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Notes on archival and primary sources

  • You need to be consistent with any specific requirements outlined by your Faculty; for example the UOW School of History Style Guide
  • Whenever you cite archival material you should provide two essential pieces of information:
    • a description of the item AND
    • details of where it is located

The latter is required because archival material in most cases consists of unique, unpublished records which are available in only one place (unlike books or other published material held at more than one library)

  • A typical archival citation should include the following details:
    • place identifier - where the records are held
    • agency name - the name of the person or organisation that created the records
    • record (ie. collection) series number, with record title and date range
  • If you are referring to a specific item or range of items within that record series you should also include the:
    • individual item number, with item title description and date (if known)

Example of an expanded archival citation

In a bibliography you should provide the full citation details for each archival record/collection you refer to in your essay etc. For example:

Wollongong University Archives: Francis McCaffrey; D92, Francis McCaffrey Collection, 1865-1932; D92/5, Notebooks.

Example of an abbreviated archival ciation

If you refer to the same citation more than once in your essay etc. you may abbreviate the citation the second time rather than write it again in full.

The abbreviation for the University of Wollongong Archives is NWUA (the N denotes 'New South Wales'), so the abbreviation for the above citation would be:

NWUA: McCaffrey; D92/5, Notebooks.

Other examples

See the examples given in the following guides: