Citing Special Collections Materials

To properly use Special Collections materials in your research, you must:

  1. Review our policies below for publishing and citing Special Collections materials
  2. Cite the material(s) correctly
  3. Complete the Intent to Publish form to notify us of new publications, if applicable

How to cite a primary source document

A basic citation of Special Collections materials follows this format:

[Item identification, name of collection]. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

A more detailed citation may be required depending on the citation style used. Archival materials used in your research should be cited with complete and accurate information.

If you have citation questions, please contact the appropriate Special Collections librarian using the table below.

Citation example

Consider the following detailed information about the Agreement regarding Stonewall Fire Company No. 3 document:

Document: “Agreement regarding Stonewall Fire Company No. 3,” written by Daniel C. Smith on April 21, 1886
Collection: George Fuermann “Texas & Houston” Collection, 1836-1988
Box: Box 5
Folder: Folder 20, Board of Alderman/City Council, 1886-1889
Repository: Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, Houston, Texas.

This item could be cited in the following ways:

MLA (Modern Language Association)
Smith, Daniel C. Agreement regarding Stonewall Fire Company No. 3. 21 April 1886. Box 5, Folder 20. George Fuermann “Texas & Houston” Collection, 1836-1988. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, Houston, TX.

Chicago/Turabian
Smith, Daniel C. “Agreement regarding Stonewall Fire Company No. 3,” 21 April 1886, Box 5, Folder 20, George Fuermann “Texas & Houston” Collection, 1836-1988, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, Houston, TX.

APA (American Psychological Association)
Smith, D. (1886, April 21). [Agreement regarding Stonewall Fire Company No. 3]. George Fuermann “Texas & Houston” Collection, 1836-1988, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, Houston, TX.

Citation format depends on the citation style selected by your instructor, the publication you are submitting to, and/or the discipline you are working in.

Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting.

Policies for publishing and citing Special Collections materials

  • Duplicates of Special Collections materials (including photocopies, scans, and photos) may be used without prior permission only for private study, scholarship, or research
  • Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections
  • Copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs
  • The researcher (you) has full responsibility for determining copyright status, obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form
  • You may not publish any portion of these materials without the written permission of the copyright holder, and you assume sole responsibility for any infringement of the literary rights, copyrights, or other rights which pertain to these materials
  • If you use Special Collections materials for purposes in excess of “fair use,” you may be liable for copyright infringement

For more information, please refer to the our copyright guide, or find the appropriate Special Collections librarian.