Parts of a Citation


This page is not thrilling reading, and you should view it primarily as a reference guide. If you’re using the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.), and you have a question about how to cite a particular part of a source (title, author, publisher, etc.), then consult the relevant section below.


Inverting Names

In the final bibliography, the author’s name is inverted:

1. Bernard Standstone, Networking at Starbucks

Sandstone, Bernard. Networking at Starbucks

For multiple authors, invert only the first author’s name (and insert “and” before the last):

Homer, Donald, Guy Hicks, and Kim Stanley Philby.

Also, try list the authors in the order they appear on the title page (even though this isn’t the alphabetical order).

Et al.

For any work that has four or more authors (or editors), use the abbreviation et al. after the first name in your footnote

1. Bob Hermite et al., Growing Hasselberries

By contrast, in your bibliography et al. should be used only for works with more than ten authors. In such cases you can cite the first six or seven and then add the abbreviation.

When coauthors share the same last name (and may even be family), do still cite each name in full:

1. Jason Trilby and Emma Trilby…


If authors use only initials, don’t write out their full names:

E. B. White,
F. Scott Fitzgerald
P. G. Wodehouse


In some cases, you may want to indicate that the author’s name is a pseudonym:

1. Gadfly [pseud.], “Parliament Wrong To Raise Taxes.”

There are, however, plenty of famous authors who have used pseudonyms. Lewis Carroll, for example, was the pen name of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson. For such well known names you do not need to add pseud. or provide the author’s real name.

First names

Some authors are primarily known by their first names. In such cases you don’t have to invert the name in the bibliography:

Dante Alighieri.


Basic Format

Titles of longer works (e.g., books) are italicized whereas shorter works (e.g., articles) are placed in italics:

Teutonic Nights: A Romance (novel)
“How to Turn a Sneeze into a Dab” (blog post)

Note also that the capitalization is headline-style, which means that important words are capitalized, but words like articles (a, the) and prepositions (in, over, etc.) are not. There are two exceptions, however. Do capitalize any word after a colon (at the start of a subtitle) and use sentence-style capitalization for foreign language titles (e.g., Tous les cornichons du monde).


Subtitles are usually introduced by a colon (even if there is no colon in the original). Make sure you capitalize the next word:

A Brewery on the Steppes: An Introduction to the Mongolian Craft Beer Industry

If the main title ends with a question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!), don’t add the colon. The exception is if the question mark of exclamation mark is in quotation marks (the third example):

Stone the Crows! The Popular Representation of Corvidae
Why Always Me? How To Get Children Stop Whining and Love Their Chores
“Haere Ra Dear House!”: New Zealand’s Leaky Home Crisis, 1994-2004

Note also how in the first example the Latin species name is in roman font (see below) and how in the last example the dates are separated by a comma.

If a title has two subtitles, place a semi-colon between them.

Quotations within Titles

If your title is in quotation marks, and it makes mention of another title, use single quotation marks within double quotation marks:

“‘At Small Parties There Isn’t Any Privacy’: How To Host Your Own Great Gatsby Themed Party”

Terms within Titles

When we draw attention to words or terms, we normally use italics:

I can never remember how to spell the words desert and dessert.

This rule also applies for titles. However, if the title itself is already in italics, use roman font for the specific words:

From Schmuck to Kibitzer: My Life as a Yiddish Literary Critic (book)

“Why the Word Stationary Continues to Move Me” (article)

By using roman font in the first example we can distinguish the emphasized words from the rest of the title.

Long Titles

If a title is very long (as is common with older works), you can shorten it by using spaced ellipses enclosed in square brackets:

A Brief Inquiry into the Differences Between the Sexes, Expatiating on the Myth of Tiresias, and Answering the Question whether Men or Women Receive More Enjoyment from [. . .].

You can place the ellipses either in the middle or at the end.

Translated Titles

If you provide a translation of a foreign language title, place it in square brackets:

Een korte geschiedenis van Middelburg [A Short History of Middelburg]

If you provide a translation and omit the original title, let the reader know the language of the source.

A Short History of Middelburg [Dutch]

Publication information

When it comes to citing books, it’s customary to provide the city of publication, the publisher, and the date of publication:

1. Egil Viking, The Oxbridge Guide to Pillaging Monasteries (Reykjavik: All Things Press, 2005).

Viking, Egil. The Oxbridge Guide to Pillaging Monasteries. Reykjavik: All Things Press, 2005.

Let’s review each of these elements in some more detail.


When you look at the copyright page of a book, it can be difficult to know which city to cite. In general, if the publisher has offices in multiple cities, cite just the first one given.

Sleepy Hollow Road 9, Vancouver, Z8Z 9Z9, Canada
Rue de Sommeil 5, Paris, SD 300, France
Träumerei Building, Jena, 983 NDL, Germany

In addition, if the city of publication is obscure or easily confused, then you can add the state, province, or country name (usually abbreviated):

Puddletown, UK: Antediluvian Publications
Yeehaw Junction, FL: Seesaw Press
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Note, however, that if you cite Cambridge University Press, you don’t have to specify that Cambridge is in England. Similarly, if the state is clear from the publisher’s name (e.g., University of California Press), you don’t have to add an abbreviation after the city.

If you don’t know the place of publication, write n.p. or make an educated guess and add a question mark (e.g., Chicago?).

Finally, use English names for foreign cities (e.g., Brussels, not Bruxelles or Brussel), but leave publisher’s names untranslated.



For the publisher’s name, you can omit common abbreviations (e.g., Ltd., Inc., Co.):

Polyp, not Polyp Co.
Towns Brothers, not Towns Brothers Inc.
Myopic Press, not Myopic Press, Ltd.

For university presses you can abbreviate the word university (e.g., Weissnichtwo Univ. Press)


If the publisher’s name contains an and or &, you can you either form in your citations:

Proudfoot and Humble
Haddock & Codpiece
Takit and Leavitt.


Often the copyright page will list multiple publishers. In such cases one parent company may be publishing under multiple names (called imprints). Usually it is sufficient to cite just the imprint.

For example, let’s say the title page and copyright page list both “Macmillan” (the parent company), and “Picador” (the imprint), in that case you would cite just Picador.

If you do want to spell out the relationship between the imprint and the parent company, you can do that:

On Point Press, an imprint of UBC Press

Books prior to 1900

For books published before 1900, you can omit the publisher’s name.


For books you need provide only the year of publication. For other works (e.g., articles), you may also want to provide the exact date, month, or season.

Wright, Ian, and Lukas Obviüs, The Art of Mansplaining. Calgary: Red Neck Press, 2018. (book)

Saddleback, Robert. “Ponying Up: The Rising Costs of Miniature Horses.” Grand Spoons Tribune, August 5, 2017. (newspaper)

Often a copyright page will contain multiple dates. Try find the most recent date, but ignore any references to copyright renewal or to specific impressions.

If a source has gone through multiple editions, you will want to cite the latest one:

Blandish, Kate. Mortified or Petrified? The Psychology of Shame and Fear. 2nd ed. Edited by Jude Wooden. Athens: Lightning Press, 2008.

No Date

If a printed text lacks a date, use the abbreviation n.d. On the other hand, when a text has been accepted for publication but has not yet been published, you can write forthcoming in place of the date.

More Information

For more information about the parts of an entry discussed here, please see sections 14.72-14.84 (authors), 14.85-14.99 (titles), and 14.127-14.146 (publication information) of the Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.).



Author Image

Most Works Cited entries begin with the name of the author or creator. Alphabetize your entries by last name and provide any first names after the comma:

Chuckle, Hillary. “Ventriloquizing the Belly Laugh: An Ethnographic Perspective.” ROFL, vol. 5, no. 1, Dec., 2005, pp. 1-14.

Don’t forget to add a period after the author’s name. Now let’s review all the tricky cases.



Some authors go by their initials:

Dastardly, B. Mugging Muggles for Profit and for Fun. Hogwarts UP, 1788.

Names Not Inverted

In rare cases you do not need to invert the name. Examples include various famous poets and rulers:

Dante Alighieri.

Elizabeth I

This is more common for premodern authors.

Also, in some languages author names are already written in reverse order (with the last name first). In that case, copy the name as you found it:

Kim Min-Jun.

In this example, Kim is the family name.


Even if you suspect that a name is a pseudonym, cite it in the regular order:

Warm, Luke. “How to Build Your Own Hot Tub.” Youtube, uploaded by CheapSkate299, 5 Feb. 2019,

If you like, you can provide the real name in square brackets:

Havank [Hans van der Kallen].

Alternatively, you can provide the real name first and the pseudonym in brackets. This is especially useful for online handles:

Whiner, Uriah [@uwhiner].

You can even provide only the real name by itself in square brackets:

[Hans van der Kallen].

Finally, you might like to group all the works by the same author together, even if published under different names.

Multiple Names

If an author has published under separate names (e.g., due to a name change), you can add the label published as:

Smith, Sarah. Snugglebugs and Hugglebugs. Sentimental Press, 1999.

—. [published as Sarah Jones]. Cuddles and Puddles. Sentimental Press, 1998.

If the author has requested that their previous name not be used, then you can omit the note.

Two Authors

For two authors, keep the same order as they are listed in the source. Invert only the first:

Smith, John, and Bob Jones. Living with Mediocrity: The Challenges of Being Average. Quixotica Press, 2016.

More than Two Authors

For three or more authors, provide the name of the first and add the Latin abbreviation et al. (and others):

Collins, William, et al. “Wanton Willoughby and Wily Wickham: Austen’s Worst Womanizers.” A Moral Tract in Honor of Lady Catherine De Bourgh, edited by Lady De Bourgh, Dowager Press, 1820, pp. 19-153 .

Corporate Author

If a work has been created by an organization, you can list it as the author.

National Artillery Foundation. “Turning your Howitzer into a Lawn Ornament.” The Veteran Gardener, Spring, 2001, pp. 7-8.

If the organization is also the publisher, then don’t list it as the author:

The Best Bumper Stickers Based on the Bard’s Lines. National Shakespearean Automobile Association, 2013.


Single Contributor

The main creator of a work does not have to be an author. It can also be an editor, translator, or performer, to mention the most likely possibilities. In such cases, provide the name and add the descriptive label afterwards.

Yawn, Esther, editor. The Causes of Boredom: A Collection of Essays. Etcetera Press, 2017.

Normally, contributors are listed after the title, but when there is no main author then they may be moved to the front of the entry.

Two Contributors

The same rules apply as with two authors. Just add the descriptive label at the end:

Bag, Phil, and Rosemary Trundlewood, editors. Epic Tales of Lost Luggage. Random Publishing House, 2005.

Lee, Amy, and Yao Chow, translators. The Sayings of Confucius: The Fortune Cookie Edition. By Confucius, Analectual Press, 2001.

Note that in the second example the translators have been listed first and the author has been placed after the title. This can be useful when you are drawing special attention to the role of the contributors.

More than Two Contributors

For three or more contributors, provide the name of the first and add the Latin abbreviation et al. (and others):

Gadfly, Norman, et al., editors. The Phenomenology of the Unibrow: A Festschrift for Hans Glinka. Pluckwidge Press, 2007.

Other Creators

As mentioned, the creator of a work does not strictly have to be an author. Here are a few other possibilities:


Add the label of your choice after the creator’s name:

Amblin, Bruce, director. Saws. Nightmare Studios, 1975.

If your focus is on the work itself, then add the name of the creator or contributor afterwards:

Saws. Directed by Bruce Amblin, Nightmare Studios, 1975.

No Author

If a work has no author (and you do not want to emphasize the role of another contributor), just skip the author container:

Voulez Vous “Couchsurf” Avec Moi? Translated by Jean Valjean, Backpacker Promotions, 2012.

For more information about citing authors, see chapter 5 of the MLA Handbook (9th ed.).