Citing an Online Video in Chicago Footnote Referencing

Citing an Online Video in Chicago Footnote Referencing

Tired of reading but need to research an essay? Well, you can now watch hours of educational content platforms like YouTube. You can even cite a video in your writing. But how does this work? In this post, we look at how to cite an online video using Chicago footnote referencing.

Footnote Citations for an Online Video

The first time you cite an online video with Chicago referencing, you’ll need to give full source information in the footnote. This should include the following:

  • The name of the subject or creator, such as a presenter or director
  • ‘Interviewed by’ plus the name of the interviewer (if it is an interview)
  • The video title in quote marks
  • Video format
  • Video length
  • The uploader’s name (if this is different from the creator)
  • Date of upload
  • URL
  • Date of access (if required by your school)

Try to provide as much of the information above as possible. The key is to make sure your reader can easily find the video you’ve cited (including a timestamp if quoting a video). For example, we would cite a video of a lecture by Moon Duchin as follows:

1. Moon Duchin, ‘Political Geometry: The Mathematics of Redistricting | Moon Duchin || Radcliffe Institute’, YouTube video, 49:40, Harvard University, 16 November, 2018,, 19:32.

Here, we have the name and title of the video, the video platform (YouTube) and length (49:40), the channel where it was uploaded (Harvard University), a date of upload, a URL, and the pinpoint citation (i.e. we’re citing a point 19 minutes and 32 seconds into the video).

This will allow readers to find the exact moment of the exact video that we’re citing for as long as it is still online. And as with all Chicago citations, you can use a shortened format for repeat citations.

Reference List

When compiling your reference list, the information required for an online video is similar to the first footnote. However, there are some differences. The generic format is:

Creator Surname, First Name. ‘Title of Video’. Video format, video length. Uploader (if different from creator). Date of upload. URL.

As you can see, the main differences from the footnote are that we invert the creator’s names and that we don’t need a pinpoint citation. In practice, then, a reference would look like this:

Duchin, Moon. ‘Political Geometry: The Mathematics of Redistricting | Moon Duchin || Radcliffe Institute’. YouTube video, 49:40. Harvard University. 16 November, 2018.

And as with the first citation, make sure to include a date of access if your university requires one.

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