F&M College Library

ENG 174: Follow a Footnote

What is a footnote...and how do I "follow" it?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (3rd edition, 2016):

footnote, noun: A note, reference, or additional piece of information printed at the bottom of a page,
used to explain or comment on something in the main body of the text on the same page.

To follow a footnote, it helps to be able to recognize common elements of citations to sources...

Follow a Footnote Worksheet


A citation is a reference to an item that gives enough information in order for you to identify it and to be able to find it.

Generally, citations include four elements:

  1. Author
  2. Title
  3. Source
  4. Date 

The source information is the clue to figuring out what kind of resource the citation points to:

  • For a book, the source information will be a place of publication and a publisher.
  • For an article, the source information will be the journal title, the volume and issue numbers and the page numbers.
  • For a website, the source information will be the URL (which normally begins http://).

Other types of publications (audio/visual materials, government documents, dissertations, etc.) will generally include the basic four elements, but will also include enough information in order for the person reading the citation to identify both the type of information source, as well as how to find the information.

Liaison Librarian to English

Lisa Stillwell's picture
Lisa Stillwell
For Spring 2021: I am happy to meet with you online! Please email me to schedule a time: lisa.stillwell@fandm.edu

If you prefer to speak by phone, please call this number, leave a message, and I will call you back! 717.358.3844

Copyright Statement

This LibGuide was created by Ellen Hamptom Filgo Librarian at Butler University, Indianapolis, IN.
Other users of LibGuides are welcome to use this Guide as a template and to make changes as necessary to fit their custom needs.