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Archives In Brief 10 - Citing State archives

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When you reproduce or refer to State archives in a publication or paper, you should cite them accurately. This will help other researchers to use them in the future.

An archives citation is different from a reference to a publication like a book. Archives are maintained in the order in which they were created and kept. An individual record item is catalogued as part of a record series that was created and maintained by an agency in the conduct of its business, reflecting its recordkeeping systems at the time.

The method of citation described here results from recent changes to State Records' cataloguing practice and is the same as the method suggested by the National Archives of Australia.

An archives citation identifies:

  • the archives institution holding the record (State Records, in the case of NSW State archives)
  • (optional) the agency that created the record
  • the record series of which the record is part
  • the record item itself, and
  • (optional) a copy reference, such as a microfilm reel number, when you viewed the record using such a copy.

Please contact us if you need more information about citing State archives.

Finding the information for a citation

To make it easier to locate a series number we have compiled a list of some of the most frequently used record series in the reading room. If the series you have used is not listed you can ask us to provide the number for you.

You can find the details you need for a citation in Archives Investigator, our online archives information and access system, if the record item is listed there. Alternatively use the details available in our published guides and the item lists in our reading room. Please ask one of the archivists for help if you are unfamiliar with these sources or if you need to consult another finding aid.

Abbreviated and expanded citations

An abbreviated citation provides the essential details for identifying a record item and is generally all that is required. Sometimes, however, it is helpful to give an expanded citation, for example in a full biography, or if you are using only footnotes and no bibliography, the first time you cite an item or an item from a particular series (see below).

Examples

Abbreviated
SRNSW: NRS 3829, [5/17427.2]
Expanded
State Records NSW: Department of Education; NRS 3829, School files, 1876-1979; [5/17427.2] Randwick Public School, 1893-1908

Abbreviated
SRNSW: NRS 4354 H.4037/1
Expanded
State Records NSW: Department of Public Works; NRS 4354, Health building files [H files], 1935–1991; H.4037/1 Bloomfield Hospital, Orange, water supply (Mins. 1–128), 1957–59

Abbreviated
SRNSW: NRS 12212 [4/4510 p. 014-014a] COD 13, Reel 713, Fiche 786 
Expanded
State Records NSW: Principal Superintendent of Convicts; NRS 12212, Registers of convicts applications to marry, 1825-51; [4/4510 p. 014-014a] James Smith per Hooghley and Mary Murphy, per Brittannia, 14 Aug 1837; COD 13, Reel 713, Fiche 786

Abbreviated
SRNSW: NRS 12951 1723
Expanded
State Records NSW: Registrar General, Companies Branch; NRS 12951, Documents lodged under Companies Acts [Company Packets], 1875-1975; [3/5733] 1723 Tung Wah Newspaper Co [Company] Ltd [Limited], 1898-1939

Abbreviated
SRNSW: NRS 13360 Series 4-152266 
Expanded
State Records NSW: Supreme Court of NSW, Probate Division; NRS 13660, Probate packets; Series 4-152266 James Smith Hollisen - Date of Death 15/12/1927, Granted On 26/06/1928

Using the elements in a citation

Please note the standard punctuation used to separate the elements.

Element Abbreviated citation Expanded citation
Archives institution SRNSW: State Records NSW:
Note: 'SRNSW' may be used after a first citation or where it appears in a list of abbreviations used
Creating agency Not used Colonial Secretary;
Supreme Court of NSW, Probate Division;
Note: where the record series was created by more than one agency, cite the agency whose date range corresponds to the date of the record item being cited
Record series

Use series number only

Use series number, title and date range
NRS 435 NRS 4354, Health building files [H files], 1935-91;
NRS 897 NRS 897, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825;
NRS 12212 NRS 12212, Registers of convicts applications to marry, 1825-51;
NRS 15905 NRS 15905, Nominal Roll of the First Railway Section, Australian Imperial Expeditionary Forces (AIF), 1917-20;
NRS 13660 NRS 13660, Probate packets;
Note: a series number can have an NRS (New South Wales Records Series) prefix.
Record item Use item number or control symbol only
Use item number or control symbol, item title or description, and item date or date range
H.4037/1 H.4037/1 Bloomfield Hospital, Orange, water supply (Mins. 1-128), 1957-59
[4/1836B pp 941-944] No 212 [4/1836B pp 941-944] No 212 Memorial re Thomas Connell, 7 August 1824;
[4/4510 p 014-014a] [4/4510 p 014-014a] James Smith per Hooghley and Mary Murphy per Brittania, 14 Aug 1837;
[1] p 044 [1] p044 William Childs
Series 4-152266 Series 4/152266 James Smith Hollisen - Date of Death 15/12/1927, Granted on 26/06/1928
Copy reference COD, Fiche, Reel Use COD, Reel, Fiche numbers
Fiche 3083 Fiche 3083
COD 13, Reel 713, Fiche 786 COD 13, Reel 713, Fiche 786
Reel 3050 Reel 3050

Multiple items from the same series in an expanded citation

If you are citing several record items from the same series it is not necessary to repeat all the elements of an expanded citation. The following format is appropriate in these circumstances:

State Records NSW: Colonial Secretary; NRS 897, Main series of letters received, 1788-1825; items

  • [4/1850 p.65] Petition for mitigation of sentence, 1817; Fiche 3175
  • [4/1836B pp 941-944] No 212 Memorial re Thomas Connell, 7 August 1824; Fiche 3083

© State of New South Wales through the State Records Authority, 2003.
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