Research & Referencing

A guide for students and staff on referencing, copyright, creative commons and more



How to reference personal communications

Types of Resources

Personal communications may include:

  • unpublished lecture notes

  • letters

  • memos

  • personal interviews

  • telephone conversations

  • emails

  • messages from non-archived discussion groups or bulletin boards

Personal Communication

As they do not provide recoverable data, personal communications are not included in the references list.


Cite personal communications in-text only. Give the initials as well as the surname of the communicator, and provide as exact a date as possible.

e.g. (J. Smith, personal communication, August 15, 2009)

e.g. J. Smith (personal communication, August 15, 2009) notes that...

e.g. The novelist has repeated this idea recently (Salman Rushdie, personal communication, May 1, 1995).