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Guide to Archival Research

A guide on using archival materials held in the University Archives

How to Cite Archival Materials

As with published materials, archival sources used in research require citing, whether you simply make reference to a source, quote directly from it, paraphrase it, or reproduce an image in your work. The form that your citation takes is determined both by where it appears in your paper and by the citation format required by your professor or research discipline. See the drop-down menus for examples of citing archival sources using APA, MLA and Chicago citation styles.

Regardless of which format you use, citations of archival materials typically include six key elements:

1. Title: usually the title given by the archives to a file or item; in the absence of a title provide a short description

Nova Scotia Task Force on the Status of Women Reports
Letter from Jane Smith to John Doe

2. Name of fonds or collection: the name given by the archives to the fonds or collection

David and Marilyn Janigan Map Collection
Faculty of Health Professions fonds

3. Reference code: the equivalent of a library call number used to locate a book

Dalhousie Archives' reference codes for university records begin with UA (UA-2-16) and those for private records begin with MS (MS-3-245)

4. Box number: the number of the box in which the archival record is physically stored

5. Folder number: the number of the folder in which the archival record in physically stored

Box 27, Folder 45

6, Repository and location: the name of the archives or library and its geographic location

Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada