Content Notes



Content notes can be a useful way to provide additional information about a related topic without interrupting the flow of your paper.  Content notes take a variety of forms:

  1. Content notes provide additional information on persons, places, or ideas mentioned in the text.
  2. Content notes provide definitions of unusual or foreign terms.
  3. Content notes provide additional information on scholarly (historiographic) debates.
  4. Content notes provide additional bibliography on related topics.



Example 1: Explanatory sentence following reference material.

        1Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Elizabeth Wykoff, The Complete Greek Tragedies: Sophocles, ed. David Greene and Richard Lattimore (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954).  The authorship of these lines has long been disputed, and difference of opinion remains although modern critics tend to accept them, as did Aristotle.


Example 2: Information to help interested readers.
Semicolons traditionally separate items in a list of sources.

        2For differing explanations of the causes of Mill’s breakdown, see William Albert Levi, “The ‘Mental Crisis’ of John Stuart Mill,” Psychoanalytic Review 23 (1945): 86-101; John Durham, “The Influence of John Stuart Mill’s Mental Crisis on His Thoughts,” American Image 20 (1963): 369-84.


Example 3: An optional reference is followed by an explanatory sentence with an additional optional reference.  Both provide full bibliographic information.

        3See Zechariah Chafeee, Jr., Three Human Rights in the Constitution of 1787 (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1956), 90-116, for a history of bills of attainder in England.  Chafee also edited a documentary history of bills of attainder in Documents of Fundamental Human Rights (Cambridge, MA: Smith, 1952), 643-809.


Example 4: The writer found Noyes’s quotation in Smith’s book; Smith provides the information about Noyes’s book on p. 154.
“Emphasis in original” means that the “original” source (Noyes) emphasized (italicized) words that the writer’s paper has italicized.

        4George F. Noyes, Celebration of a National Anniversary by Doubleday’s Brigade (Philadelphia: Webster Publishing, 1862), as quoted in John Smith, Reconstruction (New York: Jones and Jones, 1978), 154 (emphasis in original).


Example 5: Indicates that the article is the source of information in the following paragraphs of the paper.

        5The following discussion is drawn from Owen, “Alabama Protest,” 226-34.


Example 6: Indicates that the writer is using a quotation that he/she found in Simpson’s article (which does not provide the original source for the quotation).

        6Quoted in Simpson, “Political Significance of Slave Representation,” 324.


Example 7: Elaboration for interested readers.

        7Art. I, section 8: “The Congress shall have Power . . . to establish Post Offices and post Roads.”


Example 8: Provides information not required in the text.
“Emphasis added” indicates that the author of the paper, not Mr. Moray, emphasized (italicized) the words “slavs” and “servants.”

        8One may find an example of this confusion in a letter written by a certain Mr. Moray in February 1665.  Moray, a loyal Scot, explained that Virginia contained many of his country, “who living better then ever ther forfathers, and that from so mean a beginning as being sold slavs, here, after Hamiltons engagement . . . are now herein great masters of many servants themselves . . . .”  “Letters written by Mr. Moray,” William and Mary Quarterly, 2d series, 2 (1922): 130 (emphasis added).


Example 9: Indicates that material cited comes from a footnote or endnote (n).  Could also be presented as “24 note” or “24 (note).”

        9Davis, Problems of Slavery, 24n.