Traditional Footnoting (History)

The following provides a comprehensive beginner’s guide to the Traditional Footnoting referencing system as required by the discipline of History. General rules for authors, dates and editions apply to all sources of information including print, media and Internet sources. The Traditional Footnoting System requires that the footnote numerals be placed at the end of the sentence, directly after the full stop. The superscripted numerals direct the reader to references at the bottom of the page. At the end of the essay, a bibliography includes all texts cited in the essay and all sources that have influenced your thinking on the essay.

This page briefly describes:

When to footnote

When writing an essay, a report, or any other kind of academic work you must provide a reference when you:

  • Quote directly from another work;
  • Paraphrase or summarise points made in another work; and
  • Use material of any kind (e.g. a theory, an idea, a statistic or other data, an argument, an interpretation, a diagram, a table) from another work.
You must use references not only to give appropriate credit to the work of others but also to provide information to the marker where your arguments and evidence are coming from.

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How to footnote (Do not use endnotes.)

When you need to footnote, you should insert a superscripted numeral (use the Word tool: > INSERT > FOOTNOTE) at the end of the sentence after the full stop. Word then automatically places that footnote number at the foot of the page and continues to number consecutively throughout the essay. A footnote begins with a capital letter and ends with a full stop.

Align the footnote text vertically on the left-hand side as shown in the example below. This then separates the footnote number from the text, making the footnotes more readable:

  1. Christina Twomey and Catharine Coleborne, ‘Australia: Present and past histories’, Australian Historical Studies, vol. 45, iss. 3, 2014, p. 295, doi:10.1080/1031461X.2014.950404, accessed 14 November 2014.
  2. Angus R. McGillivery, ‘Reading a sealed agricultural past: Hand tools and implements of husbandry, mixed farming and a colonial yeomanry in the antipodes’, Journal of Australian Colonial History, vol. 16, 2014, p. 28, http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=449101689871002;res=IELAPA, accessed 14 November 2014.
  3. Anon., ‘Theatre Royal’, Hobart Town Mercury, 9 February 1857, p. 2, c. 6.

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More than one work may be cited in a single footnote

You may show that the same information is supported in more than one source of information, so you put more than one author in a single footnote. The order of citation is alphabetical according to authors’ surnames.

Semicolons are used to separate each of the references. However, it is conventional to place the primary source first when primary and secondary sources are cited in a single footnote, regardless of alphabetical order:

1.      Belcher, ‘The child’, p. 207; Cohn, Millennium, p. 25; Vaughan, Philip, p. 17. (secondary sources).
2.      Sellar, Bede’s History, Book 1, chap. iv; Oakley, ‘Pierre d’Ailly’, p. 357. (primary+secondary sources).

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Shortened form

It is not necessary to repeat all the bibliographical details if these have already been provided in previous footnotes.

This information is replaced by a shortened (5 words or less) form of the title:

  1. Steven Runciman, A History of the Crusades, 3 vols, Cambridge, 1951–54, i, p. 23. (full footnote)
  2. Runciman, Crusades, i, p. 39 (repeated shortened form)

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Ibid.

If one footnote immediately following another refers to the same work, the whole reference may be abbreviated to Ibid.

Do not use other Latin terms e.g. op. cit., loc. cit. or passimIbid. is short for ibidem, Latin for ‘in the same place’.

Ibid. is italicised (as is in Latin), begins with a capital letter, and is followed by a full stop if referring to the same page (e.g. 20) or by a comma and the page number if referring to a different page (e.g.19):

  1. Sander M. Goldberg, ‘Plautus on the Palatine’, The Journal of Roman Studies, vol. 88, 1998, p. 12.
  2. Ibid., p. 7.
  3. Ibid.

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The bibliography

A bibliography is a list of all works used to write the essay. The bibliography of history essays is divided into Primary and Secondary sources. Each section is arranged alphabetically, so the surname will come first.


True or False: The Traditional Footnoting System requires that the footnote numerals be placed at the end of the sentence, directly after the full stop?
True!

 

At the end of the essay, my bibliography will include all texts cited in the essay and all sources that have influenced my thinking on the essay.
Correct!

 

True or False: When I need to footnote, I insert a superscripted numeral at the end of the sentence after the full stop?
True!

 

Semicolons are used to separate each of the references. However, it is conventional to place the primary source first when primary and secondary sources are cited in a single footnote, regardless of alphabetical order.
Correct!

 

Ibid. is short for ibidem, Latin for ‘in the same place’. When I use it, it must be italicised (as is all Latin), begin with a capital letter and followed by full stop.
Correct!

 

 
Primary Sources Secondary Sources Bibliography

 

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