Mary Dudziak on the Legal History Blog just put in a plea for better citations to records in archives:
One citation had the author and recipient of a letter, and its date. That's all. The bibliography disclosed the collections consulted, so I could narrow it down to a couple of possible collections. But the citations contained no box or file numbers. It should have been easy to find the letter, but it was not in any of the files I examined.Of course, the less often recognized reason for fuller citations is to evaluate the source, in terms of physical characteristics, provenance, creator's veracity and skill, and more.
Dudziak encourages her readers to stand up to penny-pinching editors who gut citations, referring them to US and Canadian archival guidelines. They might want to check out Evidence Explained while they're at it.