I’m writing an academic document and I can’t seem to find any specific mention of how to refer to a personal work log. Work logs are essentially to be published journals documenting what happened when in a computing project (but not published in an official journal).

The closest thing according to IEEE referencing style guide from the University of York is possibly a weblog. What is the best citation type for such a work log?

  • 4
    Would you really cite your own unpublished logs? I'd think you should just describe what you did. Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 3:25
  • 1
    What do you mean exactly by "non-published"? Is it online or otherwise available to the general public? Can you send a copy on request? Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 6:27
  • amended for clarity
    – peter_gent
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 14:44
  • It seems to me that you are describing the kind of content people often publish as tech reports, so that they can then reference them in "regular" publications. In which case, you could consider doing just that.
    – ff524
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 14:49
  • it could also be described as an informal log of everything that happened in a project.
    – peter_gent
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 16:10

1 Answer 1


If it's not published anywhere, be it in a peer-reviewed journal, conference proceedings, some book or whitepaper, then don't put it as a reference.

You could write,

According to our work log, we first frobnicated the machine, …

The idea of including references is for interested readers to follow up on them. If it's some internal document nobody will ever see, then it does not qualify as a reference. It also makes it impossible for peer review to happen: you could claim anything and back it up with a reference to your internal document—and nobody could ever (dis)prove it.

The APA blog has an entry on that subject (emphasis mine):

Likewise, if you have other nonretrievable sources (personal communications, like personal e-mail and phone calls), these do not get reference list entries either (although they do receive in-text citations, because they involve other people than just yourself).

  • seems irrelevant to the IEEE standard.
    – peter_gent
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 14:45
  • A weblog is publicly available. Your work log is not. If it's not published somewhere, it's not suitable as a reference--regardless of which style guide you follow. The link you added even says, "Only published works, those due for publication and unpublished work available in a library or archive are included in citations".
    – user13907
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 14:48
  • There are other citation styles where personal communications do appear in the reference list. I occasionally see this in mathematics papers, though mostly in older ones. But I agree that citing something which isn't publicly available and doesn't involve other people seems unnecessary. Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 15:04
  • In this case it will be submitted with the main report as a separate submission. I guess that's not publicly available per se but is it possible to reference it ?
    – peter_gent
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 19:53

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