How to cite a YouTube video in Chicago style

Note: This article mainly covers notes and bibliography style. For author-date style, click here.

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, it’s recommended to cite YouTube videos (and other online videos, except for films) only in your notes and omit them from the bibliography.

List a video in your bibliography if it’s crucial to your argument, you cite it often, or your university requires you to.

Including the video length is optional. In a note, a specific timestamp or range may be included to show the relevant location in the video.

Chicago YouTube video citation
Bibliography Author last name, First name. “Video Title.” Additional information. Month Day, Year. Format, Video lengthURL.

Liu, Jessica. “How to Write a Strong Essay Conclusion.” Scribbr. February 8, 2021. Educational video, 3:50. https://youtu.be/2UElC_YZ0Eo.

Full note Author first name Last name, “Video Title,” Additional information, Month Day, Year, Format, Video length or Timestamp(s), URL.

1. Jessica Liu, “How to Write a Strong Essay Conclusion,” Scribbr, February 8, 2021, educational video, 0:28 to 0:55, https://youtu.be/2UElC_YZ0Eo.

Short note Author last name, “Shortened Video Title,” Timestamp(s).

2. Liu, “Essay Conclusion,” 0:56.

If you use author-date style instead, any videos cited must appear in the reference list.

Optional details to include in YouTube citations

Since YouTube videos can cover a wide variety of different content, a lot of different information may be relevant to your citation. In general, use your own judgment to determine what, if any, additional information is relevant to your citation. Some examples are given below.

Music video

In this music video citation, the musician is listed as the main author, the director of the video is listed after the title (relevant if you discuss the video content rather than just the song), and the words “music video” are included for the sake of clarity.

Chicago music video citation
Bibliography Musician last name, First name. “Video Title.” Directed by Director first name Last name. Month Day, Year. Music video, Video lengthURL.

Glover, Donald. “This Is America.” Directed by Hiro Murai. May 6, 2018. Music video, 4:04. https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY.

Full note Musician first name Last name, “Video Title,” directed by Director first name Last name, Month Day, Year, music video, Video length or Timestamp(s), URL.

1. Donald Glover, “This Is America,” directed by Hiro Murai, May 6, 2018, music video, 4:04, https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY.

Short note Author last name, “Shortened Video Title,” Timestamp(s).

2. Glover, “This Is America,” 1:50.

Recorded lecture

When citing a recorded lecture, information about when and where it was recorded, as well as any course or series it was part of, can be relevant. In this case the date of recording, which is shown in the video, replaces the upload date.

Chicago recorded lecture citation
Bibliography Author last name, First name. “Video Title.” Lecture Series, University Name, filmed Month Day, Year. Video of lecture, Video lengthURL.

Shapiro, Ian. “Lecture 1: Introduction to Power and Politics in Today’s World.” DeVane Lectures, Yale University, filmed August 29, 2019. Video of lecture, 56:14. https://youtu.be/BDqvzFY72mg.

Full note Author first name Last name, “Video Title,” Lecture Series, University Name, Month Day, Year, video of lecture, Video length or Timestamp(s), URL.

1. Ian Shapiro, “Lecture 1: Introduction to Power and Politics in Today’s World,” DeVane Lectures, Yale University, filmed August 29, 2019, video of lecture, 56:14, https://youtu.be/BDqvzFY72mg.

Short note Author last name, “Shortened Video Title,” Timestamp(s).

2. Shapiro, “Power and Politics,” 14:40.

Where to find citation information for a YouTube video

YouTube’s interface makes it simple to find the key information needed for a citation: the channel name, video title, publication date, video length, and URL. All of this can be found below the video.

Chicago YouTube citation

Use a specific author name if one can be identified from the video or description; otherwise, list the channel name. The name of the channel is italicized if it is also the name of a blog or print publication, such as the Wall Street Journal. The video title is enclosed in quotation marks.

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Citing YouTube videos in author-date style

In author-date style, in-text citations consist of the author’s last name and the publication year, as well as a timestamp if relevant.

The corresponding reference list entry is identical to a bibliography entry, but with the year added after the channel name. In this style, it’s mandatory to include all the videos you cite in your reference list.

Format Author last name, First name. Year. “Video Title.” Additional information. Month Day, Year. Format, Video lengthURL.
Reference list Liu, Jessica. 2021. “How to Write a Strong Essay Conclusion.” Scribbr. February 8, 2021. Educational video, 3:50. https://youtu.be/2UElC_YZ0Eo.
In-text citation (Liu 2021, 0:56)
Format Author last name, First name. Year. “Video Title.” Directed by Director first name Last name. Month Day, Year. Music video, Video lengthURL.
Reference list Glover, Donald. 2018. “This Is America.” Directed by Hiro Murai. May 6, 2018. Music video, 4:04. https://youtu.be/VYOjWnS4cMY.
In-text citation (Glover 2018)
Format Author last name, First name. Year. “Video Title.” Lecture Series, University Name, filmed Month Day. Video of lecture, Video lengthURL.
Reference list Shapiro, Ian. 2019. “Lecture 1: Introduction to Power and Politics in Today’s World.” DeVane Lectures, Yale University, filmed August 29. Video of lecture, 56:14. https://youtu.be/BDqvzFY72mg.
In-text citation (Shapiro 2019, 14:40)

Frequently asked questions about Chicago style citations

How do I cite a source with no author in Chicago style?

In a Chicago footnote citation, when the author of a source is unknown (as is often the case with websites), start the citation with the title in a full note. In short notes and bibliography entries, list the organization that published it as the author.

Type Example
Full note 1. “An Introduction to Research Methods,” Scribbr, accessed June 11, 2020, https://www.scribbr.com/category/methodology/.
Short note 2. Scribbr, “Research Methods.”
Bibliography Scribbr. “An Introduction to Research Methods.” Accessed June 11, 2020. https://www.scribbr.com/category/methodology/.

In Chicago author-date style, treat the organization as author in your in-text citations and reference list.

Should I use short notes or full notes for my Chicago citations?

In Chicago notes and bibliography style, the usual standard is to use a full note for the first citation of each source, and short notes for any subsequent citations of the same source.

However, your institution’s guidelines may differ from the standard rule. In some fields, you’re required to use a full note every time, whereas in some other fields you can use short notes every time, as long as all sources are listed in your bibliography. If you’re not sure, check with your instructor.

What is the difference between a Chicago reference list and a bibliography?

Both present the exact same information; the only difference is the placement of the year in source citations:

  • In a reference list entry, the publication year appears directly after the author’s name.
  • In a bibliography entry, the year appears near the end of the entry (the exact placement depends on the source type).

There are also other types of bibliography that work as stand-alone texts, such as an annotated bibliography.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

1 comment

Jack Caulfield
Jack Caulfield (Scribbr Team)
May 17, 2021 at 11:03 AM

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