United Nations Editorial Manual Online
Footnotes and other references
IX. Footnote indicators
A. Types of indicators
A. Types of indicators
Every footnote has a corresponding footnote indicator—a number, lower-case letter or asterisk or other symbol—typed in superscript in the text.
Indicators in documents and publications. In documents and publications, numbered footnotes are used in the main body of the text. Lower-case letters are normally used as footnote indicators in annexes, appendices, tables, figures and boxed text within a document or publication. Asterisks and other symbols are used as indicators in the specific cases described below (see Footnote indicators/Footnotes indicated by asterisks and other symbols).Indicators in resolutions and decisions. Numbered footnotes are used in resolutions and decisions, including any annexes to the text. Lower-case letters are not used. Asterisks and other symbols are used primarily in decisions concerning the election of members of intergovernmental bodies.
The footnote indicator is normally placed after the full title or description of the source or item being referenced and should always be positioned so as to leave no doubt about the subject of the reference. When a statement is being substantiated or explained, the indicator is placed at the end of the appropriate phrase or sentence. It is placed after a quoted passage, not after the words introducing the quotation.
When there are punctuation marks (e.g. a comma, colon or period) at the point where the footnote indicator should be inserted, the indicator is placed after the punctuation in English but before the punctuation in French and Spanish. When more than one indicator must be inserted at the same place in the text, the indicators are separated by a comma.
Editors should check all indicator numbers against the footnotes to ensure that they correspond and that no numbers have been repeated incorrectly or skipped.
In documents and publications, footnotes should be numbered consecutively throughout the main body of the text except in the cases described below.
Reports of the Main Committees of the General Assembly. Footnotes are numbered consecutively throughout sections I (Introduction) and II (Consideration of proposals). In section III (Recommendations), they are numbered separately for each draft resolution, beginning with footnote 1 each time.
Reports containing replies to requests for information from organizations and Governments. Footnotes are numbered separately for each reply from an organization or Government that is reproduced or summarized in a report, beginning with footnote 1 each time. This numbering system ensures that the footnotes will correspond in all language versions of the report since the replies are presented in the alphabetical order of the names of the responding organizations and Governments and the sequence will vary in different language versions of the report.
Publications and supplements. It is acceptable to number footnotes separately in each chapter or section of a lengthy publication or supplement to the Official Records. In publications containing articles by different authors, footnotes are always numbered separately for each article.Footnotes in a foreword or preface. The footnotes in a foreword or preface to a publication are numbered separately from those in the main body of the text.
Annexes and appendices. In documents and publications, lower-case letters are normally used as footnote indicators in an annex or appendix. When the series of footnotes extends beyond the letter z, numbers are used instead of letters. A separate series of footnotes should be used for each annex and appendix in a document or publication.
Note: When an annex or appendix contains material that is to be reproduced as submitted, the footnotes should not be altered by changing the numbers to letters.
Tables and figures. Lower-case letters are used as footnote indicators in most tables and figures (see Tables/Notes to tables). In statistical publications containing tables with numerous footnotes, numbers are normally used instead of letters.
Boxed text . Lower-case letters are used as footnote indicators in boxed text within a document or publication and in a boxed summary at the beginning of a document.
In documents and publications, asterisks and other symbols are used as footnote indicators when it is necessary to depart from the normal system of numbering or lettering.
Sequence of symbols. When a series of such footnotes is required, the following sequence of symbols should be used:
* , ** , *** , **** , † , ‡ , §.
When more than seven footnotes are needed, numbers are used instead of symbols.
Placement of symbols. Asterisks and other symbols are placed after the elements to which they relate in the same way as footnote numbers and lower-case letters. The footnotes are normally placed at the bottom of the page. When the information in the footnote applies to more than one item in a list or table of contents, the same indicator (asterisk or other symbol) can be repeated as necessary without repeating the footnote itself.
Note: Footnotes indicated by asterisks and other symbols are placed above footnotes indicated by numbers and lower-case letters when they appear at the bottom of the same page.
When to use asterisks and other symbols. Asterisks and other symbols are used as footnote indicators in the following cases:
Note: There is a single asterisk regardless of the number of times a document has been reissued. The asterisk is printed on the document that was reissued but should not be included in references giving the symbol of the reissued document.
In the left corner notation to indicate the symbol of the provisional agenda:
After the title of a document to provide information relating to the document as a whole:
After “Report of the Secretary-General” (below the title) to explain late submission:
After the sponsor of a draft resolution or decision submitting the text on behalf of a group:
After the title or submitter of a technical report for a conference or intergovernmental body to identify the author or provide other information:
After the name of the author of an article in a publication to indicate title and affiliation:
After a heading to provide a cross reference:
After country names in decisions concerning the election of members of intergovernmental bodies to indicate the dates on which their terms of office expire:
Note: When the information in the footnote relates to more than one item in the decision, the same indicator is repeated in the text as necessary. In a series of decisions, a new set of footnotes is used for each decision, starting with a single asterisk each time. The same system can be used in documents concerning the election of members of intergovernmental bodies.
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