How to Cite a Video on YouTube in Chicago/Turabian

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Citing a YouTube video in Chicago/Turabian is much like citing other multimedia. In this guide, you’ll find more on how to create a Chicago YouTube citation in notes and bibliography and author-date styles, all according to the latest standards.

What You Need

A citation for a YouTube video generally includes information on the following:

  • Author/creator name
  • Video title
  • Publication or creation date
  • Publishing/creating entity (if applicable)
  • Information about the medium
  • Video duration
  • Video URL

This information is usually easy to find on a YouTube video. You can get a condensed link for a YouTube video to make your citation look nicer by clicking on “share” and then copying the shortened link that appears on the screen.

Citing the Video In the Text

With YouTube videos, it is often sufficient to just cite in-text. You’ll only need to include a full citation in your bibliography or reference list if you cite it frequently or if it is integral to your argument. 

For notes and bibliography, this can mean simply a footnote or information woven into the text. For author-date, this can simply be woven into the text. 

For this type of citation, you need to include at least the name and date of the video, as well as the author or creator. Here’s an example of weaving information into your text:

In his TED talk titled “An Ode to Living on Earth,” uploaded to YouTube on April 22, 2020, artist Oliver Jeffers offers a poetic exploration of what it means to be human.

 

Creating a Full Citation

For a brief citation, the reader can easily use the in-text citation to find this video on YouTube and no further reference is needed. However, if you are writing an entire essay about this video, you will need a more formal, full citation. 

You want to make sure you include as much information as possible about the video itself and then where to find it (URL). The citation structure is flexible based on what information you can find. 

You should include the following information:

  • Name of the video author/creator
  • Video title
  • Organization or entity responsible (usually for publishing the video) 
  • Date uploaded
  • Medium (example: YouTube video)
  • Video duration
  • URL

Notes: 

Oliver Jeffers, “An Ode to Living on Earth,” TED, April 22, 2020, YouTube video, 10:47, https://youtu.be/zpn6MCmoK0g.

Bibliography: 

Jeffers, Oliver. “An Ode to Living on Earth.” TED, April 22, 2020. YouTube video, 10:47. https://youtu.be/zpn6MCmoK0g.

References: 

Jeffers, Oliver. 2020. “An Ode to Living on Earth.” TED, April 22, 2020. YouTube video, 10:47. https://youtu.be/zpn6MCmoK0g.

In-text:

(Jeffers 2020)

Unknown Creator

For YouTube videos without a specific person who is the creator, you can just use the channel name for the author. The channel name is often the organization or entity responsible for the creation of the video. Here’s an example:

Notes: 

Chatham Rabbits, “Good Things (Outweigh the Bad),” June 20, 2018, YouTube video, 4:21, https://youtu.be/Ja2_rC1EXyY.

Bibliography: 

Chatham Rabbits. “Good Things (Outweigh the Bad).” June 20, 2018. YouTube video, 4:21. https://youtu.be/Ja2_rC1EXyY.

References: 

Chatham Rabbits. 2018. “Good Things (Outweigh the Bad).” June 20, 2018. YouTube video, 4:21. https://youtu.be/Ja2_rC1EXyY.

In-text:

(Chatham Rabbits 2018)

If all you have is a username, use that in the place of the author, making sure to transcribe the username just as it appears on YouTube:

Notes: 

HelloMaphie, “Making Slime Underwater Challenge,” August 18, 2018, YouTube video, 10:07, https://youtu.be/Gwo3q_U9nmA.

Bibliography: 

HelloMaphie. “Making Slime Underwater Challenge.” August 18, 2018. YouTube video, 10:07. https://youtu.be/Gwo3q_U9nmA.

References: 

HelloMaphie. 2018. “Making Slime Underwater Challenge.” August 18, 2018. YouTube video, 10:07. https://youtu.be/Gwo3q_U9nmA.

In-text:

(HelloMaphie 2018)

Including Additional Video Information

Citations for online multimedia are a little more fluid than materials like books and journal articles. You should follow the general structure outlined above and include information that is important for your research. Let’s review a few examples.

Focusing on One Contributor

If the director or producer of a video is important, include this information after the title, just like you would include information about the editor or translator after the title of a book. 

Highlighting the Creation or Upload Date

It might be important to include the dates of the video’s creation and the date it was uploaded. If so, you can alter the citation to include this, using phrases such as “created” or “posted” before the dates to clarify. 

Event Information

If the event the video is depicting is important, include that information after the title and before the date. Do your best to adapt a known structure in Chicago style and make it work for the information you feel is important to your research. See CMOS 14.267 and Turabian 17.10.3.3 and 19.10.3.3 for more examples and information about adapting citations for multimedia.

Timestamps

If you are citing a video multiple times, you might think about including timestamps where you would typically cite the page number(s) referenced. For example, for author-date, you would use (Jeffers 2020, at 2:06-2:40) or for a shortened note, Jeffers, “Ode,” at 2:06-2:40.

 

Citing Other Online Videos 

You can cite any type of online video by following the same principles as a YouTube video. Provide as much information as you can and use information that is relevant for your use of the video in your research. Here’s one example using a New York Times video:

Notes: 

Larry Buchanan et al., “Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them,” New York Times, July 12, 2019, video, 10:50, https://www.nytimes.com/video/arts/100000005865824/bob-ross-paintings-mystery.html.

Bibliography: 

Buchanan, Larry, Aaron Byrd, Alicia DeSantis, and Emily Rhyne. “Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.” New York Times, July 12, 2019. Video, 10:50. https://www.nytimes.com/video/arts/100000005865824/bob-ross-paintings-mystery.html.

References: 

Buchanan, Larry, Aaron Byrd, Alicia DeSantis, and Emily Rhyne. 2019. “Where Are All the Bob Ross Paintings? We Found Them.” New York Times, July 12, 2019. Video, 10:50. https://www.nytimes.com/video/arts/100000005865824/bob-ross-paintings-mystery.html.

In-text:

(Buchanan et al. 2019)

 


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.


Published May 7, 2012. Updated May 15, 2020.

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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