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Start here for an overview of the research process in History, with suggested resources.

Why We Cite

There are plenty of reasons to use proper citations in your research.  Here are just a few:

  • Give credit where credit is due. (It's the right thing to do.)
  • Enhance the credibility of your argument with supporting evidence.
  • Point out the dialog you are having with other scholars and their ideas.
  • Provide your reader with additional sources for further reading.
  • Avoid plagiarism: unfairly taking personal credit for other authors' ideas.

Chicago Manual of Style (17th Ed.Online)

Within Chicago, there are two documentation systems:

  • Notes and Bibliography: used in history and some other humanities fields
  • Author-Date: used more frequently in the social sciences

Archival Sources

Citing archival sources properly is important, because the materials found in an archive or special collections repository are often unique and so cannot be referred to elsewhere. Persons trying to locate your sources at a later date will need to know exactly where and how to retrieve them. The particular form of your citation will depend upon the citation style you adhere to (e.g. The Chicago Manual of Style, Modern Language Association, etc.).

The basic elements that, if available, should appear in your citation include:

  • Title of Item,
  • Date of Item,
  • Box and Folder number,
  • Title of Collection,
  • Collection ID,
  • Name of Archive and/or Parent Institution,
  • Location (city, US state or country)

Be sure to include also include a URL for digitized items.

Vita (Paul Dirac), 1984, Box: 15, Folder: 09. Paul A.M. Dirac Papers, MSS 1989-009. FSU Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida.

When you are at the archives, it is a good idea to note down information from the finding aid or guide to the collection and from labels on the folder and box - even if not all the information is required in the citation itself. Take note of the box and folder numbers when available. Citing archival sources can be tricky. Never hesitate to ask the archivist, curator, librarian, or your professor for assistance. They are there to help you!

Citing Images

Citing sources properly is an essential component of sound research practice.  The following resources can facilitate the process:

The Florida State University Libraries

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