Skip to main content

Citing Sources

A guide to introduce how to cite your sources, avoid plagiarism, and use the right style guides to format your citations.

Citing Primary Sources and Special Collections

What is a Primary Source?

A primary source is a record of a person, event, or occurrence that was created by an eye-witness or participant's version of an event.  Primary sources allow researchers to gain better insight into historical figures and events.

Citing Primary Sources and Special Collections

When using MLA style (8th edition) there is no single way to cite materials discovered while using original or rare primary sources, but we recommend include the following information:

  1. Author or creator’s name (if applicable)
  2. Title of work
  3. Date
  4. Publication information (if applicable)
  5. Collection name
  6. Box and folder information (if applicable)
  7. Repository

Guides

MLA, 8th Edition

The following examples provide recommended citation format for citing commonly found electronic resources from SSU's Special Collections using MLA style, 8th Edition.

General template for electronic source
[Item, if appropriate]. [Publication date]. [Collection name], North Bay Digital Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University. [URL], [date retrieved].
Examples

Collection database (no specific item) 
Lime Kiln Digital Collection. 11 April 2006. North Bay Digital Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University. http://northbaydigital.sonoma.edu, 1 December 2007.

Digitized correspondence or document 
Correspondence, 21 May 1994, from George Greeott. 11 April 2006. Gaye LeBaron Digital Collection, North Bay Digital Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University. http://northbaydigital.sonoma.edu, 8 September 2007.

Digitized photograph 
Gravestone, Rupert B. Churchill. 11 April 2006. Earthquake of 1906 Digital Collection, North Bay Digital Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University. http://northbaydigital.sonoma.edu, 5 June 2007.

MLA, 8th Edition

The following examples provide provide recommended citation format for commonly found print resources from SSU's Special Collections using MLA style, 8th Edition.

General template for print source
[Author, if known]. [Title of item]. [Date of creation]. [Collection name], Special Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University.
Examples

General Item
Collection (no specific item) Leopold Justi Papers. Special Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University.

Correspondence 
Brown, Marguerite. Letter to Gerald Haslam. 8 November 1977. Dust Bowl Migration Archive, Special Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University.

Photograph 
LeBaron, John. Rose Gaffney. 1963. Gaye LeBaron Collection, Special Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University.

Advertisement 
German American Insurance Company, Advertisement. 1921. Nellie Tombs Papers, Special Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University.

Oral history 
Haan, Peter. Interview. 3 January 1979. North Bay Ethnic Archives, Special Collections, University Library, Sonoma State University.

Document from University Archives 
Commencement Program. 24 May 1987. University Archives, University Library, Sonoma State University.

Loading