How to cite a Website in Chicago/Turabian

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Do you need to cite a website or other online material in Chicago or Turabian style? Look no further than this page! In this guide, you’ll find information on how to cite websites (website article), blogs, social media, and more according to Chicago notes-bibliography style (17th ed.).

Guide Overview

Here you’ll find examples for the following types of citations:

General Website Content

With general website content, you are likely to encounter missing information. For example, there may be no author listed. In that case, use the title of the page as the first element in your footnotes and use the name of the site owner or sponsor as the author in the bibliography. This guide on citing a website with no author has templates and examples for creating this type of citation in Chicago style.

Quite often you will not find a date. If this happens, you will use an access date. Some websites will not have a specific title and may be identified with just the owner or sponsor name (CMOS 8.191). For author-date style, if there is only an access date possible, include “n.d.” in place of the year for in-text citation.

Notes and Bibliography Style

Citation structure for footnotes 1. Author First Name Author Last Name, “Title,” Web Page Title, Owner/Sponsor, Publication/Modification/Access Date, URL.
Footnote example 1. “The Society,” The Bibliographical Society of America, accessed March 26, 2020, https://bibsocamer.org/about-us/the-society/.
Citation structure for bibliography Author Last Name, Author First Name/Owner/Sponsor. “Title.” Web Page Title. Publication/Modification/Access Date. URL.
Bibliography example The Bibliographical Society of America. “The Society.” Accessed March 26, 2020. https://bibsocamer.org/about-us/the-society.

Online News or Magazine Articles

Online news or magazine articles are usually cited exactly as articles in print newspapers or magazines, except that the URL is added to the end of the citation. This formatting is slightly different from citations for journal articles in Chicago, though, so be sure to double check which citation style is right for your source.

Notes and Bibliography Style

Citation structure for footnotes 1. Author First Name Author Last Name, “Title of Article,” Title of Newspaper or Magazine, Publication Date, URL.
Footnote example 1. Eliot Brown, “In Silicon Valley, the Big Venture Funds Keep Getting Bigger,” Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2017, https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-silicon-valley-the-big-venture-funds-keep-getting-bigger-1501002000.
Citation structure for bibliography Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Title of Article.” Title of Newspaper or Magazine, Publication Date. URL.
Bibliography example Brown, Elliot. “In Silicon Valley, the Big Venture Funds Keep Getting Bigger.” Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2017. https://www.wsj.com/articles/in-silicon-valley-the-big-venture-funds-keep-getting-bigger-1501002000.

Blog Posts and Comments on Blog Posts

Citing a blog post in Chicago is very similar to citing an online newspaper or magazine article. You italicize the title of the blog and follow the title with “blog” in parentheses. If the blog is part of a larger publication, include the name of that publication after the title of the blog.

Notes and Bibliography Style

Citation structure for footnotes 1. Author First Name Author Last Name, “Title of Blog Post,” Title of Blog (blog), Title of Publication (if applicable), Date Posted, URL.
Footnote example 1. Eric Limer, “Heck Yes! The First Free Wireless Plan is Finally Here,” Gizmodo (blog), October 1, 2013, https://gizmodo.com/heck-yes-the-first-free-wireless-plan-is-finally-here-1429566597.
Citation structure for bibliography Author Last Name, Author First Name. “Title of Blog Post.” Title of Blog (blog), Date Posted, URL.
Bibliography example Limer, Eric. “Heck Yes! The First Free Wireless Plan is Finally Here.” Gizmodo (blog). October 1, 2013. https://gizmodo.com/heck-yes-the-first-free-wireless-plan-is-finally-here-1429566597.

To cite a comment on a blog post, you do this in text. If you cite a comment, you must cite the article on which the comment is posted in the reference list or bibliography. For example, the note for a comment on the above blog post would be formatted as follows:  WayneF1, January 17, 2014, comment on Limer, “Heck Yes! The First Free Wireless Plan is Finally Here.” See CMOS 14.208 or 15.51 for more guidelines on citing comments.

Social Media

Social media is generally only cited in the text, but can have a formal citation. If you don’t have a title, use up to the first 160 characters of the post. If there is no author, use the user name.

Online forums and mailing lists can be cited in the same way as social media. Include the name of the author, the title of the thread or subject of the email, the title of the list or forum, the title of the host site, the date it was posted, and the URL. For further guidance and examples, see CMOS 14.210 and Turabian 17.5.4 and 19.5.4.

Notes and Bibliography Style

Citation structure for footnotes 1. Author First Name Author Last Name (user name), “Title or text of post,” Platform, Date Posted, URL.
Footnote example 1. Bill Gates, “As Melinda and I reflected on our foundation’s work over the last 20 years in our annual letter,” Facebook, February 23, 2020, https://www.facebook.com/BillGates/photosa.10150331291841961/10156880911936961/?type=3&theater.
Citation structure for bibliography Author Last Name, Author First Name (user name). “Title.” Platform, Date Posted. URL.
Bibliography example Gates, Bill. “As Melinda and I reflected on our foundation’s work over the last 20 years in our annual letter.” Facebook, February 23, 2020. https://www.facebook.com/BillGates/photosa.10150331291841961/10156880911936961/?type=3&theater.

Electronic Communication

The CMOS recommends that any type of personal communication be cited in text and notes, and indicates that it is rare to cite these in a bibliography (CMOS 14.214 and 15.53). Examples of personal, electronic communication include:

  • Email
  • Text messages
  • Social media messages
  • Etc.

Citing personal interviews in Chicago would also fall under this umbrella.

Notes and Bibliography Style

Citation structure for footnotes 1. Author First Name Author Last Name, Type of Message, Date of Message.
Footnote example 1. Daisy Lee, Instagram direct message to author, May 9, 2018.

Other Considerations for Citation Elements

Author

If an author is not clear, you can use the site owner or publisher. However, if no author, owner, or publisher can be readily identified, your source may be unreliable and you might want to reconsider using it and finding something more authoritative.

Title

Titles for online material can be tricky, as there may not always be a clear title. If you can’t find a title, you can identify it by the website owner or sponsor. Titles of websites are generally set in roman without quotation marks and capitalized in title case. In a small departure from the 16th edition, the CMOS 17th edition specifies that if the website has a print counterpart (such as the websites for newspapers and other publications), then it should be in italics. If it does not, then it should be treated normally. See the examples below:

The website of the Washington Post = Washington Post 

Wikipedia’s entry on the American Revolution = Wikipedia

Titles of sections of web pages or pages within a larger website should be placed in quotation marks (CMOS 8.191).

Dates

Dates are very important in online material because this type of material changes constantly. You must include a date of publication if you can find one. If there is a revision or modification date in place of the publication date, use that. Revision dates may also be helpful when citing material that is regularly updated like Wikipedia (CMOS 14.13).

While Chicago style does not require the use of an access date in most cases, if you cannot find a publication date or revision date, you should include an access date. If you are writing a scientific or medical research piece, access dates might be required in addition to publication or revision dates, so you might want to check with your instructor (CMOS 14.12).

Links

When recording the URL, if a permalink or shorter link is available, use it instead, otherwise, use the full URL regardless of length and include the “https://” when writing the URL (CMOS 14.9; Turabian 15.4.1.3).

If a URL links to a database that requires a subscription, it is better to name the database (e.g., ProQuest) because not everyone may have access (CMOS 14.9).

Does the Web Page Need to be in the Bibliography?

Chicago style does not always require website material to be cited in a bibliography. Sometimes it is enough to describe the content in the text (like when citing a YouTube video in Chicago or a blog post).

For example, writing “EasyBib’s latest blog post, posted on January 21, 2020, gave excellent tips on how to write a research paper,” would likely give the reader enough information to find and identify the blog post. You can include a formal citation if needed and our examples above will help you out.

Keep in mind, however, that this only applies to general web content, social media, and personal communications like email or Facebook messages. For most other online material, you should always include a formal citation. When in doubt, it is always better to provide a formal citation.

What You Need

Citing web pages usually requires the following information:

  • Author of the material
  • Title of the web page
  • Title or description of the web page
  • Owner or sponsor of the cite if this is different from the title
  • Publication or revision date
  • URL

Because online material can disappear any moment, make sure that you record all the information about the website when you use it. You might even want to consider taking a screenshot if you think you might need more information later.


Bibliography:

The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. https://doi.org/10.7208/cmos17.

Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 9th ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2018.


Written by Janice Hansen. Janice has a doctorate in literature and a master’s degree in library science. She spends a lot of time with rare books and citations.



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