Chicago Manual of Style Author-Date Citations and Reference Lists

This tutorial is a quick guide to Chicago Manual of Style (CMS) author-date citations and bibliographic references, based on the sixteenth edition. References to specific requirements in the printed source are included in this text as (chapter.paragraph).

Note that CMS author-date style, which is commonly used in the sciences and social sciences, is different from CMS notes and bibliography style, which is more-commonly used in the humanities.

General Format

As the name implies, citations are made using the author's last name and the date (year) of publication, with no punctuation between the name and year. Citations can also be made when the author's name is used in the text by following the name with the year in parentheses:

(Lastname Year)

According to Lastname (Year)...

All in-text citations need to have a matching entry in the reference list, which is usually at the end of the document. The general format for CMS author-date bibliographic references is:

Lastname, Firstname. Year. "Title." Publication.

This style is of special note to geographers because it is similar the citation style used by the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, the flagship publication of the premier professional society of geographers in the United States.

Journals Articles (Single Author)

References to articles from peer-reviewed journals follow this general format:

Lastname, Firstname. Year. "Article_title." Journal_name Volume (Issue): Page - Page. URL.

Some journals provide a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) that is intended to be a permanent, unique identifier for a source. DOIs can be converted to URLs by prepending to the DOI (14.18).

URLs (preferably DOI URLs) should be included for journal articles to make it easier for readers to access those articles.

Accessed dates are not needed for journal article URLs since journals have rigorous publication procedures, and subsequent amendments or corrections are published separately.


Much of the attraction of passenger rail may be attributed to a nostalgic longing for an imagined simpler time, with that nostalgia manifesting the alienation and continual threat of creative destruction inherent in capitalism (Minn 2013, 195).

Vogel (2017) identified 55 chemicals released during the fracking process that are associated with increased cancer risk.

Reference List

Minn, Michael. 2013. "The Political Economy of High Speed Rail in the United States." Mobilities 8 (2): 185-200.

Vogel, Lauren. 2017. "Fracking tied to cancer-causing chemicals." Canadian Medical Association Journal 189 (2): E94 - E95.

Journal Articles (Multiple Authors)

Citations of articles with two or three authors include all author last names.

Citations of articles with four or more authors list the first author's name followed by et al., which is the abbreviation for the Latin phrase et alia, meaning and others.

Reference list entries for articles, regardless of the number of authors, always include all author names. The first author is listed last (family) name first, with subsequent authors listed with the given (first) name first. The conjunction and is placed before the final author's name (15.16).


The Getis-Ord GI* statistic (Getis and Ord 1992) identifies areas with high values that are also surrounded by high values. However, unlike simple observation or techniques like kernel density analysis, this algorithm uses statistical comparisons of all areas to create p-values indicating how probable it is that clusters of high values in a specific areas could have occurred by chance.

Campbell, Lobell, and Field (2009) found that transportation provided with electricity produced with biomass considerably outperformed transportation fueled by cellulosic ethenol, with bioelectricity producing "an average of 81% more transportation kilometers and 108% more emissions offsets per unit area of cropland than does cellulosic ethanol."

Jacobson et al. (2012) found that when discussions of decision making errors were incorporated in the history curriculum of high school students, their performance of a subsequent test of rationality also improved - and helped their retention of historical facts as well.

Yang et al. (2000) found increased lung cancer mortality associated with petroleum refineries, but no association with abnormal birth sex ratios.

Reference List

Campbell, J. E., D. B. Lobell, and C. B. Field. 2009. "Greater Transportation Energy and GHG Offsets from Bioelectricity Than Ethanol." Science 324 (5930): 1055-1057.

Getis, Arthur, and J.K. Ord. 1992. "The Analysis of Spatial Associations by Use of Distance Statistics." Geographical Analysis 24 (3): 189-206.

Jacobson, David, Andrew Parker, Chris Spetzler, Wandi Bruine de Bruin, Keith Hollenbeck, David Heckerman, and Baruch Fischhoff. 2012. "Improved Learning in U.S. History and Decision Competence with Decision-Focused Curriculum." Plos One 7 (9): e45775.

Yang, Chun-Yuh, Bi-Hua Cheng, Te-Yao Hsu, Shang-Shyue Tsai, Chung-Feng Hung, and Trong-Neng Wu. 2000. "Female Lung Cancer Mortality and Sex Ratios at Birth near a Petroleum Refinery Plant." Environmental Research 83 (1): 33-40.

Reports and Working Papers

If no author is listed on a report, the name of the organization publishing that report should be used as the author (14.249, 15.36).

Where relevant, the publisher and place of publication should be included as with books.


In 2016, light-duty vehicles accounted for 58.5% of transportation energy use while medium/heavy-duty trucks and buses accounted for 23.9% (Davis and Boundy 2018).

One of the dominant bus companies in the United State is actually a British firm, FirstGroup. In 2019. FirstGroup made a quarter of its £7,126.9m revenue and almost half its £332.9m operating profit from its school bus division, First Student, with another 3% of profits coming from America's only remaining national commercial bus line, Greyhound (FirstGroup plc. 2019, 6).

Reference List

Davis, Stacy C. and Robert G. Boundy. 2019. "Transportation Energy Data Book: Edition 37.1." Oak Ridge, TN: Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Accessed 15 July 2019.

FirstGroup plc. 2019. "Annual Report and Accounts 2019." Accessed 15 July 2019.


Wikipedia is an open, online encyclopedia. Although Wikipedia is not considered an authoritative source, numerous studies have found Wikipedia articles as reliable as more-authoritative sources like Encyclopedia Britannica, although there are notable exceptions, such as the articles for politicians and celebrities.

Because Wikipedia articles are collectively created, there is no stable, single author, so the author should be Wikipedia.

Because Wikipedia articles are constantly subject to revision, an Accessed date is needed.


The Stroke Belt is an informal name given to a nine-state region in the Deep South that has unusually high rates of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases (Wikipedia 2018).

Reference List

Wikipedia. 2018. "Stroke Belt." Accessed 30 September 2018.

Magazines and Newspapers

Reference list entries for magazines and newspapers should include the name of the publication and the date of publication listed on the website.

For publications that do not give by-lines (authors), the name of the publication should be used as the author.


While commercial airliners are getting larger, the airlines are also finding ways to increase revenue by adding more seats and maximizing load factors, reducing the amount of room per passenger (Bradley 2018).

States with higher rates of behavioral risk factors (like smoking) also tend to have higher cancer incidence and death rates, with access to medical care and demographics also being contributors (Cook 2018).

While the trade war with China has clearly hurt their exports, annual growth in 2Q 2019 was still an impressive 6.2%. This indicates that China's massive economy is now driven by domestic demand, and hints that further trade pressures will have limited influence on China's behavior (The Economist 2019).

Reference List

Bradley, Ryan. 2018. "Why bigger planes mean cramped quarters." Popular Science, 22 August.

Cook, Lindsey. 2015. "You're Most Likely to Die From Cancer in 1 of These States." US News and World Report, 15 October.

The Economist. 2019. "China’s Growth is the Slowest in Nearly Three Decades: Get Used To It." 15 July.

Institutional Web Pages

Institutional web pages are associated with a particular public or private organization.

If no author is listed on an institutional web page, the name of the organization publishing that page should be used as the author.

When agencies are commonly referred to with an acronym, that acronym may be used in place of the full name in the citation, with the acronym included in parenthesis in the reference list entry following the full name of the organization.

If the web page does not list the date when the content was last updated, use the current year (14.7).


A stroke can either be an ischemic stroke, where a clot obstructs blood flow in the brain, or a hemorrhagic stroke, where a blood vessel ruptures and can not provide blood flow in the brain (American Stroke Association 2019).

The American Stroke Association (2019) asserts that as many as 80% of second ischemic strokes may be preventable.

The CDC began operation in 1946 as Communicable Disease Center, with a focus on malaria prevention. The CDC is an agency under the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and is headquartered in Atlanta, GA (CDC 2019).

Reference List

American Stroke Association. 2019. "About Stroke." Accessed 15 July 2019.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2019. "Our History - Our Story." Accessed 7 July 2019.

Non-Institutional Web Pages

If the web site does not list an organization, the domain name should be used as the author.

However, information from web pages that has no clear authorship should not be considered authoritative and you may want to find an alternative source.

Because websites often change frequently, an Accessed date is usually given with the URL.


Natural-gas-fired power plants are less-expensive and more thermodynamically efficient compared to other types of fossil-fueled power plants (Afework et al. 2018).

Nations continuing to send troops into wars that have limited chance of success simply to justify previous casualties is an example of the sunk cost fallacy ( 2019).

CMS author-date citation format is of special interest to geographers because it is similar to the citation style used in The Annals of the Association of American Geographers, the flagship publication of the premier professional society of geographers in the United States (Minn 2018).

Reference List

Afework, Bethel, Jordan Hanania, James Jenden, Kailyn Stenhouse, and Jason Donev. 2018. "Energy education: Natural gas power plant." Accessed 26 October 2018. 2019. "Sunk Cost Fallacy." Accessed 14 July 2019.

Minn, Michael. 2018. "Chicago Manual of Style Author-Date Citations and Reference Lists." Accessed 16 December 2018.


Books sources are listed with a city of publication and the name of the publisher.

Reprints of classic works often include the year of original publication in square brackets in the citation and in parenthesis in the reference list entry (15.38).

Citations to specific information or quotations in books should also include the page number(s), separated from the author and year by a comma.


The initial use of GIS in public health was largely driven by US federal government agencies starting in the mid 1970s (Cromley and McLafferty 2012, 35).

Marx ([1867] 1906, 259) notes that while the capitalist has the right to make the working day as long as possible to maximize profit, the worker has the right to withold services to limit the duration of the working day. Since these rights are nominally equal under free exchange, "Between equal rights force decides," and the capitalist will use other means to coerce additional hours from labor.

Shand (1993, 148) notes that although Kant was sociable and enjoyed the company of women, he was the stereotypical "self-contained philosophical speculator" and never married.

Reference List

Cromley, Ellen and Sara McLafferty. 2012. "GIS and Public Health," second edition. New York: Guilford Press.

Marx, Karl. [1867] 1906. "Capital: A Critique of Political Economy." Translated from the third German edition by Samuel Moore and Edward Aveling. Edited by Frederick Engels. Revised and amplified according to the fourth German edition by Ernest Untermann. New York: Charles H. Kerr and Company.

Shand, John. 1993. "Philosophy and Philosophers: An Introduction to Western Philosophy." Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press.

Data Sources

Although CMS author-date citations are intended for citation of textual information, they can also be used to cite data sources.


2010-2014 Overall Cancer Rates by County (CDC 2018)
Nuclear Power Plants in the USA (EIA 2018)

Reference List

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The National Cancer Institute (CDC). 2018. "State Cancer Profiles, Incidence Rate Report for United States by County, 2010-2014." Accessed 15 May 2018.

US Energy Information Administration (EIA). 2018. "U.S. Power Plants." Accessed May 15, 2018.