APA Referencing: Personal communications & archival materials

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Basic format to reference personal communications

  • Personal Communications include private letters, memos, emails from unarchived sources, personal interviews, telephone conversations, and similar resources. As these sources do not provide recoverable data, Personal Communications are not included in the Reference List.
  • Cite Personal Communications in-text only.
  • In your in-text citation of a Personal Communication give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.
  • Use your judgment in citing other electronic forms, like Twitter or SMS Texts, as Personal Communications. Remember that what you cite should have scholarly relevance.
  • Some forms of Personal Communications are recoverable, and these should be referenced as Archival Materials, see examples in the 'Archival Materials' section below.

Referencing personal communication: Examples

Material Type In-Text Example Reference List Example
Email                           An email (J. W. Ayers, personal communication, September 2, 2011) confirming that results are accurate ... You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.
Interview During an interview conducted on October 11, 2011, Professor Peter Dawkins stated that …
OR
The Vice Chancellor's statement was confirmed during an interview (P. Dawkins, personal communication, October 11, 2011).

You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.

This example is about referencing information from an interview that you have conducted. If you use published interviews conducted by other people cite them as a 'Sound Recording' or a 'Video Recording'. See the 'Multi-Media Materials' page in this guide for examples. See the 'Archival Materials' section below for examples of citing interviews held in an Archive or Respository.

 Letter In a letter dated October 17, 2011, Ben Cork stated that ...
OR
Ben Cork expressed sincere regret in his letter (personal communication, October 17, 2011) ...
You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.
Telephone call During a phone interview conducted on October 11, 2011, Professor Sally Richards stated that ...
OR
The Vice Chancellor's statement was confirmed during a phone interview (S. Richards, personal communication, October 11, 2011).
You do not need to include an entry in the Reference List.

 

Basic format to reference archival materials

The basics of a reference list entry for an archival document:

  • Author or authors. The surname is followed by first initials.
  • Year and document date (in round brackets).
  • Title of material (in italics).
  • Description of material [in square brackets].
  • Archival number, box and file numbers.
  • Name of archive or repository.
  • Location.
  • The first line of each citation is left adjusted. Every subsequent line is indented 5-7 spaces.

Please note:

  • Archival sources include letters, unpublished manuscripts, limited circulation brochures and pamphlets, in-house institutional and corporate documents, clippings, photographs and any other documents that are in the personal possession of an author, form part of an institutional collection, or are stored in an archive or repository.
  • In your reference list entry for an archival source, include as much information as is needed to help locate the archival material with reasonable ease within the Archive or Repository. If it is an online document from an Archive or Repository add the web address to the reference list entry, i.e. Retrieved from http://...

Referencing archival materials: Examples

Material Type In-Text Example Reference List Example
Letter from a government or institutional Archive or Repository (Frank, 1935)
OR
As Frank (1935) says ...

Frank, L. K. (1935, February 4). [Letter to Robert M. Ogden]. Rockefeller Archive Centre (GEB series 1.3, Box 371, Folder 3877), Tarrytown, NY.

Letter from an accessible private collection (Zacharius, 1953)

Zacharius, G. P. (1953, August 15). [Letter to William Rickel (W. Rickel, Trans.)]. Copy in possession of Hendrika Vande Kemp.

Collection of letters from an Archive or Repository

(Allport, G. W., 1930-1967, Allport to E. G. Wilstein, March 20, 1939)

(Allport, G. W., 1930-1967, E. G. Wilstein to Allport, December 26, 1937)

Allport, G. W. (1930-1967). Correspondence. Gordon W. Allport Papers (HUG 4118.10). Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, MA.

Unpublished papers, notes or lectures from an Archive, Repository or personal collection (Berliner, 1959) ...
OR
As discussed in Berliner (1959) ...

Berliner, A. (1959). Notes for a lecture on reminiscences of Wundt and Leipzig. Anna Berliner Memoirs (Box M50). Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH.  

Archival source for which the author or date is known but not stated on the document (Allport, 1937)

[Allport, A.?]. [ca. 1937]. Marion Taylor today - by the biographer. Unpublished manuscript, Marion Taylor Papers. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College, Cambridge, MA.

Use square brackets [ ] to indicate information that does not appear on the document. Use a question mark if there is uncertainty regarding names or dates, and use circa abbreviated to ca. to indicate estimated dates.

Archival Materials with a corporate author (Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs, 1949)

Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs. (1949, November 5-6). Meeting of Subcommittee on Mental Hygiene Personnel in School Programs. David Shakow Papers (M1360). Archives of the History of American Psychology, University of Akron, Akron, OH.

Interview recorded and available in an Archive or Repository (Smith, 1989)

Smith, M. B. (1989, August 12). Interview by C. A. Kiesler [Tape recording]. President's Oral History Project, American Psychological Association. APA Archives, Washington, DC.

Transcription of a recorded interview, where the recording is not accessible (Sparkman, 1973)

Sparkman, C. F. (1973). An oral history with Dr. Colley F. Sparkman/Interviewer: Orley B. Caudill. Mississippi Oral History Program (Vol. 289), University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg.

Do not include the U.S. state name in the location if it is part of the university name.
Newspaper article in an Archive, Repository or personal collection

("Psychoanalysis institute," 1948)

Use a shortened title (or full title if it is short) enclosed in double quotation marks.

Psychoanalysis institute to open in the new year. (1948, September 18). [Clipping from an unidentified Dayton, OH newspaper]. Copy in possession of the author.

Use the first word of the title to place this reference in the alphabetical sequence of your reference list.
Historical publication such as a brochure or pamphlet (Sci-Art Publishers, 1935)

Sci-Art Publishers. (1935). Sci-Art Publications [Brochure]. Cambridge, MA: Author. C. J. Roback Papers (HUGFP 104.50, Box 2, Folder "Miscellaneous Psychology Materials"). Harvard University Archives, Cambridge, MA.

Photographs held in an Archive, Repository or personal collection (Kroeber, 1911)

 Kroeber, A. L. (1911, September). Ishi, full face [Photograph]. Ethnographic Photographs of California Indian and Sonora Indian Subjects by Alfred L. Kroeber, 1901-1930 (4690, Container "Yahi," Catalogue 15-5402). Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Berkeley, CA.