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Images: finding, using, and citing them: Attribution Best Practices

Attributing Images: essential elements

    The following list will help you to attribute an image or visual media source for presentations, papers, or other formats that do not require a specific publication style

    Try to include the following elements in your attribution

    • 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
    • the institution that houses the work
    • the date the image of the work was retrieved
    • the website from which the image of the work was retrieved (include a hyperlink if the format allows).


    Examples for some of the most common instances where attribution might be nessesary.

    Google Images

    Vincent Van Gogh, Starry Night, 1889 (oil paint on canvas). Retrieved 7.27.11:

    Flickr Images

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

    Wikimedia Commons

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



    • Don't attribute an image to Google Images, look for attribution information on the page that actually hosts the image to provide the essential elements listed above
    • The Creative Commons status of the image (and a link to the Creative Commons license page provided by the creator if the format allows) should be included.
    • 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
    • Cosistency is important, bear in mind that the primary purpose of citing references is to help a reader/viewer find the original sources.
    • Always do your best to credit the creator of a work and follow the licensing terms that they may have proposed