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Digital images

This guide provides links to image databases and resources to help you find and effectively use digital images in your scholarly work.

Attribution vs Citation

The words "attribution" and "citation" are sometimes used interchangeably. However, with digital images, the words can have slightly different meanings.

  • Attribution: The act of establishing a particular person as the creator of a work of art.
    • Attribution has to do with acknowledging the person/s who hold the copyright licence of an image.
    • You would attribute an image used in presentations, papers or other formats that do not require a specific citation style.
    • For example, if you use a digital image (e.g. a photograph you found on Flickr to enhance a PowerPoint presentation) you need to attribute the photograph to the photographer.
  • Citation: The act of acknowledging the work of another within a scholarly context.
    • If you are writing an academic paper, and use an image to support an idea, then cite that image according to a particular citiation style (e.g. Chicago, Turabian or APA 7th).

More information about citing images can be found on the Citing and Referencing Library Guide: 

Which images should I attribute or cite?

  • All images, diagrams and artistic works you plan to use in a scholarly work should be cited.
  • This includes images that are obtained from the web or scanned from a print source.
  • All images you plan to use in a web page, public document or presentation should be attributed to the creator/copyright holder of the work.
  • Do not attribute an image simply to Google or Flickr - you have to find the copyright holder and ask permission.
  • Images from royalty free clip art resources, 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.