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Primary Sources

This guide is to help users to identify, locate, and use primary sources in their research.

Fair Use & Copyright

Copyright Notice

© Copyright Notice (Please note that the copyright notice links to a PDF from the government page about copyright and is not affiliated with NYU.)


Bibliographic and Footnote Style Guide

See the Citation Style LibGuide for assistance with citations and formatting styles.

Citing and Quoting from Unpublished Manuscripts and Archival Collections

It is important to take accurate notes when conducting research in unpublished manuscripts and archival material so you can find items again if you need to, and so other researchers will be able to go back to the source when following your footnote or bibliography entry.

  • Accurately record the collection name, box number, folder number and document details when taking notes.  If you are citing correspondence, record the author as well as the recipient, and the date of the letter, if known.
  • Format your citations as instructed in the finding aid for the collection.
  • If you wish to quote from unpublished materials in a special library collection, you must request permission from the repository as well as from the appropriate copyright holders.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 NYU Special Collections. 
  • Information about copyright holders and how to locate them can be found in the WATCH File, a joint project of the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at UT, Austin and the University of Reading in the UK.