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Interviews and Personal Communication

Summary:

This section contains information on The Chicago Manual of Style method of document formatting and citation. These resources follow the seventeenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style, which was issued in 2017.

In citations for interviews and personal communications, the name of the person interviewed or the person from whom the communication is received should be listed first. This is followed by the name of the interviewer or recipient, if given, and supplemented by details regarding the place and date of the interview/communication. Unpublished interviews and personal communications (such as face-to-face or telephone conversations, letters, emails, or text messages) are best cited in-text or in notes rather than in the bibliography. Published interviews should be cited like periodical articles or book chapters.

Interviews with anonymous sources can be cited without including the name of the source–e.g. “anonymous informant #3” or “recreational psilocybin user”–but you must explain in the text why you are not giving the name of your source.

Unpublished Interviews

Note: If the interview is unpublished, but there is a transcript or recording available, you should include information as to where said transcript/recording can be found. This can be as simple as a URL, or as complex as a location in an institutional archive; the latter is shown in the example below.

N:

1. Alex Smith (retired plumber) in discussion with the author, January 2017.
2. Frederick L. Hovde, interview by Robert B. Eckles, July 23, 1972, interview 8, transcript and recording, Purdue University Office of Publications Oral History Program collection, MSO 2, Series 1, Sub-Series 16, File 8, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections.

Published or Broadcast Interviews

An interview published in a print medium is cited much like a periodical, as seen in the first example. An interview broadcast on television, radio, or similar has its own format, as follows:

N:

3. Firstname Lastname, interview by Firstname Lastname, Title of Broadcasting Program, Publisher, date.

B:

Lastname Firstname. Title of Broadcasting Program. By Firstname Lastname. Publisher, date.

This is shown in the second example.

N:

4. Natasha Trethewy, “Dissection and Other Kinds of Love,” interview by Lindsey Alexander, Sycamore Review, no. 24 (Winter/Spring 2012): 35.
5. Carrie Rodriguez, interview by Cuz Frost, Acoustic Café, 88.3 WGWG FM, November 20, 2008.

B:

Trethewy, Natasha. “Dissection and Other Kinds of Love.” By Lindsey Alexander. Sycamore Review, no. 24 (Winter/Spring 2012): 31-45.
Rodriguez, Carrie. Acoustic Café. By Cuz Frost. 88.3 WGWG FM, November 20, 2008.

Personal Communications

Personal communications are usually referenced within the text or a note. They rarely appear as bibliographic entries. Do not include the e-mail address or other contact information through which the communication was conducted unless it is necessary and you have the source’s permission.

N:

1. Patricia Burns, email message to author, December 15, 2017.