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University of Newcastle Library Guides

Chicago B: Author-Date Style:  Personal comm

UON Library guide to Chicago B: Author-Date Style 17th edition

Personal communication


Personal communications may cover the following examples:

  • conversations (whether face-to-face or by telephone)
  • private letters
  • private contracts
  • wills
  • email or text messages
  • private messages shared through social media and received by the author.

Personal communications are usually run into the text or given in a parenthetical citation only. Reference list entries are not needed. Most such information can be referred to simply as a conversation, message, unpublished data, or the like; the medium may be mentioned if relevant. Initials may be used for first names.

An email address or the like belonging to an individual should be omitted. Should it be needed in a specific context, it must be cited only with the permission of its owner.

For examples:

In a conversation with the author on January 6, 2009, lobbyist Ann Adams admitted that . . .

Though inconclusive, a fifteen-second video shared with the author via Instagram by the subject’s family did suggest significant dementia.

... (Julie Cantor, pers. comm.) ...
... (Jonathan Lee, Facebook direct message to author, May 5, 2017) ...
... (Brenda Hasbrouck, text message to author, May 5, 2017) ...

... (C. R. Brown and M. B. Brown, unpublished data) ...


Reference list entries are not needed.

Be sure to check with your lecturer if these kinds of resources are suitable for use in your assignments.

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