Primary Source Document Bibliography

Chicago

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Entire Web Site

The Web site of the Library of Congress connects users to content areas created by the Library’s many experts. In some cases, content can be posted without a clear indication of author, title, publisher or copyright date. Look for available clues and give as much information as possible, including the URL and date accessed.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 17.237)

Structure:

  1. Author last name, first name, middle initial, if given. If no author, use the site owner.
  2. Title of Site (italicized); a subsection of a larger work in quotes.
  3. Editor of site, if given.
  4. Publication information, including latest update if available.
  5. Name of sponsoring institution or organization.
  6. Electronic address or URL.
  7. Date of access, in parenthesis.

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Site. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Sponsoring source. http://...(accessed date).

Example:
Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov (accessed January 5, 2006).

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Articles and Essays

Special presentations, articles, and essays include examples that illustrate collection themes. Many collections include specific items, such as timelines, family trees or scholarly essays, which are not primary source documents. Such content has been created to enhance understanding of the collection.

This timeline of the Wright Brothers can be found in The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers at the Library of Congress.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270)

Structure:

  1. Author’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given).
  2. Title of document (in italics).
  3. Format (special presentation).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date (if given).
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
The Wilbur and Orville Wright Timeline, 1867-1948. Special presentation. From the Library of Congress, The Wilbur and Orville Wright Papers. http://www.loc.gov/collection/wilbur-and-orville-wright-papers/about-this-collection/ (accessed January 10, 2006).

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Cartoons and Illustrations

Cartoons and illustrations included in newspapers, magazines or other periodicals often represent the historical perspectives and opinions of the time of publication. This illustration, Join or Die from the May 9, 1754 Pennsylvania Gazette, was published by Benjamin Franklin and expresses his views about the need for the colonies to join forces to confront their mutual concerns with England.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 8.207)

Structure:

  1. Author’s or creator’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given).
  2. Title of document (in italics); a subsection of a larger work in quotes.
  3. Format (cartoon or illustration).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date.
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
Franklin, Benjamin. “Join or Die.” Illustration. The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 9, 1754. From Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division http://loc.gov/pictures/item/2002695523/ (accessed January 10, 2006).

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Films

Black-and-white actuality film collections from the turn of the century are included in the Library of Congress online collections.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 17.272)

Structure:

  1. Creator’s last name, first name, middle initial (or filmographer’s name if no director is specified, but indicate role).
  2. Title of film (in italics).
  3. Format (film, filmstrip, 35mm film).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date.
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
Armitage, Frederick S., photographer. Bargain Day, Fourteenth Street, New York. 35 mm film. United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Co, 1905. From Library of Congress, Early Motion Pictures, 1897-1920. MPEG video, http://www.loc.gov/item/00694373 (accessed January 9, 2006).

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Government Publications

Many government publications originate through executive departments, federal agencies, and the United States Congress. Many of the documents are chronicled records of government proceedings, which become part of the Congressional Record. These documents are often posted without a clear indication of author, title, publisher or copyright date. Look for available clues and give as much information as possible, including the URL and date accessed.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 17.295)

Structure:

  1. Author’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given).
  2. Title of document (subsection is placed in quotes, followed by title in italics).
  3. Format (omit if it is a printed page).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date (include as much information as possible such as page numbers).
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
“Proceedings December 17, 1792”. Annals of Congress. House of Representatives, 2nd Congress, 2nd Session. Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1849, pg. 747-748. From Library of Congress, A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774-1875. http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/
ampage?collId=llac&fileName=llac003.db&recNum=370 (accessed January 9, 2006).

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Manuscripts

The Library of Congress online collections include letters, diaries, recollections, and other written material. One example is this letter from Helen Keller to Mr. John Hitz. Helen describes her trip to Chicago to visit the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 17.222-33)

Structure:

  1. Author’s last name, first name, middle initial.
  2. Title of document (in italics).
  3. Format (letter, manuscript, pamphlet…).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date. (if given).
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
Keller, Helen. Helen Keller to John Hitz, August 29, 1893. Letter. From Library of Congress, The Alexander Graham Bell Family Papers, 1862-1939. http://www.loc.gov/item/magbellbib004020 (accessed January 11, 2006).

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Maps and Charts

Maps are far more than just maps of cities and towns. They document historical places, events, and populations, as well as growth and changes over time. This map is from the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 17.141)

Structure:

  1. Author’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given, or person responsible for content).
  2. Title of document (in italics) [shorten to meaningful limits, ].
  3. Format (map, chart).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date.
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
Ashmun, Jehudi. Map of the West Coast of Africa from Sierra Leone to Cape Palmas, including the Colony of Liberia. Map. Philadelphia: A. Finley, 1830. From Library of Congress, Map Collections. http://www.loc.gov/item/96680499 (accessed January 9, 2006).

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Newspapers

Historic newspapers provide a glimpse of historic time periods. The articles, as well as the advertising, are an appealing way to get a look at the regions of the country or the world and the issues of the day.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 17.188)

Structure:

  1. Author’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given; if no author is given, use title of Newspaper here instead in italics).
  2. Title of article (in quotes); Title of newspaper (if not used above) in italics.
  3. Format (leave blank if printed document).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date.
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
The Stars and Stripes, “Free Education While You Wait For Orders Home.” Dec. 6, 1918. From Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/item/sn88075768/1918-12-06/ed-1/ (accessed Feb. 10, 2012).

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Oral History Interviews

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 17.207)

Structure:

  1. Title of the interview in quotes
  2. Interviewer’s first name, last name (if available)
  3. Title of publication or Web site
  4. Date of publication
  5. Medium
  6. URL
  7. Accessed date (in parenthesis)

“Title of interview” by First Name Last Name of interviewer, Title of publication or Web site, Month, Day Year of publication, URL (accessed date).

Example:
“Gwendolyn M. Patton oral history interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier in Montgomery, Alabama, 2011-06-01.” From Library of Congress, Civil Rights Oral History Project. Film. http://www.loc.gov/item/afc2010039_crhp0020/ (accessed Jan. 15, 2016).

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Photographs

Photographs and drawings appear in many of the Library of Congress digitized historical collections. This photograph from the Library's online collections shows casualties of war on the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 8.206)

Structure:

  1. Photographer’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given). [Include role after name, i.e. photographer.]
  2. “Photo Title.” [Include brackets if given in bibliographic record.]
  3. Format (photograph).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date (include c [circa] if given; if no date, use n.d.).
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium.
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL or shorter digital id if available at bottom of bibliographic record).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
O’Sullivan, Timothy, photographer. “[Incidents of the war. A Harvest of Death, Gettysburg, July 1863.]” Photograph. Washington, D.C.: Philip & Solomons, c1865. From Library of Congress: Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865. http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/cwp2003001110/PP (accessed January 9, 2006).

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Sound Recordings

This recording of Mrs. Ben Scott and Myrtle B. Wilkinson performing Haste to the Wedding is an example of Anglo-American dance music on the fiddle and tenor banjo recorded on October 31, 1939.

Chicago Citation Format
(Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed., sections 17.270, 8.205)

Structure:

  1. Author’s last name, first name, middle initial (if given) [include performer, composer, etc.].
  2. Title of album (in italics) (Title of a song in quotes, not italics).
  3. Format (sound recording).
  4. Publisher city: publishing company, copyright date.
  5. Source (From Library of Congress in normal font), Collection name (in italics). If no collection name, name of division where item is housed with no punctuation.
  6. Medium (i.e. MP3, WAV).
  7. URL (use bibliographic record URL).
  8. Accessed date (in parenthesis).

Last name, First name Middle initial. Title of Work. Format. City: Publishing Company, copyright date. Source, Collection. Medium, http://...(accessed date).

Example:
Scott, Mrs. Ben and Myrtle B. Wilkinson, performers. “Haste to the Wedding.” Sound recording. Turlock, CA: Sidney Robertson Cowell, October 31, 1939. From Library of Congress, California Gold: Northern California Folk Music from the Thirties. MP3, WAV. http://www.loc.gov/item/afccc.a4227b4 (accessed January 9, 2006).

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General Guidelines | Examples

General Guidelines

By carefully documenting your sources, you acknowledge intellectual debts and provide readers with information about the materials you consulted during your research. Methods for citing primary sources (e.g., archival and manuscript collections) differ from those for published works. The discipline in which you are writing and class requirements will determine the citation system you should use.

Typical elements of a citation include: document title, document date, location information, collection title, collection number, and repository name.  For primary sources published online, a citation would include: the author, document title or a description, document date, title of the website, reference URL, and date accessed. Elements of a citation are usually listed from the most specific to the most general.  For examples of online primary source citations, please consult our Primary Sources on the Web citation page.

The following citation guidelines for primary sources are based on those in the Chicago Manual of Style, which you should consult for more detailed information.[1] Chicago distinguishes between citation systems for notes and bibliographies. In a footnote or endnote, the main element of a primary source citation is usually a specific item, which is cited first. If the specific item lacks a formal title, you may create one (e.g., photograph, interview, or minutes). Descriptive titles of this kind are not usually enclosed in quotation marks or italicized.

Include information about the specific location of an item in a collection by designating box and folder numbers. For example:

39. J.H. Campbell to James Groppi, Oct. 11, 1969, box 11, folder 1, James Groppi Papers, Milwaukee Mss EX, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Subsequent citations of the same item, or items from the same collection, may be shortened for the reader’s convenience. The writer announces the use of short forms in a parenthetical statement at the end of the first citation, as follows:

39. J.H. Campbell to James Groppi, Oct. 11, 1969, box 11, folder 1, James Groppi Papers, Milwaukee Mss EX, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department (hereafter cited as Groppi Papers).

40. Sermon, Aug. 10, 1969, box 15, folder 8, Groppi Papers.

In a bibliography, the main element is usually the title of the collection in which the specific item may be found, the author(s) of the items in the collection, or the repository of the collection. Specific items are not usually mentioned in a bibliography. We recommend using the collection title as the main element of the citation. If the collection title includes a personal name, we recommend placing the last name first for the reader’s convenience. For example:

Groppi, James, Papers. Milwaukee Mss EX. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Archives Department staff will gladly provide further guidance on citing primary sources in your research papers.

Examples of Citations for Items from the Archives Department of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries

Note Forms

41. Diary, 1899, box 3, vol. 4, John Johnston Family Papers, Milwaukee Mss BL, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

42. Scrapbook, 1928-1935, box 31, Milwaukee Public Schools, Department of Municipal Recreation and Community Education Scrapbooks, UWM Mss 151, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

43. Minutes, Jan. 9, 1956, box 2, folder 1, Jewish Family and Children’s Service Records, Milwaukee Mss 87, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

44. Photograph of Mr. and Mrs. Simon Kander, undated, box 2, folder 1, Lizzie Black Kander Papers, Milwaukee Mss DN, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

45. Norman Adelman, interview by Michael A. Gordon, May 14, 2008, Oral History Interviews of the March on Milwaukee Oral History Project, UWM Mss Collection 281, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.[2]

46. Boycott of MacDowell School construction site, Dec. 8, 1965, Daily footage newsfilm, Milwaukee Journal Stations Records, Milwaukee Mss Collection 203, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

47. WTMJ-TV, news film clip of Martin Luther King speaking at UW-Milwaukee (2 of 2), Nov. 23, 1965, March On Milwaukee Civil Rights History Project, accessed June 8, 2010, http://collections.lib.uwm.edu/u?/march,941.

Bibliographic Entries

Jewish Family and Children’s Service Records. Milwaukee Mss 87. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Johnston, John, Family Papers. Milwaukee Mss BL. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Kander, Lizzie Black, Papers. Milwaukee Mss DN. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Milwaukee Journal Stations Records. Milwaukee Mss Collection 203. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Milwaukee Public Schools, Department of Municipal Recreation and Community Education Scrapbooks. UWM Mss 151. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

Oral History Interviews of the March on Milwaukee Oral History Project. UWM Mss Collection 281. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries, Archives Department.

March On Milwaukee Civil Rights History Project. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. http://www4.uwm.edu/libraries/digilib/march/ index.cfm.


Footnotes

1. Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), 710-715. Examples also available here with campus subscription to the Chicago Manual of Style Online.

2. Note that Chicago provides specific guidelines for citing interviews and personal communications (705-707). Examples are available for both unpublished interviews and personal communications with campus subscription to the Chicago Manual of Style Online.

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