Skip to Main Content

Laidlaw Scholars Guide to Citation Justice and Citation Practice

Citing Sources

Recommended Reading: Citation Justice & Indigenous Citation Practice

Introduction to Citation Justice and Indigenous Citation Practice

Much of what you will find here on indigenous citation practice comes from research guides created by the Xwi7xwa Library at the University of British Columbia. From their website: "Xwi7xwa Library is a centre for academic and community Indigenous scholarship. Its collections and services reflect Aboriginal approaches to teaching, learning, and research." Some useful guides in their collection:

Also created at the University of British Columbia, but not in the Xwi7xwa Library, is this guide to First Nations and Indigenous Art.

Creating Item Descriptions

General Information

Generally Archival Collections have their own preferred citation style that they make clear on their website or in their online collections portal. However, because most items in archival collections are unpublished and unique you may need to create an item description.
The purpose of an item description is to convey, as specifically as possible, the nature of the work being referenced (its title and/or descriptive information), when it was created, and the identity of its creators. While there are often specific formats for conveying this information offered by the archive caring for the collection, the most important thing is to provide complete and accurate information. 
If you need to provide information in your own words (as with a descriptive image caption when a title is not provided), it is customary to provide the information surrounded by [brackets.]

Barnard Archives offers these preferred citations for its collections: 

Archival materials:
Identification of Specific Item; Date (if known); Collection number - Collection name, inclusive dates; Box and Folder; Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library, Barnard College.

Photographic or A/V archival materials:
Subject; Location/Description; Date (if known); Collection number - Collection name, inclusive dates (if applicable); Barnard Archives and Special Collections, Barnard Library, Barnard College

Captions: "Courtesy of the Barnard Archives and Special Collections."

Selected Item Description Forms:

Artwork (Illustration, Photograph, etc.):
Artist Name, Title of Work, YYYY, Medium of work,
Example: Auguste Rodin, The Thinker,1880-81. Bronze sculpture,

Author Name to Recipient Name; DD Month YYYY,
Example: James Oglethorpe to the Trustees, 13 January 1733,

Author Name, memorandum, YYYY,
Example: Alvin Johnson, memorandum, 1937,

Author Name, Name of Pamphlet (Location of Publisher, State: Publisher Name, YYYY),
Example: Hazel V. Clark, Mesopotamia: Between Two Rivers (Mesopotamia, OH: Trumbull County Historical Society, 1957),

Newspaper Article:
Author Name, “Title of Article,” Name of Newspaper, Month DD, YYYY,
Example: Mike Royko, “Next Time, Dan, Take Aim at Arnold,” Chicago Tribune, September 23, 1992,

Artist Name, Title of Image on Slide (Publisher Location, State: Publisher Name, Date) slide type,
Example: Louis J. Mihalyi, Landscapes of Zambia, Central Africa (Santa Barbara, CA: Visual Education, 1975), 35mm slides, 40 frames.

Speaker Name, “Title of Speech” (speech, Location where Given, Town, State, Month DD, YYYY),
Example: Stacy D’Erasmo, “The Craft and Career of Writing” (speech, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, April 26, 2000),

Unpublished Manuscript:
Author Name, “Title of Manuscript” (unpublished manuscript, Month DD, YYYY),
Example: Nora Bradburn, “Watch Crystals and the Mohs Scale” (unpublished manuscript, December 3, 2008),
For additional examples please consult: