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Chicago Style Guide: 17th Edition

Reference Books (Sec. 14.232-234)


Reference books are encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, or guide books. 

Well-known encyclopedias and dictionaries are usually cited only in notes, with the edition specified but not all the publication facts. It is not necessary to list them in bibliographies. Other subject-specific and lesser-known encyclopedias and dictionaries should include publication details in both notes and bibliographic entries (Sec. 14.232).

For certain reference works, especially those that have substantial, authored entries, cite the individual entries used by author, much like contributions to a multiauthor book (see Chapter in an Edited Book and Multivolume Works). These citations may be included in a bibliography. (Sec. 14.234)

Cite these items as you would any book, including "article," edition, and volume information.

The abbreviation "s.v." (sub verbo, Latin for "under the word") is used to identify the article's title that is not signed (Sec. 14.232).

It may be appropriate to include the author of an entry if the entry is signed (Sec. 14.234).

If you cite an online encyclopedia or dictionary that does not include a posted publication or revision date for the entry, include an access date. Also provide either the recommended form for the URL (preferred) or the short form of the URL. (Sec. 14.233).

If the article you are citing was found in a database, provide the database name (e.g., Gale Virtual Reference Library) and any identification number in parentheses after the publication details (14.271). 


Full Note: 

1. Book Title: Subtitle, Edition, s.v. "Title of Entry."

1. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., s.v. "Salvation."

Subsequent Note: 

2. Book Title: Subtitle, Edition, s.v. "Title of Entry."

2. Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., s.v. "Salvation."

      Often omitted for well-known reference sources (e.g., Encyclopedia Britannica)