Professor Rees

Questions and Answers on Footnotes and Bibliography

1. What are footnotes?

Numbers indicating text at the bottom of your page that reveal the source of the information in the body of your paper.

2. Why footnote?

Footnotes allow interested parties to check your research. If there isn't enough info for somebody to get the book, it's not a footnote.

3.. What is a bibliography?

A list of books at the end of your paper created for the same reason. They will appear in alphabetical order by author's last name.

4. Where do footnote numbers go?

After the period in the sentence where you put forward a piece of your research or at the end of the period that ends the paragraph separated by semi-colons if there is a lot of information in one paragraph.

5. What form should these things take?

There are many different kinds of footnote formats, MLA, APA, etc. Historians tend to use the Chicago Style, also known as Turabian.

These are the formats for the most typical kind of sources (Just plug in info for your books):

Footnote, Single-Author Book:

Author's First and Last Name, Title of Book, (Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication), Page Number.

Footnote (Second Reference):

Author' Last Name, Page Number.

If you are using more than one source from the same author, the second reference should include the title of the book to distinguish it from the other book by the same author.

Bibliography, Single-author book:

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. Title of Book. Place of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication.

Some books, particularly primary sources, may not have an author in the strictest sense, like the Constitution of the United States. In that case, simply begin with the title and use that for your alphabetical list in your bibliography.

If the source goes on to a second line, the second line and all subsequent lines in that bibliographic entry should be indented five spaces.

Footnote, Internet Source:

Author's First and Last Name, “Title of Document,” Name of Web Site, Complete WWW Address, Date Downloaded.

Bibliography, Internet Source:

Author's Last Name, Author's First Name. “Title of Document.” Name of Web Site, Complete WWW Address, Date Downloaded.

If the source goes on to a second line, the second line and all subsequent lines in that bibliographic entry should be indente five spacesd.

Formats for the citation of all other kinds of sources can be found at:

For Footnotes: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/DocChiNotes_1stRef.html

For Bibliography: http://writing.wisc.edu/Handbook/DocChiWorksCited.html

6. What information do you footnote?

The most common kinds of information that need to be footnoted are direct quotations from your sources or statistics. However, you should also footnote all information that is not generally known about the topic in question. For example, if you were writing a paper about the Ludlow Massacre you would not have to footnote that it occurred in 1914 or the number of women and children who were asphyxiated there, but you would have to footnote your source for who shot first as that information is very controversial.

You also must footnote paraphrases and summaries or any borrowed material that might appear to be your own if there were no citation.

Footnotes can also be used to make comments outside the body of the text. For your purposes, anything worth saying probably belongs in the body of the text.

7. What if I want to quote something that an author quotes?

This is fine. Footnote the material as you would the book in question, but make reference to the original source at the beginning. For example, if you find a quote from Abraham Lincoln you like in a biography, cite it as Lincoln, quoted in David Donald, Abraham Lincoln, etc. If there is a whole document in the source, then it would be "Lincoln, excerpted in...," rather than quoted in.

8. How do I make footnotes?

Most word processing programs have functions that will allow you to insert footnotes at any point in your text. In Microsoft Word they will keep track of them in a special window and automatically insert them at the bottom of your text.

Make sure the numbers that precede each footnote are in good old-fashioned Arabic numbers. Your first footnote should be numbered one, then continue upward until you reach the end of the paper.

9. What is the difference between footnotes and endnotes?

Footnotes appear at the bottom of your page. Endnotes appear at the end of the whole text. The formats for both are identical. You are welcome to use either, but you must use one or the other.

10. Why are footnotes required?

Because if they weren't there, you could be making stuff up for all I know.

Jonathan Rees
Professor of History
Colorado State University - Pueblo
2200 Bonforte Boulevard
Pueblo, CO 81001
(719) 549-2541

E-Mail: Jonathan [dot] Rees [at] colostate-pueblo [dot] edu

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