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Visual Literacy

Introduction

These rules can be used to attribute sources in presentations, papers, or other formats that do not require a specific publication style (such as MLA or APA style). They can help standardize your attribution methods so that your readers can more easily find the sources to which you refer. There is no official order to of the elements that compose an attribution, but being consistent throughout your paper or presentation will help the reader understand your citations. Remember, the goal of attributing sources or providing a list of references is to give credit to the creator of a work and to help the reader locate the original source. An attribution or citation should simply provide enough information so that a user can track down the original source. When dealing with images found online, copyright can become a confusing issue, but generally, “fair use” laws allow you to use appropriated images in a limited fashion for educational purposes. Always do your best to credit the creator of a work and follow the licensing terms that they may have proposed. It is also nice to send a message to the creator of an online work to let them know you are using it.

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What Images Should I Cite?

Any images you plan to use in a scholarly work should be cited and/or attributed to the copyright holder of the work. 

This includes images that are obtained from the web or scanned from a print source such as: photographs, paintings, tables, graphs, and other illustrations from primary or secondary source materials.

NOTE: Images from royalty free clip art, such as the clip art available in Microsoft Word or Power Point, do not need to be cited. Works in the public domain technically do not need to be cited either, but doing so can help your readers find the original work so that they may better understand your references.

Attribution Best Practices for Works of Visual Art

Works of Visual Art

Provide the creator of the work, the title of the work, the year(s) when it was composed/completed, the materials involved in creating the work, and the institution that houses the work. If you are using an image of a work in your paper or presentation, make sure to provide the original source of the image (if it is not your own). If you are only focusing on part of a work, make sure to let your readers know (“Detail of…”).

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Works of Visual Art Online

Provide the creator of the work, the title of the work, the year(s) it was composed/completed, the materials involved in creating the work, the date the work was retrieved, and the website from which the work was retrieved (a hyperlink if the format allows). An image of a work of art should be credited to the photographer (videographer, etc.) along with the copyright information (if available). If you are only focusing on part of a work, make sure to let your readers know (“Detail of…”).

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Creative Commons

Creative Commons images may be found on a number of websites. Keep any copyright notices of the work intact. Provide the creator’s name, the title of the work, the date the work was published, and a link back to (or the URL of) the original source. Also, make sure to include a statement declaring the Creative Commons status of the image and, if the format allows, use that statement to link to the official page for the Creative Commons license page provided by the creator.

For example:

praying mantis by Elizabeth Swider (2010) (CC-BY 3.0)

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Flickr Images

Provide the creator’s name, the title of the work, the date the work was published, and a link back to (or the URL of) the original source. Also, make sure to include a statement declaring the copyright status of the image. Many of the photographs on Flickr are published under the Creative Commons license. In this case, provide the Creative Commons status of the image (and a link to the Creative Commons license page provided by the creator if the format allows). This Creative Commons status of a Flickr image is usually located to the right of the image under the “License” header.

For example:

Science Library, UC Irvine by askpang, 2007 (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Google Images

Rather than attribute an image to Google Images, look for attribution information on the page that actually hosts the image.

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YouTube and other online videos

There currently seem to be no official rules for citing YouTube videos in presentations, on webstes, or in many other formats. This is likely because YouTube videos are usually shared in the form of embedded players; and each embedded player generally has the name of the uploader, the title of the piece, and it links back to the original source hosted on YouTube. This qualifies as a sort of citation by default. If you provide references to a YouTube video in a work that does not include the actual video, it is probably a good idea to provide a URL which will allow the reader/viewer to more easily find that work. This practice is also a good idea for videos hosted by other media hosting websites (Vimeo, Myspace, Blip.tv, etc.).

about this guide

Additional Note:

This guide was last updated by Alex Jenkins on May 12, 2011. The rules above were created with the intention of providing basic citation information. There is no official set of rules for citing works found and/or composed on the internet, so this guide synthesizes information gathered from several sources. For example, information on citing Creative Commons images was taken directly from the Creative Commons website, while information on citing Flickr Images was gathered from several sources and synthesized in order to be consistant with the more official citation formats. Bear in mind that the primary purpose of citing references is to help a reader/viewer find the original sources.

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Wikimedia Commons

Provide the creator’s name, the title of the work, the date the work was published, and a link back to (or the URL of) the original source. Also, make sure to include a statement declaring the Creative Commons status of the image (and a link to the same Creative Commons license page provided by the creator if the format allows). The Creative Commons status of an image held in the Wikimedia Commons is usually located below the image under the “License” heading).

For Example:

Featherbed Alley Printshop (2006) by Aodhdubh (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Ask the Librarian?

Jill Luedke's picture
Jill Luedke
Contact:
Paley Library, Rm. 317, (3rd floor, west side)
(215) 204-3166
jluedke@temple.edu