'Thunder Cape - Lake Superior' Library and Archives of Canada The History Site


Citations are one of the most important parts of an historical work. They provide the reader with the opportunity to evaluate the research, provide researchers with the opportunity to make use of the same sources, and enable the writer to give credit to others who informed the work.

Citations in historical works come in two general forms: footnotes and endnotes. Footnotes are found at the bottom of same page as the ciatation. Endnotes are found at the end of the work. Generally, it simply the personal choice of the writer whether footnotes or endnotes are used, although academic publications usually insist that a writer use the form they prefer. Popular publishers often use endnotes, as some readers find that footnotes interrupt the flow of the narrative.

While there are some variations from institution to institution or publisher to publisher, Chicago Manual of Style is often used as the preferred standard for historical citations:

Secondary Sources

In general, the format for citations of secondary sources follows the pattern of:


For footnotes or endnotes:

source author first name and last name, source title (publication place: publisher, date) page.

While the format for bibliographic entries follows the pattern of:

source author last name, first name. source title (publication place: publisher, date.)


Footnotes or endnotes:

source author first name and last name, "article title," journal title issue number (year): page.


source author last name, first name. "article title." journal title issue number (year): pages of article.

Primary Sources

Primary source citations can be a little more complicated. Different media require different pieces of information (for instance a map may have different catalogue information than that of a a memoire or collection of letters.) In adittion, different repositories use different cataloguing procedures, making more difficult to define a strict template for a citation.

In general, you will need to include the name of repository, the catalogue number and page number (if available) the name of the authors and the date of the source.


Footnotes or endnotes:

Person A to Person B, date. Collection of letters, record group number, volume, pages.


Archives name, record group number, record group name.

Remember, the purpose of a citation is make it possible for others to find the source you are referencing. Use common sense, and include any details that will make that task easier.

When in doubt, contact the repository to find out the best way of citing the material.

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