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Finding Primary Sources: Citing Primary Sources

A guide created to assist students to find and evaluate primary sources.

Citing Primary Sources

Chicago, APA, and MLA: See the full guide to citing archival materials using various citation styles in the Citing Archives guide.

Credit line:

A credit line must be given for the publication, exhibition, presentation, or use of reproductions from the NBCA. Credit line to be written in the manner as follows:

Northern BC Archives, UNBC Accession No. ______.

Primary Sources from Sourcebook

None of the following style guides have specific instructions for citing these types of sources. The following examples are suggested ways of citing sources from a sourcebook. Keep in mind that the goal with citations is to provide as much information about a source so that the same source can be found/used again by someone else.

Chicago Style

A primary source from a sourcebook can be difficult to cite as CMOS has no specific rule for citing sourcebooks so you must use your discretion. It can be cited as a contribution to a multiauthor book or as a citation taken from a secondary source however using the latter option is generally discouraged as authors are expected to have examined the works they cite and should only be used if the original source is unavailable.

Notes:

  • Contribution to a multiauthor book
  1. Jane Sharp, “The midwife’s book,” in Renaissance woman: a sourcebook: constructions of femininity in England, ed. Kate Aughterson (London: Routledge, 1995), 126-127.
  • Citation taken from a secondary source
  1. Jane Sharp, The midwife’s book, (1671), 43-47, quoted in Kate Aughterson, ed., Renaissance woman: a sourcebook: constructions of femininity in England (London: Routledge, 1995), 126-127.

Bibliography:

  • If using the contribution to a multiauthor book option
    • Sharp, Jane. “The midwife’s book.” In Renaissance woman: a sourcebook: constructions of femininity in England, edited by Kate Aughterson, 126-127. London: Routledge, 1995.
  • If using the citation taken from a secondary source option
    • Aughterson, Kate, ed. Renaissance woman: a sourcebook: constructions of femininity in England. London: Routledge, 1995.

Author-Date:

  • If using the contribution to a multiauthor book option
    • Sharp, Jane. 1995. “The midwife’s book.” In Renaissance woman: a sourcebook: constructions of femininity in England, edited by Kate Aughterson, 126-127. London: Routledge.
  • If using the citation taken from a secondary source option
    • Reference: Aughterson, Kate, ed. 1995. Renaissance woman: a sourcebook: constructions of femininity in England. London: Routledge.
    • Text: In Jane Sharp’s “The midwife’s book” first published in 1671 (quoted in Aughterson 1995, 126-127)…

APA

For a primary source in a sourcebook, cite it using the “cited in” format: give the sourcebook in the reference list and name the primary source in text and provide the citation for the secondary source.

Bibliography Example:

Keeble, N.H. (Ed.). (2002). The cultural identity of seventeenth-century woman: A reader. London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://www.myilibrary.com?ID=32571

In-text:

Ann Fanshawe’s memoirs, written in 1676 (as cited in Keeble, 2002, 194-196)


MLA

For a primary source in a sourcebook, cite it as an indirect source: give the sourcebook in the reference list and name the primary source in text and provide the citation for the secondary source.

Bibliography Example:

Stackelberg, Roderick, and Sally A. Winkle, eds. Nazi Germany Sourcebook. Routledge, 2013. Web. 1 December 2017.

In-text:

The Proclamation of the Council of People's Representatives to the German People on 12 November 1918 (qtd. in Stackelberg and Winkle 49)...

Chicago Style

Notes:

  1. “The Greatest Marine Disaster in History,” The Globe (Toronto), April 16, 1912, https://search.proquest.com/docview/1351176382?accountid=14601

Bibliography:

“The Greatest Marine Disaster in History.” The Globe (Toronto). April 16, 1912. https://search.proquest.com/docview/1351176382?accountid=14601.

Author-Date In-text:

(The Globe 1912)

Author-Date Bibliography:

The Globe (Toronto). 1912. “The Greatest Marine Disaster in History.” April 16, 1912. https://search.proquest.com/docview/1351176382?accountid=14601.

In newspaper articles with no author, the newspaper title takes the place of the author. Otherwise the format would be:

Author, A. (Year). "Article Title." Newspaper title (City if not in newspaper title). Date of article. URL


APA

In-text citation:

(“Greatest Marine Disaster,” 1912)

Bibliography:

The Greatest Marine Disaster in History. (1912, April 16). The Globe, pp. 1-2. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/1351176382?accountid=14601.

If the newspaper article has an author then the format would be: Author. A. (Year, Month Day). Article Title. Newspaper Title. Retrieved from URL.


MLA

In-text citation:

(“Titanic Disaster”)

Bibliography:

Author, A. “Article Title.” Newspaper Title [City if not in newspaper title] Day Month Year: page number(s). Medium. Date accessed (if from web)

"The Titanic Disaster." Times [London] 16 Apr. 1912: 9. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 27 Nov. 2017.

Chicago Style

Notes:

  1. Erasmus to Janus Cornarius, Freiburg, August 9, 1529, in The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 2204 to 2356, trans. Alexander Dalzell (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015), 2-3.

Bibliography:

Usually cite the whole publication rather than an individual letter in the bibliography

Example:

Erasmus. The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 2204 to 2356. Translated by Alexander Dalzell. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

If it is necessary to cite a single letter in the bibliography, it is listed under the writer’s name.

Example:

Erasmus. Erasmus to Janus Cornarius, August 9, 1529. In The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 2204 to 2356. Translated by Alexander Dalzell. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

Author-Date:

Reference the specifics, such as the date, recipient, and city, in the main text:

Example:

Erasmus. 2015. The Correspondence of Erasmus: Letters 2204 to 2356. Translated by Alexander Dalzell. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

In-text:

In a letter to Janus Cornarius from Freiburg, August 9, 1529 (Erasmus 2015, 2), Erasmus wrote…


APA

The APA style guide has no specific guidelines for citing a letter in a published collection so cite the entire volume in the reference list, including editor(s) and translator(s) where necessary and include information about the specific letter - such as the date, recipient, and city - in the main text.

Bibliography Example:

Yeats, W.B.. (2005). Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats: Volume IV: 1905-1907. John Kelly (Ed.). Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://www.myilibrary.com?ID=75327

In-text:

In a letter to Lady Gregory on 4 January 1906 from 18 Woburn Buildings, Euston Road...(Yeats, 2005, p. 282)


MLA

Treat a published letter like a work in a collection adding the date and number of the letter (if applicable).

Examples:

Single Letter:

Bentham, Jeremy. "To Sir John Freeman Mitford." 2 February 1798. Letter 1307 of The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham. Ed. J. R. Dinwiddy. Vol 6. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984. 4-5. Web. 1. Dec. 2017.

In-text: (Bentham 6: 4-5).

Multiple letters:

Bentham, Jeremy. The Correspondence of Jeremy Bentham. Eds. Timothy L. S. Sprigge, Ian R. Christie, Alexander Taylor Milne, J.R. Dinwiddy, Stephen Conway. 10 vols. Charlottesville: InteLex Corp., 2000. 4-5. Web. 1. Dec. 2017.

In-text: (Bentham, "To Sir John Freeman Mitford" 6: 4-5)

Chicago Style

In-text:

Classical primary source references are ordinarily given in text or notes. They are included in a bibliography only when the reference is to information or annotation supplied by a modern author.

Example:

Herodotus (7.205) describes how King Leonidas of Sparta gathered 300 men to accompany him to Thermopylae…

OR

Herodotus describes how King Leonidas of Sparta gathered 300 men to accompany him to Thermopylae…1

  1. Herodotus, The Histories 7.205.

Bibliography:

Herodotus. The Histories. Translated by Walter Blanco. Edited by Walter Blanco and Jennifer T. Roberts. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013.

Author-Date:

Herodotus. 2013. The Histories. Translated by Walter Blanco. Edited by Walter Blanco and Jennifer T. Roberts. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.


APA

Reference list citations are not required for major classical texts.

Example:

(Livy, 1:39.1-2)


MLA

MLA does require a reference list citation for the edition that was consulted.

Bibliography Example:

Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Viking, 1996.

In-text: (Hom. Od. 2.84)

Chicago & APA

Reference list citations are not required for sacred scripture.

Example:

(Isaiah 2:4)

MLA

MLA does require a reference list citation for the edition that was consulted.

Bibliography Example:

The new Jerusalem Bible: Standard EditionDoubleday, New York, 1999. Print.

Citation Guides

For more information on citations see our Citation Styles Guide with links to various resources on APA, Chicago, MLA, and other citation styles as will as information on Annotated Bibliographies and Citation Management Software including EndNote.