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Archives and Special Collections Overview

A brief guide to learn more about Archives and Special Collections.

Citing Archival Sources

It's important to keep track of any requested materials in case you need to revisit them throughout the course of your research and for citation purposes. Citing a primary source from Archives and Special Collections will vary based on citation style; however, citations commonly require the following elements:

  • creator or author,
  • recipient (if applicable)
  • specific item title, page number,
  • date (single or bulk),
  • collection name,
  • series or subseries name and number (if applicable),
  • collection, box, volume, and/or folder number,
  • and name of the archive.

Make sure to check with your instructor to ensure you are using the correct citation style. You can also consult the University Libraries General Citation Guide for additional help.

Citation Examples: In-Print Archival Materials

Chicago Manual of Style

According to the Chicago Manual of Style, “in a note, the main element of a manuscript citation is usually a specific item and is thus cited first. In a bibliography, the main element is usually the collection in which the specific item may be found, the author(s) of the items in the collection, or the depository for the collection." (Chicago Manual of Style, 17.223). Please use the latest edition of the Chicago Manual of Style to learn more.

Format Type Note Entry Example
Letter Author, Item. Collection, Repository.
Robert G. Bottoms letter to student body, 11 September 2001, September 11th vertical file 2001, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University. 
Photograph Last name, First name. Photograph Title. Year created. Medium. Dimensions. Repository, Repository location.
Cammack Studio Photography. Eleanore Cammack at Scarritt Fountain. 1908. Silver gelatin print. 4 in. x 6 in. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle.
Oral History Interviewee. Title. Date. Repository. Clayton, William R. Interview by Daniel Stone. July 12, 2004. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University.
Unpublished Manuscript "Title", Format, Author, Date, Collection identifier, Container (call number, box, folder, or item number), Collection name, Repository, Repository location. "Brominated carbostyrils", unpublished manuscript by Donald Jack Cook, March 1975, MSD-0000-029, Donald Jack Cook papers, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN.
Format Type Bibliographic Entry Example
Letter Collection, Repository. September 11th vertical file 2001, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University. 
Photograph Collection. Museum/Collection Name, City. Cammack Studio Photography. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle.
Oral History Title. Date. Repository. Clayton, William R. Interview. July 12, 2004. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University.
Unpublished Manuscript

"Title", Format. Date. Collection name, Repository.

"Brominated carbostyrils", unpublished manuscript. March 1975, Donald Jack Cook papers, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University.

Modern Language Association (MLA)

According to the MLA, in-text citations appear in the text of the paper enclosed in parentheses, and should include enough information to point to a specific source in the works cited list. For more information on how to properly cite using MLA, visit the MLA Guide to Citing Material from Physical Archives and Collections.

Format Type In-Text Entry Example
Letter

Multiple letters: (Author last name, Specific date)

Single Letter: (Author last name, Date)

Multiple Letters: (Baughman, 3 November 2003), (Baughman, 5 November 2003).

Single Letter: (Baughman, 2003)

Photograph (Creator or photograph title, Date)  (Cammack Studio Photography, 1908)
Oral History (Creator or title, Date) (Stone, 2005)
Unpublished Manuscript (Creator or title, Date)  (Cook, 1975)
Format Type Works Cited Entry Example
Letter Author. Item. Date. Collection. Repository, Repository location. Bottoms, Robert G. Letter to student body. 11 September 2001. September 11th vertical file, 2001. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle.
Photograph Last name, first name or studio name. Photograph title. Year created. Medium. Repository, Repository location. Cammack Studio Photography. Eleanore Cammack at Scarritt Fountain. 1908. Silver gelatin print. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle.
Oral History Interviewee’s name. Interview by interviewer’s name. Project (if applicable). Repository, repository location. Format. Clayton, William R. Interview by Daniel Stone. Indiana United Methodist Church Oral History Project. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN. Audiocassette.
Unpublished Manuscript

Author. Title. Date, Repository name, Repository location.

Cook, Donald Jack. Brominated carbostyrils. March 1975, Donald Jack Cook papers, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN.  

American Psychological Association (APA)

According to the APA, in-text citations appear in the text of the paper enclosed in parentheses. The author's name, year of publication, and page or identification number (if applicable) should be included within parentheses after a quote. Please use the latest edition of the APA Publication Manual to learn common ways to cite information in-text. For more information on citing archival material using APA, please refer to the Non-Print Sources section within the Purdue OWL Writing Lab APA Reference Guide.

Format Type In-Text Entry Citation Example
Letter (Author, Date, Page number) (Bottoms, 2001)
Photograph (Photographer or Studio, Date, Identification number) (Cammack Studio Photography, 1908)
Oral History (Interviewer, Date, Page number) (Stone, 2004)
Unpublished Manuscript (Author, Date, Page number) (Cook, 1975)
Format Type Reference Entry Example
Letter Author (date). Title [or supplied title.] Collection (additional locating information). Repository, Repository location. Bottoms, R. G. (2001, September 11). [Letter to student body]. September 11th vertical file, 1917-1969, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN.
Photograph Creator. (Date). Photograph title [Photograph]. Repository name, Repository location. Cammack Studio Photography. (1908). Eleanore Cammack at Scarritt Fountain [Photograph]. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, United States.
Oral History Interviewee’s name (date of interview). Interview by Interviewer [Format]. Name of Project (if applicable), Repository, Repository location.  William, Clayton R. (2004, July 12). Interview by Daniel Stone [Tape recording]. Indiana United Methodist Church Oral History Project, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, United States.
Unpublished Manuscript Author. (Year). Title. [Format]. Collection name, Repository, Repository location. Cook, Donald Jack. (March 1975). Brominated carbostyrils. [Unpublished manuscript]. Donald Jack Cook papers, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN, United States.

Citation Examples: Online Archival Materials

Resources viewed online, such as digitized letters, scrapbooks, or diaries would include the access URL at the end of the citation in your bibliographic, works cited, or reference list as shown below.

Chicago Manual of Style

Format Type Bibliographic Entry Citation Example
Digitized Photograph Last name, First name. Photograph Title. Year Created. Medium. Dimensions. Museum/Collection Name, City. URL. Cammack Studio Photography, photograph of [Eleanore Cammack at Scarritt Fountain], 1908, Archival TIFF, Archives Documents and Photographs Digital Collection, Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN. https://palni.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/archives/id/79893/rec/27.

Modern Language Association (MLA)

Format Type Works Cited Entry Citation Example
Digitized Photograph Author. Photograph title. Date. Format. Repository, Repository location. URL. Cammack Studio Photography. Eleanore Cammack at Scarritt Fountain. 1908. Silver gelatin print. Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University, Greencastle. https://palni.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/archives/id/79893/rec/27.

American Psychological Association (APA)

Format Type Reference Entry Citation Example
Digitized Photograph Author.  Title. Date. Format. Dimensions. Repository, Repository location. URL. Cammack Studio Photography. (1908). Eleanore Cammack at Scarritt Fountain [Photograph]. Greencastle, IN; Archives and Special Collections, DePauw University. https://palni.contentdm.oclc.org/digital/collection/archives/id/79893/rec/27.

Additional Resources

Verify how to cite additional information, such as page numbers or different format types using the following websites:

Chicago Manual of Style

Modern Language Association

American Psychological Association

Purdue OWL Writing Lab

Additional reference materials can be found at the Roy O. West Library reference desk. Feel free to call, text, chat, or schedule a consultation with us by visiting the library's Research Help page.