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Primary Sources: Across Disciplines

Montgomery Library's Guide to Primary Sources

Fair Use and Copyright

General information and answers to specific copyright questions may be found using the following sources:

Copyright--New York University Research Guide

Digital Copyright Slider

United States Copyright Office

Cornell University's Copyright Information Center

Copyright Notice



See Citations under the Research Basics--All Subjects LibGuide for help with citation styles and formatting.

Citing Unpublished Manuscripts

Citing documents from collections of unpublished manuscript sources is more complicated than citing published sources. A researcher needs to include as much identifying information as possible and to be formatted consistently. When taking notes from this kind of source, it is vital to accurately record any quotes extracted from the document and note the location. The researcher benefits in cultivating this discipline. He or she can find items again if there is a need to return to the source for verification or if a question occurs during writing. Other researchers, by going directly to the source to look at the whole text, can test the evidence on which your conclusions were based and determine whether or not your use of the source was valid.

A researcher will need to cite the author(s), date, the title or type of document (letter, diary, journal, report, business ledger, or photograph, for example), the collection's name, and the depository's name. If a manuscript come from an archival document box, note the box number and file number.

Many times the collection's depository will have a suggested citation format. You may use its suggestion.

If you wish to quote from unpublished materials in a special library collection, you must request permission from the repository as well as from the appropriate copyright holders. It is often wise to check with archivists before quoting to make sure there are no use restrictions. Contact A.B. Colvin Baptist Collection and Archives.