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Citing encyclopedias & dictionaries: Chicago/Turabian (17th ed.) citation guide

This guide is based on The Chicago Manual of Style (17th ed.) and provides only selected citation examples for commonly used sources, and of notes/bibliography style only. For more detailed information, directly consult a print copy or online version of the style manual available at the SFU Library and at the SFU Bookstore.

Chicago style is sometimes referred to as Turabian style, which is a modified version of Chicago style, and which is outlined in Kate L. Turabian's A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 7thed. [print].

For the best printing results, use the printer-friendly PDF format of this guide.

Encyclopedia or dictionary entry (14. 232 - 14.234)

Print version


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

     2. As'ad Abukhalil, "Maronites," in Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa, ed. Philip Mattar, 2nd ed., vol. 3 (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004), 1491-92.


Abukhalil, As'ad. "Maronites." In Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Edited by Philip Mattar. 2nd ed. Vol. 3. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004.

Online version


     1. Encyclopedia Britannica Online, s.v. "Ovid," accessed May 2, 2006,


Grove Music Online, s.v. "Sibelius, Jean," by James Hepkoksi, accessed January 3, 2005,, s.v. "Anorexia nervosa," accessed March 3, 2005,


  • 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 (14.232).
  • The abbreviation "s.v." (sub verbo, Latin for "under the word") is used to identify the article's title that is not signed (14.232).
  • It may be appropriate to include the author of an entry if the entry is signed (12.232).
  • If you cite an online encyclopedia or dictionary, always include an access date in addition to the short form of the URL. This is because online versions of encyclopedias are subject to continuous updates (12.233).
  • 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 (14.175).