Copyright is a complex issue. You will find good information on the following sites:
Style manuals and writing guides
e www.calstatela.edu/library/styleman.htm for a useful list of online and published guides
•Another website (US based) on Permission to publish can be found at :
This is a website from the publisher Wiley and is an excellent summary of the main issues facing authors.
For Australian authors see the information sheets at:
This website covers permission and copyright for Australian authors together with many other associated issues.
To ensure that you acknowledge other people's work adequately and accurately:
1. Acknowledge other people work, either with a reference (footnote/endnote) or if using a verbatim quote (more than 250/300 words) by obtaining permission.
2. Include sufficient and accurate information to enable other researchers/readers to find document.
********In addition, if I was quoting an aspect of a historical debate or from a number of authors on a particular issue I would acknowledge their work whether their books/articles/newspaper reports were in copyright or not...as a historian I feel obliged to acknowledge the writing of history that has preceded mine. Therefore I would add that the following is also important:
3. I acknowledge all works (in copyright or not) so as to meet my obligations as an historian and ensure that following historians can make use of my research and find the information that I have relied on in my publication.
If a work is no longer in copyright you can use it without permission, however see the above websites and notes as it may not be clear as to whether a work is out of copyright, has been reprinted and is now once again in copyright or has some other legal aspect attached to it so that it is in copyright.
My book Citing historical sources; a manual for family historians, is available from: