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Cite Right – Images

Next in the series is a tough one: images. As noted in the Finding images research guide, the last thing to worry about while writing a paper or preparing a presentation at three in the morning is the credibility and authenticity of the images. Luckily, there is help from Rutgers University Libraries to find and select images for your science poster or art history paper, whether stock photos or high-resolution digital scans of paintings.

The guide provides information about copyright laws and how to cite images. In general, the re-use of images for educational purposes is considered acceptable under the terms of fair use (see the Fair Use Checklist). If you wish to publish them online (such as on your blog), you will first need to determine whether or not the image is protected by copyright, then find out how to get copyright clearance. As for citation, you should follow the citation guidelines of the paper you are writing. If you use APA-style for the text, stick with that.

Find out more about images and licensing:

Did you ever wonder why you can’t find quality images for free? In the guide you will find the background on stock photos and some sources, along with terms and conditions that accompany them.

The guide lists popular sources to find images on the public domain, such as

  • Creative Commons Search – search a variety of media with options to filter by source and license type (including public domain)
  • Flickr – use the advanced search option and select “All creative commons” under “Licenses” from the top left pulldown menu
  • Google Advanced Image Search – under Tools/Image Rights, choose results with Creative Commons Licenses
  • Wikimedia Commons – freely usable media files (images, audio, video). Check the image summary for details on permitted use.
  • Pixabay – free high-resolution stock photos with a CC0 (public domain) depicting a wide variety of subjects

A great collection of sources for science images includes the description of the collection and provider, and also gives some guidance whether the collection is searchable, free, and if it requires attribution. A few examples from the list:

Image source: Woodward, C., Waller, I., & Lipman, J. (1932). New Jersey’s Agricultural Experiment Station, 1880-1930. New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. p. 99.


Chang Library“Cite Right” Series

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