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Footnote - Referencing Guide

Citing Personal Communications

Citing Personal Communications

Personal communications should be included in the text of your document, but they should not be included in your bibliography. It is recommended that permission is sought from the source/author of a personal communication if you wish to include quotes in your text. The details you need to include when referencing in text are:

 the date of the communication;

 whether the communication was in oral or written form;

 the affiliation of the person might also be included to better establish the relevance and authority of the citation (recommended).


In a conversation with a colleague from the School of Theology (Michael Owen 2002, oral communication, 7th August)...


As stated in a letter from B.J. Samuels, MD, in July 2002...


...the new research projects in anthropology were discussed in an email from Paul Smith, received on February 5, 2000. 

Do not include the email address of the author.

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

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.