Letters and emails can be valuable sources of information when writing an essay, but they\u2019re not published sources. So, how do you cite personal communications in an essay? And should they appear in the reference list? In this post, we look at how this works in Chicago referencing.\r\nWhen to Cite Personal Communications\r\nPersonal communications include a range of things, such as:\r\n\r\n \tPersonal letters, emails, or text messages\r\n \tPhone or face-to-face conversations\r\n \tMemos and other internal communications\r\n \tPrivate messages on social media\r\n\r\nThese are not common sources in academic writing, but you can cite them if required (e.g., if you contact an expert in your field with a question and want to cite their answer). However, the rules for citing personal communications are a little different than for published sources. The exact format will also depend on the version of Chicago referencing you\u2019re using.\r\nCiting Personal Communications with Footnote Referencing\r\nIn Chicago note and bibliography referencing, the standard format for citing personal communications in a footnote is:\r\nn. Name of Author, medium of message, date of communication.\r\nFor example, we could cite an email as follows:\r\n1. John Smith, email to author, December 18, 2019.\r\nHere, we show that the source is a piece of personal correspondence with the phrase "email to author." The key is adapting this to match the medium of the message (e.g., a traditional letter would be noted as "letter to author," or a phone interview would be "telephone conversation with author").\r\nPersonal Communications in Author\u2013Date Referencing\r\nThe format for citing personal communications in Chicago author\u2013date referencing is similar to the one shown above for footnote citations. The only difference is that you place the citation in brackets within the main text rather than in a footnote at the bottom of the page. For example:\r\nThe head of the company has denied the allegations and any knowledge of wrongdoing (John Smith, Twitter direct message to author, January 15, 2020).\r\nAs with footnote citations, the medium should reflect the type of communication used (e.g., email, letter, phone call, social media).\r\nPersonal Correspondence in the Reference List\r\nSince personal communications are \u2013 by definition \u2013 not publicly available, you do not usually need to include them in the reference list or bibliography at the end of your document. However, some universities prefer you to include all sources in your reference list, including personal correspondence, so you may want to check this with your lecturer or supervisor.\r\n\r\nAnd if you\u2019d like an expert to check the referencing in your work is clear and consistent, why not submit a document for proofreading today?