Working with a text that makes extensive use of a secondary source that will be given in block quotation and, of course, cited. The secondary source, however, contained many original source citations which are to be included here as well. We'll note the secondary source, and not go straight to the original source, as this is a new edition of a previously published work for which the author was known to draw from that secondary source, and often he did so verbatim.

Effectively distinguishing for the reader between these various sources within the block quotation is the issue. In the original 1950s edition, the author and editor (at OUP, no less) were a tad bit careless with their citations, and some of what the author, who was not an academic, used from the secondary source was reproduced verbatim but sometimes without quotation marks or without being set in block quotation.

This is to be corrected in the new edition where all excerpted material must be clearly presented as such. For a lengthy passage taken from a secondary source, block quotation will now be used but it is crucial to note the original source citations as well.

So the question is, how to do this exactly? Using numbered note references for a paragraph in block quotation with, for example, three internal original citations gives us the problem of the final fourth citation reference number calling out the secondary source for the whole passage, coming last and not being readily distinguishable as the secondary source encompassing all the other citations. I believe we want the reader to know this first and then having any internal original citations noted.

I've considered possible solutions such as having the end of the block quotation (a secondary source) followed by an Arabic reference number to note the secondary source, and then for all the internal original citations to use symbols as reference marks.

Historiography is important in this republished text but I'm unsatisfied with the way of presenting distinctions between sources (secondary and original) given in Chicago style, as well as between source citations and discursive/substantive notes. All notes are to be given as sidenotes (margin notes) in this work.

To find an example of how another publisher handled a similar text in an effective and elegant manner that still largely conforms to CMOS would be invaluable at this stage.

All input and clarifying questions welcome. Thank you.

  • 2
    My sympathies for what sounds like a challenging task. When I've done editing in APA, the guidance has been minimal - in brief, they suggest keeping the citations as-is in the quoted text, but omitting footnotes/endnotes and citations at the end of a quoted text. I'll see if I notice this practice in any books I read. That wouldn't be adequate for what you're describing. The symbol-as-reference-mark idea sounds familiar, but I can't think of an example offhand. Mar 3, 2023 at 14:50
  • 2
    This might be more suited for Academia SE.
    – Stuart F
    Mar 3, 2023 at 16:30
  • Do I understand correctly that the problem is due to one quotation to a later source containing more than one internal quotation to earlier sources? If it were only one, the matter could be handled by saying in a footnote something like 'Smith . . ., quoting Jones, . . .', couldn't it?
    – jsw29
    Mar 3, 2023 at 16:30
  • 2
    Please provide an example; all those words make my eyes glaze over.
    – Lambie
    Mar 3, 2023 at 18:01
  • Thank you firstly for the responses. I'll try to add an example below, which will have to be lengthy, and therefore not able to fit as a comment. The symbol as reference mark is just the very old convention of asterisk (), dagger (†), double dagger (‡), and (usually) section mark (§) in that order and if more are needed on the page, they can be doubled up (*, ††, ‡‡, §§). I infrequently see Arabic numeral reference marks and symbols used together, but it does happen. An example that comes to mind is Keith Houston's Shady Characters (2014) where you can see the first instance on p. 7. Mar 4, 2023 at 22:18

1 Answer 1


This breaks the rules of CMOS, but one reasonable approach would be to move the secondary source citation to the sentence before the quote. If the secondary source is Smith and the primary source is Perry, you would write, using square brackets to represent superscript:

According to Smith:[1]

Perry says that "he is tired"[2] of all this "nonsense."[3]

[1] - Smith, page 11.

[2] - Perry, page 55.

[3] - Perry, page 56.

  • Thank you – this is a reasonable suggestion and would be a possible solution, however, I cannot rewrite the text to provide an opportunity for an introductory/identifying line like "According to Smith". I suppose adding a reference number right at the last line before the block quote might still work, even though the block quote is often introduced with just a fragment that relies on the quote continuing to make sense. Mar 4, 2023 at 11:56
  • Is there a particular case when footnote or endnote reference numbers are placed in brackets or parentheses? Is this done in block quotations to distinguish reference numbers contained in the original source from final citation reference number? To be clear, this refers to the superscripted note number in the text. Mar 5, 2023 at 10:08

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.