When you cite audio-visual sources using the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), there are a number of common elements:
- The name of the content creator (composer, conductor, performer, etc.)
- The title of the work (in quotation marks or italics)
- Information about contributors, recording and performance details, etc.
- The publisher and date of publication
- The format (e.g., DVD)
- Additional information.
The Chicago Manual of Style allows for a lot of freedom in how you order these elements. In fact, the examples in the official guide demonstrate a surprising amount of variation in how entries are put together. So don’t overthink your citations: try to be as detailed as possible, but know that there is no one way to cite each type of source.
The essential elements for citing videos include the director, title, format, and publication information. Beyond that you can include other details as you see fit. In first example we’ve added the original release date. In the second example we’ve included the title of a specific scene:
1. Ender Pot, The History of Fizzbin (2006; Montreal: Shatner Productions, 2008), DVD.
2. “An Unexpected Find,” Searching for Unicorns in Southern Mongolia, directed by Elmer Watkins, narrated by Cindy Crewneck (Toronto: Imaginary Castles Society, 1990), Videocassette (VHS).
Pot, Ender, dir. The History of Fizzbin. 2006; Montreal: Shatner Productions, 2008. DVD.
Watkins, Elmer, dir. Searching for Unicorns in Southern Mongolia. Narrated by Cindy Crewneck. Toronto: Imaginary Castles Society, 1990. Videocassette (VHS).
If the format is Blu-ray, write “Blu-ray Disc” (both words capitalized). You can include additional contributors (e.g., writers and actors) as well as any other relevant information.
Here’s how you might cite an episode from a TV series:
1. The Arsonist, season 2, episode 5, “The Slow Burn,” directed by Mateo Inflagrante, written by Emerson Jones, featuring Emma Stove, Thomas Tallis, and Peter C. Microphone, aired September 3, 2018, on XYZ. https://www.netflix.com/the-arsonist.
Inflagrante, Mateo, dir. The Arsonist. Season 2, episode 5. “The Slow Burn.” Written by Emerson Jones, featuring Emma Stove, Thomas Tallis, and Peter C. Microphone. Aired September 3, 2018, on ABC. https://www.netflix.com/the-arsonist.
If the TV series cannot be watched online, you can leave out the URL or provide a link to a page where the TV series can be purchased.
See our separate entry under online sources.
Because recordings of music vary widely, the following examples are meant as suggestions only. You should feel free to add, remove, or combine elements in order to provide a detailed citation.
In particular, you will often have to choose which author or contributor you want to cite first (e.g., composer, performer, conductor). The other contributors can then be listed after the title. Make sure you add a description of each role as appropriate.
The date is flexible too. You can cite the copyright date, the publication date, and/or the date of the recording.
Finally, for LPs and CDs, see if you can find the catalogue or acquisition number, and list it right after the publisher.
Here are a couple of examples of how you might cite an entire LP or record:
1. Johan Hippelhammock, violinist, Austrian Folk Dances, with the Waltzburg Orchestra, conducted by Simone Prattle, recorded January 19, 2011, Strudel Records SR 743, 2013, 2 compact discs.
2. Johann Sebastian Bach, Two Violin Concertos for the Three Fingered Violinist, performed by Axel Yoyo, with the Sweetness and Light Orchestra, conducted by William Nimble, Capital CDP 18766, 1967, 33 ⅓ rpm.
Hippelhammock, Johan, violinist. Austrian Folk Dances. Waltzburg Orchestra, Simone Prattle. Recorded January 19, 2011. Strudel Records SR 743, 2013, 2 compact discs.
Bach, Johann Sebastian. Two Violin Concertos for the Three Fingered Violinist. Performed by Axel Yoyo. Sweetness and Light Orchestra, William Nimble. Capital CDP 18766, 1967, 33 ⅓ rpm.
Note that in the second example “33 ⅓ rpm” refers to the playing speed of the LP. Adding the LP designation would be necessary only if the recording consists of multiple LPs (e.g., 33 ⅓ rpm, 3 LPs).
You can also cite a single track. In such cases, your final bibliography may simply list the entire CD or LP (as in the final example)
1. Fred Whitesock, performer, “Sandal Tap Dance No. 5,” track 3 on Fabric or Friction, Over the Top Records OTT 387, 2018, compact disc.
2. Bob Jammer, vocalist, “Leaving You,” by Gregory Samsanov and Hilda Smith, recorded February 2004, track 5 on The Divorce Proceedings, Cumbria Records, 2004, compact disc.
Whitesock, Fred, performer. “Sandal Tap Dance No. 5.” Track 3 on Fabric or Friction. Over the Top Records OTT 387, 2018, compact disc.
Bob Jammer, The Divorce Proceedings. Recorded February 2004. Cumbria Records CR 763, 2004, compact disc.
Electronic Music File
Much of our music these days is found online. To cite an electronic music file that you’ve streamed or downloaded, make sure you specify the file format (e.g., MP3 audio) or streaming platform (e.g., Spotify):
1. Katy Sweet, “Bubblegum Girl,” MP3 audio, track 9 on Summer Drives, Cutie Patootie Media, 2017.
Sweet, Katy. “Bubblegum Girl.” Track 9 on Summer Drives. Cutie Patootie Media, 2017, MP3 audio.
As you can see, the order of the information is flexible. In some cases, you may also want to add a URL at the end.
Here’s how you might cite a professional presentation at a conference:
1. Madge Nelson, “Gru’s Parenting Strategies” (Presentation, Third Annual Minion Lore Conference, University of Paperwork, Smalltown, CA, February 22, 2017).
Nelson, Madge. “Gru’s Parenting Strategies.” Paper presented at the Third Annual Minion Lore Conference, University of Villainy, Felony City, CA, February 22, 2017.
For other types of presentations, change the description as appropriate (e.g., poster presented at …).
Performances are normally cited only in the notes, and not in the bibliography. Add as much information as you think relevant:
1. The Lost Umbrella, dir. Roger Sneak, written by Michel Petit, Grand Théâtre, Cherbourg, France, July 5, 2015.
Other Audio-visual Files
Any other audio-visual files should be cited following the same patterns illustrated above. Provide additional description as appropriate.
In this final example we’ve cited an audio book:
1. Ian Thorpe, Classic Tennis Sounds: The Sharapova Years, read by Esther Ball and Rafael Swipe (Amsterdam: Courtside Audio, 2015), audio book, 24 hr., 59 min.
Thorpe, Ian. Classic Tennis Sounds: The Sharapova Years. Read by Esther Ball and Rafael Swipe. Amsterdam: Courtside Audio, 2015. Audio book, 24 hr., 59 min.
For more information about citing audio-visual sources, please check out sections 14.261-14.266 of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).