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Program Teachers

Citing Primary Sources

How to Cite Digitized Primary Sources

Citing primary sources correctly is an important part of studying primary sources, for a number of reasons.

It is important--and ethically necessary--to provide full credit to the creators and publishers of documents, and to allow future scholars to find the source quickly and correctly. Citing a primary source is also crucial to critical thinking and analysis because it requires that the student think carefully about where the source came from, who made it, and in what context the student first discovered it.

Today, most students have access to primary sources through electronic means. The examples in this section serve as a guide to the most common formats and types available on the Library of Congress Web site.

Citation Examples for Library of Congress Digitized Primary Sources

Great variation exists among accepted styles, and different disciplines rely on different style guidelines. It is not possible to give a single example of documentation for the digitized materials available on the Library of Congress Web site. The examples in this section use style guidelines that are commonly used in history (Chicago) and language arts (MLA) disciplines.