Citing Artifacts or Ephemeral Collections

UW Archives has relatively few items that are not manuscripts, or digital or film media. However, we do have a few “ephemeral” items, which describes collectible items saved from a particular event or moment in the past. Ephemera can be posters, T-shirts, pamphlets, a banner, a board game, and much more. For example, our box of plastic lawn flamingos from the 1979 Bascom Hill lawn flamingo prank is ephemera (see the example below). At UW-Archives, most ephemera will be within larger collections, whose unique identifier (accession, series, or UAC number) and box numbers you will use in your citation.

Artifact citation format

Last name, First name of item creator or distributor (can specify after name – see below). “Item title*”. Date produced or date included in collection description. Unique identifier (Series, Accession or UAC number), Box number (if applicable), Folder number (if applicable). University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives, Madison, WI.

*Or a brief description, in which case the description would not be in quotation marks


Varjian, Leon, donor. Lawn flamingos [plastic]. 1980. UAC 13, Box 7. University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives, Madison, WI.

Stauber, Lois, donor. Women’s Summer Fest shirt [T-shirt]. 1986. Accession 2016/340. University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives, Madison, WI.