Citations in SNAC: Sources and Format

Citations in SNAC: Sources and Format

There is no list of authorized and/or preferred or required sources for source citations in SNAC authority records. SNAC editors should use their best judgement when selecting biographical and historical sources, then provide clear and current citations to those sources. Bibliographic citations are entered once on the Control tab in the SNAC record. When an editor wishes to cite a bibliographic source to support assertions throughout the record, they use the green Cite button to supply an abbreviated version of the citation when documenting the source of an individual assertion.

Some frequently cited sources in SNAC records include the following:

  • Biography Index
  • Who's Who sources
  • Wikipedia / Wikidata
  • Current Biography
  • Encyclopedia Britannica
  • National Cyclopedia of American Biography
  • Obituaries from newspapers, journals, annual reports, and the like

N.B.: When no known published source for biographical or historical information exists for an entity, SNAC editors should cite a finding aid or other descriptive resource as a source.

Source citation style:

SNAC editors should use MARC21 Authority 670 Source Data Found Note citation style:

Appendix 1: Source Citation Examples:


General Note: MARC 21/NACO conventions traditionally instruct for abbreviations for source titles in source citations (i.e., WwWA = Who was Who in America). For clarity, the general rule in SNAC will be to spell out titles for source citations.


General Note: Due to specific entry conventions in SNAC, some MARC21/NACO punctuation, especially subfield punctuation, may be omitted during input.


Citing print sources:


MARC21 Authority 670 Source Data Found:


Who was Who in America, v. 5: (Jerome Dorsett Doe; b. Jan. 20, 1915; d. Apr. 23, 1990; surgeon; president, Atlanta Area Surgeons’ Association)


Screen capture of Who Was Who Citation in SNAC editorial interface


Current Biography, May 1982 : (Junius B. Bird; b. September. 21, 1907, New York; d. April 2, 1982, Bronx, New York; explorer and archeologist; retired from the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, in 1975)


Screen capture of Current Biography citation in SNAC editorial interface


Citing web-based and electronic sources:


MARC21 Authority 670 Source Data Found:


1940 Federal Census via search, March 30, 2019 (Jane D. Doe; age 20; occupation: physician; currently residing in Atlanta, Ga.; spouse: John D. Doe)


Screen capture of Federal Census citation in SNAC editorial interface


New York Times via search, Apr. 2, 2019 obituary, Apr 4, 1982 (Junius Bouton Bird; b. Sept. 21, 1907, Rye, New York; d. [Apr. 2, 1982], Bronx, New York; archeologist; Curator Emeritus of South American archeology at the American Museum of Natural History)


Screen capture of New York Times citation in SNAC editorial interface


GenealogyBank Obituaries search via, July 1, 2019 (Julia Child; died 2004; spouse: Paul Child)


Screen capture of Family Search citation in SNAC editorial interface article for Julia Child, viewed Apr. 25, 2019 (Julia Carolyn Child (b. Juia McWilliams, August 15, 1912, Pasadena, California; d. August 13, 2004, Montecito, California; American chef, author and television personality; recognized for bringing French cuisine to the American public with her debut cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and her subsequent television programs, the most notable of which was The French Chef, which premiered in 1963)


Screen capture of Wikipedia citation in SNAC editorial interface article for Henry David Thoureau, viewed May 30, 2019 (Henry David Thoreau; b. Concord, Mass., July 12, 1817; d. May 6, 1862, Concord, Mass.; American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, yogi, and historian. A leading transcendentalist, Thoreau is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay "Civil Disobedience" (originally published as "Resistance to Civil Government"), an argument for disobedience to an unjust state. Thoreau's books, articles, essays, journals, and poetry amount to more than 20 volumes. Among his lasting contributions are his writings on natural history and philosophy, in which he anticipated the methods and findings of ecology and environmental history, two sources of modern-day environmentalism. His literary style interweaves close observation of nature, personal experience, pointed rhetoric, symbolic meanings, and historical lore, while displaying a poetic sensibility, philosophical austerity, and Yankee attention to practical detail. He was also deeply interested in the idea of survival in the face of hostile elements, historical change, and natural decay; at the same time he advocated abandoning waste and illusion in order to discover life's true essential needs. He was a lifelong abolitionist, delivering lectures that attacked the Fugitive Slave Law while praising the writings of Wendell Phillips and defending the abolitionist John Brown. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr.)


Screen capture of Wikipedia citation in SNAC editorial interface


Citing archival collections and other primary source materials:


John Alexander Pope papers, 1927: (diaries, letters, telegrams, radiograms, photographs, newspaper clippings, and photo scrapbook relating to Pope's experiences during the 1927 expedition to Baffin Island aboard the Schooner Effie M. Morrisey under the leadership of George Palmer Putnam; Pope lists Maurice Kellerman as the designated motion picture film maker for the expedition)


Screen capture of archival collection citation in SNAC editorial interface