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Guide to Archival Research

A guide on conducting archival research. Includes instructions on finding archival material at the Dalhousie University Archives.

How to cite archival materials

When you quote or paraphrase an archival source in your work, you must provide a full citation to the material. This section of the Archival Research Guide pages provide information on how to cite archival material using APA, MLA, and Chicago citation styles.

Regardless of which style you use, all citations of archival materials typically include four key elements:


The title of the file or item; provide a short description if the material is untitled. 

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

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

Reference code

Sometimes called an identifier. Similar to call numbers used to locate items within in a library. Dalhousie University Archives' reference codes typically include a collection identifier (e.g., UA-2 or MS-3-245), and numbers that identify the specific box and folder.

UA-22, Box 175, Folder 2
MS-3-46, Box 23, Folder 40


 The name of the archives or library and its geographic location

Dalhousie University Archives, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada