Skip to main content

Special Collections Research Center

Resources and methods for identifying and using the materials housed in the Special Collections Research Center

Citation Styles

Which style should you use if your professor doesn't require a specific style?

Here is some guidance

APA: psychology, education, and other social sciences.

MLA: literature, arts, and humanities.

AMA: medicine, health, and biological sciences.

Turabian: designed for college students to use with all subjects.

Chicago: used with all subjects in the "real world" by books, magazines, newspapers, and other non-scholarly publications.

How To Cite Primary Sources

It is ethically imperative to always cite sources correctly and thoroughly in order to credit the original records creators and to lead other scholars to the materials. Proper citation should lead your readers directly and unambiguously to the sources you have consulted.

The crucial points to cover in your citation should include the following:

  1. Author or creator's name
  2. Title of the work
  3. Date
  4. Publication information
  5. Collection name
  6. Box and folder
  7. Repository (archive that houses the material)

Remember that your citation should include as much identifying information as possible. Start with the most specific detail--the item title or description--and end with the broadest piece of information--the name of the repository.

Here's an example of a citation of a speech from one our collections:

Abbott, Edith, "Excerpts of Address at National Women's Trade Union League Nebraska," 1934.  Abbott, Edith and Grace. Papers, [Box 24, Folder 13], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. 

This citation leads a reader directly back to the original source. 

Citation Resources

Here are some resources to help you figure out the best way to cite primary sources in your work:

Ask a Librarian