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Guide to Using Special Collections at Yale University: Citation Guidelines

These guidelines are based on the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS17), which is a standard used in much academic writing in the various fields within the Humanities. Members of the Yale community who are using a computer on campus or are logged in using the Yale VPN can access the CMOS17 online using this link to the Orbis record. These guidelines are focused on using footnotes or endnotes and a bibliography to cite sources used, and are based on the guidance contained in Chapter 14: Notes and Bibliography of CMOS17. If you need assistance with other common academic citation styles, such as MLA Style (Modern Language Association) or APA Style (American Psychological Association), please consult the Principles of Citing Sources resource maintained by Yale's Poorvu Center for Teaching and Learning.

Note that when citing widely available publications, you typically do not cite the repository that holds the material. One exception to this is when the analysis or argument in your work engages copy-specific features of a publication, such as hand-written annotations on, or materials tipped into a particular copy of the publication by someone who owned or used the publication. In these cases it is important to cite the repository holding the specific copy containing features that are central to your scholarly output. 

The CMOS17 guidelines below are organized in two sections and provide examples from Yale's collections.

  1. Bibliography vs. Footnotes/Endnotes focuses on citation basics and uses published materials as examples.
  2. Citing Sources from Archival Collections offers advice for a citing unpublished sources typically found in archival collections or licensed databases.

The following information is meant as a general guide. Remember, maintaining a consistent style in citations within a single work (that is, your intellectual output), and providing enough information for your readers to find and identify your sources, are the main goals.

1. Bibliography vs. Footnotes/Endnotes ("Notes" in CMOS17, Chapter 14)

Notes (both foot and end) are typically numbered, corresponding to superscript numerical references in the text, and are similarly styled to the text itself, with elements separated by commas or parentheses and names given in normal order. Bibliography citations are listed alphabetically, so the name of a first author is inverted (last name first) and elements are separated by periods. Bibliography entries do not typically include specific page references for a published work (exception: the page range of an article or chapter in a larger work should be included), or physical location information within an archival collection (e.g., boxes and folders); specific page references and specific item locations should be included in footnotes. Note that CMOS17 discourages the older-style use of 3 em-dashes (———) in lieu of an author's name in bibliographies where two or more works by the same author are cited; for the sake of clarity repeat the author's name in each bibliography citation and sort the entries alphabetically, with all single-authored references for that author preceding those involving more than one author (CMOS17, 15.67). See CMOS17, 14.20 for more on the basic structure of a note, and 14.21 for more on the basic structure of a bibliography entry.

Note style example: 1. Brooks Mather Kelley, Yale: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974), 116-117.

Bibliography style example: Kelley, Brooks Mather. Yale: A History. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974.

Most academic works include both a bibliography and either footnotes or endnotes. When this is the case, the full citation for a work referenced or quoted from should appear in the bibliography. A short form can be used in citations in the notes, because the notes do not need to duplicate the full citation in the bibliography (CMOS17, 14.19). Typically the short form includes the author's last name, a shortened title, and the page reference (CMOS17, 14.30). Only the last name of the author is used in the short form citation, unless additional initials are needed to distinguish between authors with the same last name; if there are two authors, use both last names; if there are three or more authors use the first author's last name followed by et al. (CMOS17, 14.32). Presentation of the title (e.g., in italics, in quotation marks) should mirror the presentation of the full title in the bibliography or prior note; if the full title is four words or less, use the entire title in the short form (CMOS17, 14.33). The short form citation used in the notes must include enough information so that a reader of your work can unambiguously identify the entry in the bibliography to which it corresponds. Note that CMOS17 discourages the use of the older-style Latin abbreviations ibid. and op. cit. in favor of the clarity of short-form citations.

Bibliography examples: 

Chauncey, Henry, Jr., John T. Hill, and Thomas Strong. May Day at Yale, 1970: Recollections: the Trial of Bobby Seale and the Black Panthers. Westport, CT: Perspecta Press, 2015.

Jeffers, Robinson. Granite & Cypress: Rubbings from the Rock. Santa Cruz: Lime Kiln Press, 1975.

Robin, Corey, and Michelle Stephens. "Against the Grain: Organizing TAs at Yale." Social Text 49, 14, no. 4 (Winter 1996): 43-73.

Note (short form) examples: 

1. Chauncey et al., May Day, 107. 

2. Robin and Stephens, "Against the Grain," 52.

3. Jeffers, Granite & Cypress, 15.

If you are not including a bibliography in your work, and are relying solely on notes for your citations, you must fully cite a work referenced or quoted from in the first note related to it. Subsequent notes referencing it can then use a short-form citation (CMOS17, 14.19).

Notes only (no bibliography) examples:

1. Martha Lund Smalley, ed., American Missionary Eyewitnesses to the Nanking Massacre, 1937-1938 (New Haven: Yale Divinity School Library, 1997), 23-24.

2. Smalley, American Missionary Eyewitnesses, 32.

2. Citing Sources from Archival Collections

General Guidelines for Citing Materials from Archival Collections

Citation of documents in archival collections can be trickier than citations for publications, because you have to provide enough information about the document and the archival collection in which you found it and the repository where that collection can be found to allow someone reading your analysis to find that document if they wanted to. The following are some guidelines to assist you in citing your document:

For the document cite:

  • Author(s) of the document.
  • A title that identifies the document.
    • This might be on the document itself, such as a report or an essay.
    • If there is nothing resembling a title on the document, you will have to devise a title that is descriptive and meaningful (examples: Letter to Alice Jones, Notes on a meeting to discuss the partition of Eastern Europe).
  • A date the document was created. This might be an actual day, a month, or a year, and you may have to supply an approximate date based on context if there is no actual date on the document itself.
  • Box and folder (or other container information) where you found the document within the archival collection.
    • If there is a series number or an accession number these should be supplied as well, since they are often a critical part of returning to the correct box in an archival collection.

For each archival collection being used cite: 

  • Title of the collection.
  • Collection number or other identifier unique within the repository that identifies the collection. This information is frequently included in citations in parentheses following the collection title.

For the repository holding the archival collection being used cite (repositories often provide a preferred form of citation in access tools such as archival finding aids):

  • Name of the repository.
  • Name of the parent institution or geographic location of the repository if necessary to disambiguate the repository’s name from potentially similar institutional names.

For materials found online, whether on the open web or in locally licensed databases, providing a uniform identifier, such as a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or Digital Object Identifier (DOI), that will lead readers of your work to the resource cited is a key element of your citation. This is covered in much greater detail , with examples, in CMOS17, 14.6 through 14.18.

In Bibliographies vs. Notes (Foot or End)

If you are using a bibliography and footnotes or endnotes (hereafter referred to as notes) in your research output, cite the archival collection and repository only, not the individual documents from the collection, in the bibliography. In your notes cite individual documents and use a consistent short form reference to the archival collection. This will allow your notes to remain concise and document-focused, while still providing your readers with information regarding the name and location of the archival collection in which you found the documents.

Bibliography examples:

Baker, George Pierce, Pageants Collection (DRA 16). Special Collections, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University.

Johnson, James Weldon, and Grace Nail Johnson Papers (JWJ MSS 49). Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) Records (MS 1965). Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Note (short form) examples:

1. Claude A. Barnett, letter to Grace Nail Johnson, 27 June 1942, Series I, Box 25, Folder 14, Johnson Papers.

2. The Oxford Historical Pageant Book of Words, 1907, Box 1, Folder 7, Baker Collection.

3. Executive Committee meeting minutes, 7 April 1988, Accession 2016-M-0061, Box 4, Folder 10, NRDC Records.

If using foot- or endnotes only (no bibliography) cite the archival collection fully in the first relevant note, using a consistent short-form reference to the archival collection citation in subsequent notes.

Notes only (no bibliography) examples:

1. Letter from Rudolf C. Bertheau to Ellsworth Huntington, 29 August 1938, Series IV, Box 29, Folder 296, Ellsworth Huntington Papers (MS 1), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

2. Report to the Board of Directors of the Human Betterment Foundation, 12 February 1935, Series IV, Box 29, Folder 299, Huntington Papers.

Citation Examples of Common Sources

Chicago Manual of Style

The following are useful links for assistance with using CMOS17:

Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide

A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers (this is Kate L. Turabian's encapsulation of the Chicago Style)

Purdue University OWL (Online Writing Lab) offers a helpful overview of the CMOS17

See the following sections of CMOS17 for additional guidance on specific portions or types of citations.

 For formatting of author names: Chapters 14.72 through 14.84.

► For formatting of titles: Chapters 14.85 through 14.99.

► For citing a book:

• General guidance: Chapters 14.100 through 14.102.

• With editors, translators, and other contributors: Chapters 14.103 through 14.105.

• With chapter, edition, volume, or series information: Chapters 14.106 through 14.126.

• Facts concerning publication: Chapters 14.127 through 14.146.

• Citing ebooks: Chapters 14.159 through 14.163.

Preferred Citations for Yale Special Collections Repositories

Use the following form of each repository's name in formulating your citations to materials from Yale's special collections:

Arts Library Special Collections 

► Special Collections, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University.

Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library 

► Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

► Or in some cases credit a Beinecke collection before the library's citation - see the bottom of the Beinecke's "Copyright Questions" page for more information.

Divinity Special Collections

► Special Collections, Yale Divinity School Library.

Law Library Rare Book Collection

► Rare Book Collection, Lillian Goldman Law Library, Yale Law School.

Lewis Walpole Library

► The Lewis Walpole Library, Yale University.

Manuscripts and Archives

► Manuscripts and Archives, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.

Medical Historical Library

► Medical Historical Library, Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library.

Music Library Special Collections

► Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University.

Yale Center for British Art

► Yale Center for British Art, Institutional Archives.

► Yale Center for British Art, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Citation Management Tools

You may already have a software program or a system for keeping track of your sources, but, if not, you will want to think about what way of organizing your research will work best for you this coming year. The Yale Library has licenses to certain citation management tools, and there are also free tools on the web for managing your citations. Probably the two most useful tools to consider are:

► Zotero

• This is a free web tool used by many historians and other researchers.

► RefWorks 

• This is a resource licensed by the Yale Library; you will need to use your Yale e-mail address to create an account.

For more information and an overview of several of the resources that are available, see our citation management guide.