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Citing Sources

First Steps

  • Check who owns it
  • Get permission to use it
  • Give credit to the creator
  • Buy it (if necessary)
  • Use it responsibly

Can I just use an image I find on a website for my project?

You may need to get permission in order to use the image for your project. When you have permission, you also need to provide attribution for those images. See if the copyright holder has a preference for how to attribute that image. If not, write "Used with Permission." and the copyright holder's name.

You definitely don’t need to get permission, if (and only if):

  • The work is in the public domain. This includes items published before 1923 or works published 1923-1963 whose copyright was not renewed. Learn more about the public domain -
  • The work has been permitted for use by the creator using Creative Commons licensing. There are several creative commons licenses which all permit use for academic work, but some restrict the ability to “remix” the creator’s original work. Learn more about Creative Commons Licenses -
  • Your project falls under the criteria for “fair use” (note: if your project will be available on the internet, your use of the image will not fall under fair use). Fair use allows for limited uses of copyrighted works without permission from the creator or that work.

Creative Commons Search

Enter your search query:

use for commercial purposes;
modify, adapt, or build upon.

Search using:

Finding Images

If your project will be available on the internet, finding images in the public domain or with creative commons licensing can take the stress out of finding images that are able to be used online. Consider taking your own images for your project (and protecting them with your own Creative Commons license) or using one of the search engines below.

Citing Images in Various Styles (from Purdue OWL)

How to cite an image in MLA style: Scroll down the page for images, including artwork and photographs in print and online.

How to cite an image in Chicago styleScroll down the page to the Visual Arts section.

‚ÄčHow to cite an image in APA style. Note that this information is from the APA blog and follows APA Style 6th Edition.


Citation Resources