Copying and Publishing Public Records – How to Cite Public Records
Public records that are published or exhibited, or referred to in papers or publications require accurate citations. A citation that includes the elements and formats outlined below provides contextual information about the records referred to, and allows them to be found by other researchers. Records that have been cited accurately can be retrieved quickly, saving considerable time and effort.
The information you need for a citation can be obtained from the record and from PROV’s online catalogue. In the physical record example below, the Item description can be found on the letter being cited, and the rest of the elements can be found on PROV’s online catalogue. In the digital record examples below all the information can be found on the relevant Sub-Item and Item Details pages on PROV’s online catalogue.
The following examples set out a full citation format, which contains contextual information about a record, including the government agency that created it, and a brief citation format. PROV recommends the use of the full citation format, however, the brief citation format contains the minimum information required to identify a record.
Physical records exist in various physical forms, such as a group of folios fastened together to form a file, volumes, cards, maps, photographs, films, or sound recordings.
PROV, VA 672 Premier’s Office, VPRS 1163/P1 Inwards Correspondence Files, Unit 744, 1883/291 letter re. remedy for pauperism.
PROV, VPRS 1163/P1, Unit 744, 1883/291.
Digitised Copies of Physical Records
If you are citing a digitised copy of a physical record held by PROV cite the physical record that the copy was made from, and add the fact that is was a digitised copy, and the date it was viewed online, as shown in this example of a brief citation:
PROV, VPRS 1163/P1, Unit 744, 1883/291 (digitised copy, viewed online 1 August 2005)
Digital records, such as word processing and text files, emails, and images, exist online.
Full Citation of an Item
PROV, VA 673 Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951- 1992), VPRS 6347/P4 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System, Item 2005F1, File S1 teal 744.
Brief Citation of an Item
PROV, VPRS 6347/P4, Item 2005F1, File S1 teal 744
Full Citation of a Sub-Item
PROV, VA 673 Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951- 1992), VPRS 6347/P4 General Correspondence Files, Annual Single Number System, Sub-Item RecS16, PROS 99/007 RecS16.
Brief Citation of a Sub-Item
PROV, VPRS 6347/P4, Sub-Item RecS16, PROS 99/007 RecS16.
When citing a Sub-Item it is not necessary to cite Item details as there is enough metadata associated with digital Sub-Items for them to be uniquely identified.
Citation Elements Explained
Physical Record Example
Digital Record Example
|Archival Authority that holds the records||Public Record Office Victoria – cite as PROV||Public Record Office Victoria – cite as PROV|
|Agency that created or maintained the record[Agency Number][Agency Title]||VA 672 Premier’s Office||VA 673 Department of Transport|
|Series and Consignment of which the record cited is part [Series and Consignment Numbers] [Series Title]||VPRS 1163/P1 Inward Correspondence Files||VPRS 6347/P4 General Correspondence|
|Unit e.g. a box, volume, bundle, plan press drawer[Unit Number]||Unit 744||[digital records do not have Units]|
|Item e.g. a map, plan, sound recording, photograph, physical file, digital file [See examples]||1883/291[Item Description] letter re remedy for pauperism [Item Description]||2005F1 [Item Number], File S1 teal [Item Title]|
|Sub-ItemDigital file contents [See examples]||[Sub-Item information is not required for physical records]||Rec S16 [Sub-Item Number], PROS 99/007 Rec S16 [Sub-Item Title]|
Please note: the information in square brackets is included in these examples for explanatory purposes and is not required in the citation itself.
For more information about the archival elements of a citation see PROVguide 66 PROV’s Archival Control Model.
For more information about the management and components of digital records go to: http://www.prov.vic.gov.au/vers/vers/default.htm
For Help with Citations Contact PROV
Tel: 1800 657 452 (toll free in Australia)