Chicago Style Encyclopedia Citing Rules and Basics

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Why Encyclopedia Referencing in Chicago Must Not Be Feared

Citing encyclopedias in Chicago may sound like an awful thing to do for most university students. In truth, the rules here are not too hard once you see the examples. The footnote/endnote referencing for your encyclopedia sources will differ from the usual book citing. You do not need to panic though. We shall review the rules that must be kept in mind. Your final outcome will always depend on what kind of information you have available, so it helps you follow the right sequence and understand what must come next. Once you understand it, there is no fear! 

The Main Encyclopedia Citing Rules in Chicago

As you learn how to cite an encyclopedia Chicago style, it is best to learn the list of rules, so you can apply them regardless of what data you have discovered: 

  • Every part of your references must be separated by using a comma. 
  • Including an author(s), if available, is not necessary. It is even not recommended if we look at the Chicago Manual’s 17th edition
  • The title of your entry must be put in italics. 
  • Remember to put “s.v.” after the title of the actual entry in quotation marks. 
  • Including publication information with edition is not obligatory. If it seems necessary to you, just follow the usual book citing formatting. 
  • The publication date, however, is crucial and must be included, especially if referencing a digital source. If this information is not available, include your last access date. 
  • It is recommended to include the URL (or the DOI) that helps to source your entry

The Basic Chicago Encyclopedia Template for Footnotes & Bibliography

Here is our helpful template on how to cite an encyclopedia Chicago style:

Footnote/endnote reference: 

Name of the Encyclopedia source in Italics, s.v. “Entry.” 
Great Oxford Encyclopedia, s.v. “Electrical Magnets.” 


It changes a little bit and becomes: 

“Electrical Magnets.” In Great Oxford Encyclopedia. 27 vols. London: Oxford University Press, 2007. 

The key is to remember that your footnote will always be separated by commas, no matter what kind of information you include. Now the Bibliography page has full stops as done in our example above. If you have to write about the edition, it goes after your title and before the volume part. 

The Types of Encyclopedias for Chicago Citation

Online Encyclopedia (or Dictionary)

Title of your encyclopedia, s.v. “Entry,” accessed Month Day, Year, URL / DOI 


The Oxford Companion to Music, s.v. “Andricu, Mihail,” accessed September 22, 2020,


“Andricu, Mihail.” In The Oxford Companion to Music. Oxford, U.K: Oxford University Press, 2001. Accessed September 22, 2020.


Jack P. Friedman, “Financial Pocket,” The Dictionary of Business and Economics Terms, 5th ed. (Barrons Educational Series, 2012). 

Bibliography entry for Chicago style encyclopedia that is in print with an author or if edited by someone: 

Friedman, P. Jack. “Financial Pocket.” In The Dictionary of Business and Economics Terms. 5th ed. Barrons Educational Series, 2012.

Why Use Our Online Free Generator Citation Machine in Chicago

Referencing all these endless sources in Chicago for footnotes or your Bibliography page can easily become confusing. When you do citing manually, it is prone to mistakes and a lot of your precious time is lost! It is why our automatic citation machine helps out so much since it is free and does all the work for you! Here are five reasons why our Chicago style citation encyclopedia approach works:

  • You do not spend hours picking information and typing. 
  • You eliminate low grades and plagiarism risks because of incorrect referencing. 
  • You can select various source types in Chicago. 
  • You can enter a URL and DOI to let it do everything automatically. 

You do not make spelling mistakes when typing a publisher or an author.


Can you use your Chicago generator for normal books?

Yes! You can use books, journals, magazines, encyclopedias, PDFs, newspapers, or any source that you have. It is fast, safe, and free.

Is it necessary to specify pages in a book?

As a rule, just put your keyword or a term in the usual quotation marks as it is a dictionary or an existing listing that is already available. 

How can I cite an encyclopedia Chicago style for something like Wikipedia or Britannica Online?


Wikipedia, s.v. “Nomad,” last modified September 21, 2020,


“Nomad.” Wikipedia. Last modified September 21, 2020.

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