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Using Archives & Manuscripts

Overview of using archives and manuscripts, including tips for research visits, handling materials, and quoting and citing in academic work or publications.

Bibliographic and Footnote Style Guide

Consult the NYU Libraries Citation Style Guide for citation and bibliography assistance. Includes APA, MLA, and Chicago style examples.

Archival Boxes

Archival boxes on a range of shelves.

Archival boxes on the shelves in the Tamiment Library.

Citing and Quoting from Unpublished Manuscripts and Archival Collections

Best Practices:

  • It is important to take accurate notes when doing research in unpublished manuscripts and archival material so you can find items again if you need to, and so other researchers will be able to go back to the source when following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, the recipient, and the date of the letter, if known.
  • Format your citations as instructed in the finding aid for the collection.

Requesting Permission: 

If you wish to quote from unpublished materials in a special library collection, you must request permission from the repository as well as from the appropriate copyright holders.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.

Fair Use & Copyright