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 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. 

 

Physical records

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.

 

Full citation

PROV, VA 672 Premier’s Office, VPRS 1163/P1 Inwards Correspondence Files, Unit 744, 1883/291 letter re. remedy for pauperism.

 

Brief citation

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

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

 

Elements Physical records
Archival Authority that holds the records Public Record Office Victoria – cite as PROV
Agency  that created or maintained the record [Agency number][Agency title] VA 672 Premier’s Office
Series and Consignment of which the record cited is part [Series and consignment numbers] [series title] VPRS 1163/P1 Inward Correspondence Files
Unit e.g. a box, volume, bundle, plan press drawer [unit number] Unit 744
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]
Sub-item digital file contents [see examples] [Sub-item information is not required for physical records]

Please note: the information in square brackets is included in these examples for explanatory purposes and is not required in the citation itself.

 

More Information

Refer to Copyright for researchers for information on copyright and publishing public records. 

You can download an Application for Permission to Publish form.