedia, 1996 [cited 11 March 1996]).

     14. David Wessel, "Fed Lifts Rates Half Point,
Setting Four-Year High," in Wall Street Journal 
[CD-ROM] (Wall Street Journal Ondisc 2 February 1995: 
A2+ [cited 6 February 1996]); available from UMI-ProQuest.

     15. Aureliio J. Figueredo and Laura Ann McCloskey,
"Sex, Money, and Paternity: The Evolutionary Psychology 
of Domestic Violence," in Ethnology and Sociobiology, 
abstract (vol. 14, 1993: 353-79 [cited 12 March 1997]); 
available from PsychLIT SilverPlatter.

Subsequent References to a Source

After a first full reference, shorten future footnotes to the source by giving only the name of the author (or title), followed by a paragraph number (e.g., 3. Smith, par. 9). If an author has two works mentioned, employ a shortened version of the title with the author's name (e.g., 3. Smith, "Cloning," par. 22).

     14. Diamond, par. 6.

     15. Fahey, "Beach House," par. 20.

     16. Fahey, "End Run," par. 3.

The Latin abbreviations op. cit and loc. cit. are no longer used, but The Chicago Manual of Style does permit the use of ibid. to refer to the source cited in the previous note. For the same paragraph, use "ibid." alone, and for a different paragraph use ibid. followed by the paragraph number.

     7. Ibid.

     8. Ibid., para. 6.


In addition to footnotes or endnotes, you may need to supply a separate bibliography that lists all sources in alphabetical order. Use hanging indention for the entries; that is, keyboard the first line of each entry flush left but indent the second line and other succeeding lines 5 spaces. Alphabetize the list by last names of authors. List alphabetically by title two or more works by one author.

The bibliography will give the same basic information as the footnote except for three differences. First, use periods, not commas, to separate elements. Second, do not number the entries. Third, do not provide a reference to a specific paragraph. If available, do list the total number of paragraphs or online pages (with the understanding, of course, that these pages may reproduce differently on various computer printers). The basic examples are shown here.

Banning, E. B. "Herders of Homesteaders? 
       A Neolithic Farm in Wadi Ziqlab, Jordan." In 
       Biblical Archaeologist [online journal]. Vol. 58.1, 
       March 1995 [cited 9 April 1997]. Available from World 
       Wide Web @
       ASOR/BA/Banning.html [9 pages.]

Fahey, Todd Brendan. "Beach House." In 
       Kudzu [online magazine]. Autumn 1995 
       [cited 10 March 1997]. Available from World Wide 
       Web @ http://www.etext. org/Zines/K954/
       Fahey- Beach.html [42 paragraphs.]

"Health-Care Inflation: It's Baaack!" In 
       Business Week [magazine online]. 17 Mar. 1997 
       [cited 18 March 1997]. Available from World Wide Web 
       [8 paragraphs.]

United States Congress. Senate. Superfund Cleanup
       Acceleration Act of 1997 [database online]. 105th 
       Cong., Senate Bill 8, 21 January 1997 [cited 4 March 1997]. 
       Available from World Wide Web @ http.thomas.
       cgi-bin/query/2?C105:S.8:[12 pages]

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