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Chicago - Referencing Guide

Personal Communication


Personal communications include

  • AI generated text  e.g. ChatGPT
  • conversations
  • electronic bulletin boards
  • emails
  • interviews
  • letters
  • memos
  • messages from discussion lists
  • online chats
  • personal interviews
  • telephone conversations
  • text messages

 Do not include references for personal communications in a reference list, as they are unpublished, and do not contain recoverable data.

 Cite personal communications in the text only.

 Personal communication is not given formal parenthetical references in the text of an essay or assignment - instead, references to this form of material are usually run into the text.

 Follow the In Text Citation Guidelines for Citing Personal Communication when referring to a personal communication in text.


Personal communications (in text)

In a telephone conversation with the author on October 12, 2005, Dr J. W. Mueller stated that ...
Professor Visser gave his reasons for closing the laboratory in an e-mail message to the author on January 16, 2004. The reasons given were...

Generative AI

Chicago style does not provide specific guidance on citing generative AI software, such as ChatGPT.

Please note: Some assignments do not permit the use of ChatGPT or other generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools. 

Confirm with your course lecturer what is permitted for a specific assignment prior to commencing.

Content from generative AI is a nonrecoverable source, as it can't be retrieved by the reader of your work.

Therefore, we recommend using the format for personal communications to cite any content generated by ChatGPT. 

  • Include the owner and name/description of the AI program, the way you received the content, and the full date you received or generated it.
  • Cite the source in notes only, do not include it in your bibliography.

In-text citation or note:

Number.Originator of the communication, medium, Day Month, Year.

1 OpenAI's ChatGPT AI language model, response to question from author, 7 February, 2023.   


Note: It is likely that the Information about using and referencing ChatGPT and other generative AI tools in assignments and publications will continue to be updated. We recommend checking this page regularly to keep up with any changes.

See the All Examples page for examples of in-text and reference list entries for specific resources such as articles, books, book chapters, and web pages.

Reference List Entries

For ease of use, this guide divides reference list entries into different formats.
Select the format you require from the Reference List Entries menu or select from the links below: