HPS Authorized Form for Footnotes and Bibliography
The proper use of footnotes is easy once you understand the reasoning behind them. They are also an essential part of scholarly writing. As a writing device, footnotes are useful because they allow important information to be communicated without overburdening the text. More specifically, they allow you to reflect both credit and blame where they are due by showing the source of facts and ideas, thereby permitting the reader to utilize cited sources. In addition, footnotes act as a helpful context for presenting information and indicating sources from which it came, thus allowing the reader to judge the possible bias of such sources. Finally, footnotes allow you to discuss interesting sidelights of the material without breaking the flow of your writing.
You will do well to make sure that you understand specifically what form your professor wants you to use and what he or she wants to be noted. This document is official Department policy on form and should clear up possible confusion. VU history and political science faculty strongly prefer you to use footnotes rather than endnotes. The department uses the Chicago Manual (often called Turabian) and the examples given below are based on Kate Turabian’s A Manual For Writers, 6th. edition.
What to Footnote
While most style manuals or term paper handbooks deal with footnote form, few touch upon the more difficult and confusing question of what kind of source should be footnoted and when. It is tempting to “overdocument” a paper, to hang notes on it as though on a Christmas tree. This approach can be hazardous, for besides wasting time, it overburdens the reader with needless trips to the bottom of the page, it increases the likelihood of technical errors, and it distracts from the substance of the paper. Unnecessary footnotes, far from being a safeguard, can become a real problem.
Equally hazardous is the practice of “under-documentation,” giving rise to the danger of distorting the material. Important points may be omitted to avoid documentation, or the source of information and ideas may be left to the reader’s imagination, implying that the work of others is somehow your own. The following paragraphs should give you a firmer guideline to follow.
Direct quotations are almost always noted. The exceptions are quotations from such items of the public domain as the Bible and the United States Constitution. Students should avoid direct quotations unless they serve a clear purpose. Too many quotations make for a fuzzy writing style. Unless a quotation brings something special to the paper –a particularly felicitous phrasing or memorable line, for example–paraphrasing your source is probably preferable.
Facts should be noted unless they are common knowledge. That Richard Nixon resigned as President over the Watergate scandal is common knowledge; the debates in the House Judiciary Committee about impeaching Nixon are not. Obscure facts should be noted as a matter of course.
Explanatory or discursive notes should be kept to a minimum. You may assume that your reader will want to explore the origin and implications of points central to your main thesis or idea, but you should try, if at all possible, to include these points in the body of your text. If you are using footnotes, this type of note can be numbered and included as the bottom of the page like any other. If you are using endnotes, however, you should use an asterisk (*) and place an explanatory note at the bottom of the page.
General Rules for Footnote and Bibliography Form
The purpose of footnotes and bibliographies is that it allows a reader to locate the sources cited in your work.
Footnotes should be indented like paragraphs. Remember to single space within notes and one-and-a-half or double space between.
Bibliography form is a reverse paragraph. The works should be arranged alphabetically by the last names of the authors (or titles if no author is known). The first line of each source should be flush with the left margin, with subsequent lines indented five spaces. Single space within citations and double space between them.
General Rules for Footnotes
Books should include:
- Author’s full name (as it appears on the title page of the book)
- Complete title
- Editor, compiler, or translator (if any)
- Name of series, volume or series number (if any)
- Number of volumes (if more than one)
- City, publisher, and date of publication
- Volume number and page number
Articles should include:
- Title of article
- Date of periodical
- Page numbers of article
Unpublished material should include:
- Title (if any)
- Type of material
- Where it may be found
- Page number (if any)
General Rules for a Bibliography
Footnote style can be changed into bibliographic style by transposing the author’s first and last names, removing parentheses from facts of publication, omitting page references, and repunctuating with periods instead of commas.
Books should include:
- Name of author(s), editors, or responsible institutions
- Full title, including subtitles if one exists
- Series (if any)
- Volume number
- Edition (if not the original)
- Publisher’s location and name
- Date of publication
Articles should include:
- Name of author
- Title of article
- Name of periodical
- Date of issue
Examples Of Footnote and Bibliography Forms
Book with One Author
1 Stephen E. Ambrose, Eisenhower: The President (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984), 397.
Ambrose, Stephen E. Eisenhower: The President. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984.
Book with Two or Three Authors
2 Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, All the President’s Men (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974), 123.
Bernstein, Carl and Bob Woodward. All the President’s Men. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1974.
Book with More than Three Authors
3 Richard E. Beringer, et al., Why the South Lost the Civil War (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986), p. 518.
Beringer, Richard E., Herman Hattaway, Archer Jones, and William N. Still, Jr. Why the South Lost the Civil War. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1986.
Edition of Book Other than First
4 Mary P. Ryan, Womanhood in America: From Colonial Times to the Present, 3rd ed. (New York: Franklin Watts, 1983), p. 269.
Ryan, Mary P. Womanhood in America: From Colonial Times to the Present. 3rd ed. New York: Franklin Watts, 1983.
Book in a Series
5 Edmund S. Morgan, The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop, Library of American Biography (Boston: Little, Brown, 1958), p. 101.
Morgan, Edmund S. The Puritan Dilemma: The Story of John Winthrop. Library of American Biography. Boston: Little, Brown, 1958.
Book by an Editor
6 Lewis W. Spitz, ed., The Reformation: Basic Interpretations (Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath), 1962.
Spitz, Lewis W., ed. The Reformation: Basic Interpretations. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath), 1962.
Book with a Translator
7 Friedrich Meinecke, The German Catastrophe, Trans. Sidney Fay (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1950), 58.
Meinecke, Friedrich. The German Catastrophe. Translated by Sidney Fay. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1950.
8 Carl Sandburg, Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, 4 vols. (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1939), I:113.
Sandburg, Carl. Abraham Lincoln: The War Years. Vol. I. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1939.
Citation in One Book from Another Book
9 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and His Times, 193, as quoted in Herbert S. Parmet, JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy (New York: Dial Press, 1983), 20-21.
Parmet, Herbert S. JFK: The Presidency of John F. Kennedy. New York: Dial Press, 1983.
Book Review in a Periodical
10 Peter Carroll, Review of The New Country: A Social History of the Frontier, 1776-1890, by Richard A. Bartlett, The New Republic (21 December 1974), 18-19.
Carroll, Peter. Review of The New Country: A Social History of the Frontier, 1776-1890, by Richard A. Bartlett. The New Republic, 21 December 1974, 18-19.
Book in a Series, One Author, Several Volumes, Each with a Different Title
11 Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., The Age of Roosevelt, 3 vols., The Politics of Upheaval (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960) III:56.
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. The Age of Roosevelt. Vol III. The Politics of Upheaval. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1960.
Book with an Association as Author
12 Union of Concerned Scientists, The Fallacy of Star Wars (New York: Vintage Books, 1984), 57.
Union of Concerned Scientists. The Fallacy of Star Wars. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.
Introduction or Foreword to a Book by Another Author
13 Donald M. Goldstein, Introduction to At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon W. Prange (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981), xi.
Prange, Gordon W. At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1981.
Article, Chapter or Other Part of a Book
14 Alan Nevins, “The Glorious and Terrible,” in Shaping the American Character, edited by John R. M. Wilson (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1980), 129.
Wilson, John R. M., ed. Shaping the American Character. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1980.
Book’s Author Anonymous
15 The Holy Quran (Washington, DC: Islamic Center, 1960), 59.
The Holy Quran. Washington, DC: Islamic Center, 1960.
Periodical Article with Author Given
16 Bradford Lee, “The New Deal Reconsidered,” The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 1982, 62.
Lee, Bradford. “The New Deal Reconsidered.” The Wilson Quarterly, Spring 1986, 62-76.
Periodical Article, No Author Given
17 “Crown Prince: More Than an Heir,” Time, 28 June 1982, 23.
“Crown Prince: More Than an Heir.” Time, 28 June 1982, 23.
Encyclopedia or Almanac Articles, Signed
18 Milton V. Anastos, “Byzantine Empire,” in Encyclopedia Americana, 1966 ed.
Anastos, Milton V. “Byzantine Empire.” in Encyclopedia Americana, 1966 ed.
Encyclopedia or Almanac Articles, Unsigned
19 “Presidential Elections, 1789-1980,” Information Please Almanac 1985, 599-602.
“Presidential Elections, 1789-1980.” Information Please Almanac 1985.
Material from Manuscript Collections
20 Diary of Lewis Tappan, 23 February 1836 to 29 August 1838, Tappan Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
Washington, DC. Library of Congress. Tappan Papers. Diary of Lewis Tappan, 23 February 1836 to 29 August 1938.
Radio and Television Programs
21 Hilary Brown, “Iranian Crisis,” NBC Nightly News, 5 December 1979.
Brown, Hilary. “Iranian Crisis.” NBC Nightly News, 5 December 1979.
Interview – Published
22 Robert Smith, “An Interview with Robert Smith,” interview by Paul Hewson, Time, (December 2005): 42
Smith, Robert. “An Interview with Robert Smith.” Interview by Paul Hewson. Time (December 9, 2005): 40-63.
Interview By Author of Paper
23 Interview with Senator Mark Hatfield, U.S. Senator from Oregon, Washington, DC, 30 January 1980.
Hatfield, Mark. U.S. Senator from Oregon. Washington, DC, Interview, 30 January 1980.
Letters – Email
24 Mark Hatfield to John R. M. Wilson, 5 October 1990, in possession of John R. M. Wilson.
Hatfield, Mark, to John R. M. Wilson. 5 October 1990. Letter in possession of John R. M Wilson.
The nature of public documents varies greatly, making it difficult to provide a standardized form. The key is to provide enough information so the reader can find the reference. In general, you should place information in the following order: Government body. Subsidiary body. Title. Identifying numbers.
25 U.S., Congress, House, Clean Air Act, H.R. 5252, 97th Cong., 2nd sess., 1982, 103.
U.S. Congress. House. Clean Air Act. H.R. 5252, 97th Cong., 2nd sess., 1982.
Electronic Online Sources
Periodical Article from a Database (such as JSTOR)
26 Matthew M. Oyos, “Theodore Roosevelt and the Implements of War,” The Journal of Military History, Oct. 1996, 631.
Oyos, Matthew M. “Theodore Roosevlet and the Implements of War.” The Journal of Military History, Oct. 1996, 631-655.
Web Item: Entire Work
26 Joseph C. Miller, “History and Africa/Africa and History” (January 8, 1999) http://www.ecu.edu/african/sersas/jmahapa.htm (acessed November 23, 2003.)
Miller, Joseph C. “History and Africa/Africa and History” January 8, 1999. http://www.ecu.edu/african/sersas/jmahapa.htm (acessed November 23, 2003.)
Web Item: CD-ROM
27 “Norway,” in World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency [CD-ROM], 1994. Available: U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Business Analysis, National Trade Data Bank: NTDB, Washington, May 1995.
“Norway.” In World Factbook. U.S. Central Intelligence Agency [CD-ROM], 1994. Available: U.S. Department of Commerce. Office of Business Analysis. National Trade Data Bank: NTDB. Washington, May 1995.
Second or Later References to Sources
Frequently, students make more than one reference to a particular source. The general rules on such occasions are as follows:
- For references to the same work with no intervening notes, simply use the Latin abbreviation Ibid., meaning “in the same place.”
- For second references with no intervening notes, but with a different page of the same work, write Ibid. and the page number. Example: Ibid., 87.
- For second and subsequent references with intervening notes, state the author’s last name (but not the first name or initials unless another author of the same last name is cited), a shortened title of the work, and the page number.
29 David S. Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews:America and the Holocaust, 1941-1945 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1984), 201.
Immediately after first citation if citation is found on the same page of the source:
Immediately after first citation if citation is found on a different page of the source:
Second and subsequent citations (the second time you cite a work you do not have to use the full citation:
37 Wyman, Abandonment of the Jews, 244.
30 Eduard Mark, “Charles E. Bohlen and the Acceptable Limits of Soviet Hegemony in Eastern Europe: A Memorandum of 18 October 1945,” Diplomatic History (Spring 1979), 203-204.
Second and subsequent citations:
42 Mark, “Charles E. Bohlen,” 209.
This document last updated February 25, 2010.